Review meetings with clients are an important part of the delivery of advice, but while they serve to ensure the adviser is on track with client objectives, research has shown that their format can prove a less than inspiring experience for the client. Revisiting the review meeting presents many opportunities to enrich the relationship.
Research from Invesco Consulting in the US – a process that includes ‘live dial’ sessions that measure the emotional responses of clients to adviser statements, in addition to a survey to more than 1000 advisers to validate answers – says that advisers don’t find the meeting particularly useful. “I talk to advisers all the time who find the client annual review a pain in the neck,” Invesco Consulting CEO, Scott West, said. “Unless it’s been a great year of performance, they don’t really know what to talk about. But I’m here to tell you that there’s real power in doing it.”
There are two primary reasons that the review meeting can create significant benefits for both the adviser, and the client. For the client, it is about providing them with a sense that their financial strategy is progressing as planned.
“Clients are saying they’re completely dissatisfied with [the annual review] – 80% say they don’t like that meeting. Why are they dissatisfied? Because it’s all about the adviser and their agenda.
“IOOF did research a number of years ago that unpacked the power of keeping people feeling that they’re on track – and it’s both a good news and bad news story. When people don’t feel like they’re on track, two-thirds of them will begin to question the core value of the relationship they have. They’re six times more likely to leave – that’s the bad news.
“Here’s what they found happens on the positive side if clients feel like they’re on track. They’re two times more likely to feel they’re getting value and they’re three times more likely to bring you new clients. The annual review is not just to check the box ‘compliance pain in the neck’ – it’s a potential acquisition tool.”
How has the research uncovered ways to provide a more meaningful review meeting? Considering pre-meeting exercises like a checklist may seem simple but it provides safety for the client. Not only do they feel that they’re across what will be discussed, it also serves as a data gathering exercise for the adviser.
Considering the language and how it is used can also make a real difference. Think about:
1. Making sure the client feels able to talk about themselves without fear;
2. Structuring the review of their strategy with their objectives in mind;
3. Reviewing the services that they are signed up for.
An approach like this puts the client in the centre not only from the review but from the language, and it also invites them to talk about the services being provided.
Finally, structuring the review meeting as a means to engage the client and to discover more detail about their needs helps in the creation of the follow-up email. If the adviser is entering into dynamic and intentional conversations with the client, there will be much to talk about.