As you broaden your practice and onboard new clients, you could be understandably eager to make an amazing first impression.
Indeed, among all the IFAs they could have chosen to work with, they’ve decided to give your firm their initial trust – and to keep it, it’s important to set off on the right foot.
If you find client onboarding a nerve-wracking experience, or you simply want to hear an experienced perspective on how to shine in your first client meeting, you’re in the right place.
Here are four subtle yet effective ways you can impress new clients during the onboarding process.
1. Do what you can to accommodate their needs
When Covid-19 arrived in the UK, one of the main shifts we experienced in the advice profession was going from face-to-face to online client meetings.
Yet now that lockdowns have eased and in-person working has returned, Professional Adviser reports advisers are being inundated with requests for face-to-face meetings once again. Whatever your firm’s policy in this area, it’s important to do your best to meet clients’ individual preferences and needs.
For instance, if you are meeting a new client who works in a busy sector and has a lot on their plate, it may be wise not to insist on face-to-face contact, but to allow a Zoom call to suffice.
On the other hand, unless you have very good reason, shunning face-to-face meetings entirely could alienate new clients – not a great start to your working relationship.
2. Be open to all conversation topics your new client raises
If they’ve never worked with a financial planner before, your new client may not know what to expect, or which topics you have in mind for their initial meeting.
So, they could come with all sorts of subjects to discuss, including:
- Their worries about the rising cost of living
- Specific goals they’ve set for the coming years, including career, retirement, travel, or gifting aspirations
- Questions about things they’ve read up on, or discussions they’ve had with friends and family surrounding financial issues.
While it is important to focus on the foundational elements of your working relationship during onboarding, shutting down your new client’s ideas too firmly or harshly might lead them to feel dismissed.
Consider your first meeting as a “getting to know you” exercise, with some of the basics of financial planning thrown in, and your clients will likely thank you for it.
3. Tech is an ally, not a foe – use it
No matter your new client’s age, occupation, or technological prowess, using tech to aid your explanations could truly “wow” them right off the bat.
For instance, showing them the cashflow modelling software you’ll be using to project their future circumstances could be both intriguing and confidence-building for clients. Explaining how the software works in simple terms, and listing the huge benefits it can have, might make them feel excited about the financial planning experience overall.
Similarly, if you are meeting virtually, use the “screen share” function to display what you’ve prepared. Talking them through the software you’ll use to manage their wealth could improve their faith in the process, rather than damaging it.
Don’t be afraid of tech as an IFA – it could be your greatest ally in impressing clients from day one.
4. Toe the line between “professional” and “friendly”
Professionalism is an important standard to maintain as an IFA, but when your clients are placing their entire financial lives in your hands, it’s also essential to connect on a human level.
So, when you meet a new client for the first time, practise toeing the line between “professional” and “friendly”.
On the professional side of things, it’s important to maintain your standards in the following areas:
- Being on time, well-dressed, and fully prepared for the meeting
- Not over- or under-promising what you can do for your client
- Maintaining professional boundaries in terms of response times
- Being honest about your new client’s situation and prospects while remaining optimistic.
Conversely, your more “human” qualities should also shine through, including:
- Good listening skills
- Curiosity towards their most treasured dreams and goals
- Relating to their concerns and struggles.
Having the ability to blend both professional and human qualities as soon as you meet your new client could blow them away. They may have increased confidence in your skills as an adviser, and what’s more, they may even feel they have made a new friend who they can trust with sensitive topics.
As you move forward with your working relationship, these soft skills will likely come into play again and again.
Nobody’s life is perfect, and your client could experience significant lows, as well as highs, during their time with you. Establishing yourself as a trustworthy confidant, not just a qualified adviser, could be an essential factor that solidifies trust within that first meeting.
Get in touch
If you want to be part of a network of IFAs who are all working to become the best they can be, contact us today.
Named Best Network at the 2023 Professional Adviser Awards, we can help you establish long-lasting client relationships from the outset.
Email email@example.com or call 01925 637891.
This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate cashflow planning.