One of the primary reasons for hiring new planners is to free up time for firm owners to perform the higher level revenue producing tasks their more experienced skill set is suited for, such as working with higher net worth clients and/or securing additional clients.
If your goal for your new planner is to truly help free you up for your best or new clients, it’s imperative you get them working with your existing clients as soon as possible. In last month’s post, I discussed ways to facilitate your new planner’s skill development to close the gap and prepare for guiding clients at a high level, but putting that training to practice with regular client interaction is a key component as well. If you eventually want your new planner to be able to handle client relationships on their own, here are some ideas on how to introduce, integrate, and position them correctly with clients now:
- Send welcome letter - Introducing your new hire to your clients, colleagues and strategic alliances is one of the first things you should do after you hire a new planner. This can be part of one of your regular client touches, but preferably the new hire announcement would be a stand- alone communication to promote its importance. Make sure you highlight your new planner’s credentials, education and experience (if applicable), why you hired them, and what they will be doing to help the clients. Also include the new planner’s business card so clients will have another reminder that it is official. We now provide a version of this letter as part of the deliverable package we provide to clients who engage us for recruiting services. If you would like a copy, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Add to website and phone tree – Post your new planner’s picture and bio on your website to reinforce to clients and prospects that they are an integral part of the team. Make sure you do this before you send out the introduction letter above. 🙂
- Visible office – You don’t necessarily want the client viewing the new planner as a back office employee nor a front office admin type even though they may very well be performing some of both of those job functions. If your office space allows, try having your new planner sit towards the front though so clients and prospects can see them in an actual office space. Some of this may seem silly, but clients tend to place emphasis in these items. I had a corner office at one point during my career and the clients noticed it and saw me differently.
- Return voicemails and/or correspondence - Have your new planner respond wherever they can, when appropriate, to refine their communication skills and train the clients that they don’t have to contact you for everything! At first you will have to work with your new planner, but as they build confidence they will be able to handle more advanced questions and requests. The clients will slowly be trained to go to the new planner first for most things and they should feel comfortable that the new planner will escalate to you when necessary.
- Participate in client meetings –In the beginning, it is going to be primarily up to you to position (build up) your new planner in the clients’ eyes. Then eventually the client will realize they can trust your new planner if you trusted them enough to hire them. Consider having them in all meetings, but a great place to start is in the initial meeting: you focus on the client, and let your new planner take the notes. The next best thing is to bring your new planner in during the data gathering/discovery meeting so they can help analyze, organize and ask questions about the client’s situation and be in a better position to create a more accurate financial plan.
Facilitating these activities will further your new planner’s development and help you reach your goals. Furthermore, the benefits you can derive from this are more than you might be able to imagine. When firm owners take these steps, new planners tend to develop a tremendous amount of loyalty, helping to solidify in their minds that the choice they made to join your firm was indeed the correct one.
- Caleb will be moderating two panel discussions on "The Future of the Profession: Integrating the Talent of Today into the Firms of Tomorrow" at FPA Experience 2011 in San Diego on September 15- 18
- Michael will be presenting to the Society of Financial Service Professionals on what Clients Need to Know about Managing Retirement Savings and Income on September 1 http://www.financialpro.org/public/LBC_index.cfm
- Caleb will be at a Kolbe training conference on September 19-22