How to Bring on Your First Financial Planning Clients
• Gregory Furer • January 21, 2021
Most financial professionals today understand the value of financial planning. My team at Beratung Advisors grew AUM by 500 percent after making a commitment to serve all our clients with comprehensive planning. The power of planning may be clear, but I know from experience that getting started isn’t always easy.
In a previous webinar with eMoney, the first in a four-part series, I explained the beginning steps any firm has to take before they can start financial planning. If you’re completely new to planning, I would recommend checking it out.
Otherwise, if your firm is ready to start planning, the next question is this: How do I start bringing on my first financial planning clients?
Start with Your Existing Investment Management Clients
A lot of us, when we decide to start financial planning, automatically think that our next step is to go out and get new clients who are interested in financial planning. I wouldn’t recommend this approach, especially if you’ve built up a book of business already. You only have so much capacity to bring on new clients—and pitching planning to someone you’ve never met is a lot harder than speaking about it with your existing clients.
Prospective clients don’t know you. But existing clients already have a foundation of trust with you, which makes the conversation easier. You also have an understanding of their financial situation, which helps you present a much more compelling case for planning.
If you start by talking to your existing clients about financial planning, by the time you’re ready to start going after new business, you’ll be really good at pitching your planning services.
Build the Basics of a Financial Plan with What You Already Know
Every investment management client has problems that need solving. Whether their need is funding an education, saving for retirement, or even buying a new motorcycle, investment management is a means to an end. People want their investments managed to achieve these goals. Managing their portfolio helps people get closer to reaching these goals, but financial planning is the true solution to these problems.
Your clients will start to realize this themselves when you use your financial planning software to present what you already know about them.
For example, if you know your client’s income, 401(k) contributions, other savings, and expenses, you can come up with a rough estimate of their financial picture. If it’s wrong, they’ll want to correct it. You can take this concept even further and build a scenario for any of their financial goals you know about. If you know they want to retire at age 65, for example, you can show them whether they’re on track to do this or not.
It’s deeply motivating when clients see their finances through the lens of their life goals. It also perfectly illustrates the need and value of your financial planning services.
Four Things You Must Do When Pitching Financial Planning to Clients
When you speak with your clients about planning, there are a few things you should make sure to do. Otherwise, they’ll likely be unconvinced that your financial planning services are for them.
- Show you’re adding value. You have to show the ways in which you’re adding value to what your clients are already getting. If you’re not properly demonstrating the value they get from planning, you’re just pitching another product, another cost for them.
- Show you have listened and want to listen more. This may sound simple, but it’s essential to get right. When you present planning to clients, all the information you’ve gathered demonstrates how well you’ve listened, and the problems you set up for them show how you only want to continue listening to them more. People will want to work with someone who listens and understands their unique situation.
- Help them discover the real problem. Don’t just explain the benefits of financial planning. Let your clients see for themselves the ways in which their current situation affects their long-term goals. When they realize the problem on their own, they’ll also come to see that financial planning is the answer.
- Show them how you’ll make their life easier. When speaking to clients about planning, it’s a great opportunity to show them the financial planning software you will use to manage their plan. You can share your screen and let them see just how comprehensive the software is, while also showing them how simple it will be for them to receive advice.
Clients who see that you’ve listened to them, understand them, and are fully capable of helping them achieve their goals in a way that does not complicate their life are far more likely to become financial planning clients.
Converting Existing Clients to Planning Clients Sets Your Firm Up for Success
Your success in financial planning hinges first upon your ability to bring on planning clients. The most direct and efficient way to do so is to start with your existing clients, build out a basic plan with what you know, and deliver a compelling argument for planning.
My most recent webinar with eMoney, the second in our series on becoming a planning-led firm, dives into deeper detail on bringing existing clients on as planning clients. I also walk you through eMoney’s Advanced Planning tool and show you how you can populate a basic plan to have more convincing conversations with clients about planning. You can watch the webinar here:
Stay tuned for part three of our webinar series where I’ll walk you through how to build and present financial plans.
DISCLAIMER: The eMoney Advisor Blog is meant as an educational and informative resource for financial professionals and individuals alike. It is not meant to be, and should not be taken as financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. Those seeking professional advice may do so by consulting with a professional advisor. eMoney Advisor will not be liable for any actions you may take based on the content of this blog.
The views and opinions expressed by this blog post guest are solely those of the guest and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of eMoney Advisor, LLC. eMoney Advisor is not responsible for the content, views or opinions presented by our guest, nor may eMoney Advisor be held liable for any actions taken by you based on the content, views or opinions of the guest.
This article is meant for investment professional use only. For more information, contact Greg Furer with Beratung Advisors at 412-357-2002 or beratungadvisors.com. Securities and investment products and services offered through Waddell & Reed, Inc. (WRI), member FINRA/SIPC. Beratung Advisors is a separate entity from WRI. (01/21)
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