In Your First Five Minutes (PartV) – Don’t ask, just start recording

Accuracy is critically important when documenting and showing clients the progress they’re making towards removing complexity and increasing certainty in their financial lives.

Professional advice can save clients a lot of money in a short period of time through tax minimisation or avoiding a poor financial decision but most of the time, the value of advice is incremental and demonstrated over time.

It makes sense then to report a client’s cashflow or investment returns accurately not rounded up or down to the nearest 100,000.

However, being able to accurately illustrate to a client how well they’re tracking towards their goals and objectives, is dependent on how well you listened and captured the essence of what they said, verbally and non-verbally, in the discovery meetings six months, one year, five years or a decade ago.  

It’s impossible for an adviser to remember the nuances in every client conversation which is why it’s important to record every advice conversation with your ideal advice clients.

Record your success

For many advisers, recording client conversations is a new concept. They agonise over whether they need to ask permission which prevents them from getting on with it.

Just do it but be fully transparent about the process. In the first five minutes of that initial client meeting, tell them that you’re going to record the conversation because you don’t want to miss anything.

Explain to your clients that it’s important for the whole advice team to understand exactly what they want to achieve in order to drive and protect the firm’s standards of great advice.

Recording conversations will also save time because any details that need to be clarified subsequently can be done without calling the client.

Assure clients that recordings and any information captured is confidential. Offer them a copy if they want.

Most clients will be okay with the process but the more nervous you are, the more likely they’ll hesitate.

Anyone who refuses and doesn’t respect your approach may not be your ideal advice client after all. Those who insist on dealing with you and you alone ultimately may become a burden that doesn’t release you to build a great service offering and take more time off.

The majority of advisers we’ve worked with in the past have adopted the practice of recording conversations and now they wonder how they ever did their job efficiently without it in the past.

What’s the value?

A lot of value can be gleamed from recording conversations.

For starters, file the audio or video file in the client records of your CRM package.

If you have off-shore team members, you may want to have some conversations transcribed.

Replay important parts of the conversation to the members of your team who will look after the client to ensure they hear about the client’s aspirations and complexities in their own words. This will allow them to gauge the conversation’s tone as well as content.

During your annual review meeting where you will present your terms of engagement again, replay any previous conversations where the client spoke about any goals and objectives they’re still yet to achieve.

(If you haven’t fully uncovered a client’s specific aspirations beyond retirement, security, lifestyle and expenses, ask them before someone else does).

It pays to be consistent and specific, and to demonstrate you listened to the client and prioritized understanding what they said was particularly important to them because that’s what they’re paying you for.

The alternative is to continue relying on your memory and roughly handwritten notes.

Start recording – I guarantee you won’t look back.

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About Jim Stackpool

For nearly 30 years Jim has influenced, coached, and consulted to advisory firms across Australia. As founder of Certainty Advice Group, he leads a like-minded team of professional advisory firms seeking to create greater certainty for their clients. As an author, blogger, columnist, and keynote speaker, Jim is regularly called upon for his professional insights into the advice industry. His latest book Seeking Certainty is available now.

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