3 Quick Tips to Help You Onboard Your Financial Planning Clients
So you’ve just landed a new paraplanning gig. Congratulations! After you’ve finished some well-deserved celebration (and bragging), it’s time to dive into one of the most important things you’ll do with your new client: the onboarding process.
Sure, it may sound like an exaggeration. But the truth is that everything you do on the front end can be the key to maintaining a healthy and rewarding relationship with your financial planning client in the long term.
After all, it can be hard—especially when you’re just starting out—to strike the right balance between appeasing your new client and letting them take advantage. If you’re feeling anxious about the process, don’t sweat: we have a couple of quick tips to help you get started with our Portal Manager, Matt Fizell!
Tips For Onboarding A New Financial Planning Client
Set Proper Expectations
First and foremost, you’ll want to set your expectations with your new financial planner—and you’ll want to learn about their expectations in return.
In your first meeting, you should be ready to ask and answer a ton of questions. When you first start working with an advisor, they’ll likely want to explain the ins and outs of their business, including things like how to access the necessary financial software, or how to gain access to their client data. And they’re probably going to ask you questions in return, most likely about your process for building a plan, or how long it typically takes you to complete a financial plan.
A great way to go over these expectations (and more) is to have the advisor walk you through their process from start to finish, allowing both of you the chance to iron out any concerns and ask questions as you go. What deliverables do they want for their client meetings? What types of recommendations do they typically make with their clients?
Questions like these tend to come up organically as you both walk through the process step by step, meaning you’ll have an opportunity to clarify anything you’re not yet sure of.
Want to hear Matt speak about what it takes to onboard a new client take a listen here inside our community.
Take Control of Your Calendar
When you work for yourself, it’s always important to make sure you set boundaries and take time for yourself. After all, most paraplanners are interested virtual work because it provides so much lifestyle flexibility! The last thing you’ll want to do is allow your calendar to get bogged down under the weight of your advisors’ expectations about your time.
Taking control of your own calendar, from the very first advisor you work with, can help you navigate the situation when you start working with multiple advisors (and calendars). In essence, you want to ensure there’s a framework in place to protect your time, and that it’s something that works best for you.
One simple way to do this is to put the things that are most important to you personally on your calendar first. This might mean things like picking up the kids from school, attending important weekly meet-ups, working on any personal projects or hobbies, or other recurring events that you don’t want to miss.
In addition, you can work with your advisor to establish regular working hours for your work to make things a little easier. For example, maybe your advisor meets with clients at a particular time of day, and that’s when they’ll expect you to be working on other financial plans they’ll need in the next couple of weeks.
One extra tip: it’s also helpful to ask to schedule recurring meetings, at least once per week, with your advisor. This regular one-on-one meeting is a great way to talk about the current cases you’ve been working on, gain an understanding of the tasks coming down the pipeline for you within the next week or so, and touch base on any questions you might have as you work.
There’s a ton of technology available to help make your life (and your advisor’s) much easier.
For example, a password management system like LastPass can help you easily store all of the passwords you’ll need to log into your advisor’s financial software. You might also use web-based financial planning software like MoneyGuidePro or eMoney, and you’ll also want to familiarize yourself with whatever digital storage they use to organize their work.
As we mentioned above, your calendar management is crucial, so making use of online tools like Google Calendar can help you show advisors that you’re working on specific things at specific times of the day, and it can also show your availability if they ever find themselves in a bind. To schedule meetings more efficiently, you can try tools such as Calendly or ScheduleOnce, both of which allow your advisor quick and easy access to schedule a meeting with you as needed.
During the onboarding process, you’ll want to make use of resources like these, and you’ll also want to make your advisor aware of the technology you plan to use down the line. You shouldn’t necessarily feel like you need to do a deep dive into researching the best technology options out there, but it’s always a good idea to start with a few basic tools when you’re first starting out.
As you and your advisor develop a relationship, you can easily research and branch out to additional tech tools that will help you both in more specific cases.
As you work to onboard your new advisor, make sure to set a clear framework for your time and your expectations. When you’re running your own business, don’t forget that it should be about you and your needs, not about what your advisors are doing. Make sure that the job works for you, and it just might help you establish a healthy, long-term relationship with your new financial planner.
Want more resources like these tips or looking for help in your office? We help you hire you next associate financial advisor. In our paraplanner community, we’re always bringing up similar tips on coaching calls, demos with tech companies, and much more.
If you’re interested in getting more insights and working with our team, find out more and work with us!