8 Steps To An Effective Annual
There are 8 steps to an effective
annual review that will lead the client and the process in the direction you
want it to go.
1. Booking the Annual Review…
The key to booking annual client reviews is to make it necessary - not
optional. Your assistant should say something like “Hi ______ I’m Sara from
Joe Smith’s office, He asked me to contact you and schedule you to come in
for your annual financial checkup. There were a few things he wanted to
double check and a few things he wanted to discuss with you. Are mornings or
afternoons better for you?”
Having an assistant is absolutely key!
They will be accountable for keeping the program on track, and booking your
Do not try to book your own
appointments, because they’ll start asking you questions to decide if the
annual review is really necessary.
2. Warming Them Up…
You must get the relationship “rekindled”. You can’t just jump into the
process. Take the time to catch up with your client. Find out what has
happened in their lives over the course of the last 6 months or however
long it’s been since you’ve seen them.
If they ask questions about you,
answer the question quickly and turn the conversation back to them. Get them
talking about themselves. Ask questions and let them do the talking. Find
something you have in common with them.
It’s an amazing phenomenon. When
people talk about themselves, they feel connected to you and ‘like’ you
because they feel like you understand them, not because they understand you!
Don’t rush thru this step. This is a
foundational step and extremely important. Don’t discount or dismiss its
importance in the process!
3. Reviewing Your Clients Situation
Whether you initially just sold them a product, or you did a good fact-find
during the initial sales process, now is the time to do an in depth
fact-find. You want to review everything… of all their financial holdings,
insurance policies, pensions, 401ks, IRAs, savings accounts, tax returns,
Typically, you’ll start by reviewing
and reaffirming their short-term goals. Examining what if anything may have
changed. In some cases, you will make changes to a client’s investment
portfolio based on economic conditions. In other cases, you may suggest
changes based on certain life events. The birth of a child or grandchild may
require a discussion about funding a college plan. A divorce may require
changing beneficiary designations on retirement accounts and life insurance
policies. It also helps you to create the “path” and uncover potentially
missed opportunities for sales.
Then you will examine a client’s
progress toward their long term-goals. This sort of monitoring benefits both
you and your clients. Clients get an opportunity to step back from their
busy lives and review their goals and confirm that their priorities remain
the same. You have a chance to reconnect with your clients to affirm their
positive actions towards their goals, or to help refocus, so that they don’t
get too far off track. And you get a chance to enhance the relationship and
4. Educating Your Clients…
Here’s where this whole process culminates into potential business. You
should be a student of the economy and market forces. You should also be
able to disseminate current events in digestible nuggets for your client to
understand. With this information, you will move them to action.
Educating your client about current
economic chaos and market forces builds a natural bridge for a conversation
about the need for safe money. When you have agreement from them on the need
for “safe money strategies” based on the current market climate, you have an
opportunity to show them vehicles that will fit like a glove and help them
accomplish their financial goals.
In addition a you may want to review
with their clients the new research that has become available in the interim
to either confirm rationale or provide a basis to alter a client’s
short-term or long-term strategies. For instance, new research that shows
the escalating costs of nursing homes or health care in retirement wouldn’t
change the goal of “secure long-term retirement,” but it would change the
strategy to achieve that goal.
Advisors should also address
regulatory and other changes that could affect adversely or positively a
client’s financial plan. For example: changes in the federal estate tax
laws, income taxes or social security and devise possible plans of actions.
5. Giving Them Free Sound Advice…
If you want to create more trust and respect for you and your services, then
talk about and give advice on things you don’t make money on. Talk about the
need for a Will, Trust, Living Will, Durable Power of Attorney, etc. Or, why
buying a two year old car is better than, buying the latest model. Share
what your are doing to save money and why!
6. Planting Seeds for the Future…
Discus their long-term goals and the next steps they may want to take to
accomplish those goals. Share what you are doing to achieve your long-term
goals and why!
7. Getting Referrals…
The amount of referrals that can be generated with annual reviews will
astound even the master referral generator. These referrals will keep you
with a steady stream of prospects so you will never have to spend money on
leads or marketing ever again.
If you are a seasoned producer looking
to turn your business into a thriving 100% referral generated practice, then
you must conduct regular annual reviews.
8. Managing Your Clients
In most cases, you and your clients will want to establish a regular
appointment to meet on an annual basis, and in some cases on a quarterly or
semi-annual basis. If you don’t see your clients yearly, they aren’t
clients, they are just customers.
The last part of the business
conversation should outline and establish how often the client wants and
needs to be seen. “A” clients are usually larger clients with more
moving parts to their financial portfolio. With change in their lives and
portfolios, comes the need and opportunity to reposition assets. This is
less about an opportunity to generate commissions and more about doing what
the client needs. It just so happens that with doing the right thing for the
client comes the opportunity to do the right thing for yourself! It’s funny
how that works!
Establish a schedule for how often you
will meet. At the conclusion of the review, they should know when they will
meet with you again. Preferably, set the appointment before the end of the
If you manage their expectations, let
them know what to expect, you are filling your appointment book well in
advance, and training your client to be prepared to meet with you.
Essentially, you are removing obstacles to the sales process before they
Yours in success,
Jeremy and Lew Nason
"The 9 Out of 10 Guys"
How to ‘Close 9 Out Of 10’ Life Insurance Sales
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