Advance your practice with these tips from MDRT members.
1) How to get your advice followed by clients
It can be difficult to guide clients away from the wrong path and onto the right one. Joel Wymer, a two-year MDRT member from Kent, Ohio, recommends doing it in a “kind, loving way.”
“You can be right but not be very kind,” he said. “To me, the hardest conversations are pointing out to people problems with the path they’re on, telling them they’re not saving enough money or they’re not going to be able to take care of their family, but telling them in a way that doesn’t offend them. It helps them to understand that they need to change what they’re doing.”
How do you accomplish this?
“Ask questions,” Wymer said. “Having them come to that conclusion on their own is much better than anyone telling them that they’re doing something the wrong way. So I ask a lot of questions about how people feel and what they’re doing, and that gets them to come to the conclusion that they need to make some changes. You know that when they ask, ‘What do you think I should do?’ they’re open for some advice then.”
2) Emphasize consistency over quantity
It might be tempting for advisors to take on as many clients as possible. Steven A. Plewes, CLU, ChFC, a 34-year MDRT member from Naples, Florida, says that having a clear idea of what kind of clients you work with allows your business to achieve an important level of consistency. If not, you may have 200 clients and do things 200 different ways. When everyone fits the process, there are no one-off clients.
“That way, we can create an economy of scale,” Plewes said. “We’ve walked away from some business of late because they didn’t really fit into our process.”
It’s not that the client isn’t important, of course — it just means that the strength and identity of the clients inform that of the organization.
See more about the processes advisors use to run their business in the following videos:
3) Saying goodbye to a client
Unfortunately, not every client-advisor relationship can be a great one. Gino Saggiomo, CFP, a 14-year MDRT member from Fortitude Valley, Queensland, Australia, says transitioning the client to a different advisor, in addition to being in the best interest of both of you, may also be a way to also stay compliant with corresponding regulation.
“If either you’re not committed to the client or the client’s not committed to you, then one could argue you’re taking compensation from the client under false pretenses,” he said. “Are you really willing to do whatever it takes to help that client get to where they want to go? If the fit isn’t there, it’s important to have that honest conversation and acknowledge it. But if you genuinely want this person to get help in the future, you help transition them to the right advisor, put together a client brief for the new advisor, wish them the best and hope they achieve everything they want.
“The other point to make in an environment now where regulations are at the forefront of a lot of the conversations we have with clients is you might feel you’ve got a great relationship with the client now. But if you’re not adding value, there is potential for compliance and regulatory risk into the future, so you’re better off just sort of nipping it in the bud and saying, ‘I just don’t think there’s a proper relationship for us.’ It’s as much for the client as it is for your own longevity in the industry.”
Hear more in the September episode of the MDRT podcast.
4) Be tech-ready with a remote client
In our ever-more connected world, clients can be minutes, hours or even continents away. When seeing your clients face to face is not possible, how do you maintain your professional appearance? We have set up a small conference room with a webcam and conference table that we have taken special care to look at from the point of view of the person calling in. We have made it visually appealing, and it is always set up so that, at a moment’s notice, we can take a Skype, WebEx, etc. meeting and have a professional space that is ready for the event.
From Adam Thomas Rex, an 11-year MDRT member from Virginia Beach, Virginia
5) Use LinkedIn to track job changes
LinkedIn sends you alert emails when any of your contacts has a change in their account. When I see that a job change has taken place, I call the client to say congratulations on the new role. I advise them of the advantages and disadvantages of a rollover and what other options they have. Then I ask if they would like to meet to discuss rolling over their old 401(k) into an individual retirement account.
- Listen to the October episode of the MDRT podcast, “Can social media benefit your business?”
From Meredith Gail Langus, FSCP, LUTCF, a nine-year MDRT member from White Plains, New York
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