All Advisors schedule periodic client review meetings with clients to review needs, discuss goals and plan for future actions. Even though not every practice does it the same way, there are some common ways that can make your next client review meeting more valuable and more powerful an experience for clients.
The main thing to recognize is that client review meetings is a component in a system of your practices’ processes. This means it’s also what you to prepare for one and also what is done after the client review meeting that makes it important and effect.
So in order to have the best meeting experience, it’s good to keep these two things in mind.
1. Going Deeper and Making that Deep Connection
As you run your client review meetings, there is the best way to capture and to truly listen. Just keeping this in mind, I believe, is enough to help drive a better outcome and a successful client meeting.
Going deeper into the conversation to truly understand the deeper needs of the client. Jim Stackpool talks about this in his recent article. Stackpool talks about being different levels of meaning in conversation, the surface level only just scratching the surface.
Take the analogy of an iceberg. The part above the water level is only approximately 10% while the rest of it remains submerged.
The purpose of ‘going deeper’ is even more relevant when the outcome of any client review meeting is to have actionable tasks.
The actions should align with with the beliefs and should also align with the values (goals) or else the actions completed won’t be meaningful.
There is no real substitute than spending real time, providing real empathy and truly listening to clients. At the end of the day it comes down to concentration and our ability to stay in the space.
But here are some key and simple guidelines that remember how to stay on track and dig deeper even when it’s inconvenient or energy intensive to do so.
- Observe the non-verbal cues
- Breathe! Remember to breathe
- Not being afraid of the silence. This creates a space for you to truly absorb and be contemplative by distinguishing what your clients said and what you are thinking about it.
2. The Power of Checklists
One very prominent and easy way to create a great Client Review Meeting (and beyond) is to include a simple checklist. I think it’s one of the most underrated things trusted advisors can do to clearly convey their thoughts and also a summary of what was discussed.
Take for example how Dave Yeske of Yeske Buie provides for every client — a personalized list of financial planning action items.
But in order to make the checklist something really usable, make sure that the checklist follows these simple rules:
- Make someone responsible for those actions
- Set a target date to be done (i.e. Completion Date)
- Allow (you and clients) to be able to change the status of those actions (i.e. CHECK THEM OFF).
In fact, that’s one of the things that Yeske elaborated that made the checklist so compelling and engaging to clients. He mentions that people often would seek him out just to let them know that they’ve successfully completed their actions.
There is a psychological sense of accomplishment and a finality to finishing actions, especially if it means being on top of things and being accountable and responsible.