Preparing before the meeting
The first meeting is crucial for an adviser since they will want to convert that hour into a business opportunity. Thus, advisers need to prepare ahead of their meetings.
“Preparation counts for a great deal,” says Graeme Inglis, a chartered financial planner at Create and Prosper Financial Services. “Prior to any meeting we would want to find out as much information as possible about the client and their needs and objectives, this would be expanded on during the first meeting.”
He further explains that, in most cases an initial meeting is confirmed by an email providing details of the firm and the individual who will deal with the client. This email also includes a copy of the client information document that will be discussed and completed during the meeting.
Various advisers send out a client information pack ahead of the meeting and only fix a time for a meeting on receipt of a completed pack. This is done to avoid spending time going through client details during the meeting and also to ensure the adviser is briefed about who they are going to deal with.
“We send out a new client pack by post before each meeting so we have as much of the practical information as possible before we sit down for the first proper meeting,” says Ms North, adding, “we also update information on their plans and analyse it before we sit down together. This way we can use our face-to-face time as productively as possible and focus on what the client needs and wants, immediately tying it in with what we already know about their finances.
Technology to the rescue
Some advisers suggest the use of technology to save time and possibly even look more professional in front of clients. Mark Loosmore, executive general manager at IRESS, says advisers can use technology to prepare ahead of their meetings. He suggests performing an online fact-find before going to the first meeting in order to save time.
“Another thing that often happens before the first meeting is the production of an appointment pack, to send out to the client,” Mr Loosmore says. “I would suggest that should be automated. As soon as you put an appointment in the diary for a first meeting, the system should be producing an appointment pack that includes what is going to happen in that meeting, how you are going to engage, suggesting the clients goes online to fill in the fact-find.”