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Financial Advisor Meeting Checklist: Maximizing Efficiency

Date: April 23, 2024

Did you know that executives now dedicate nearly 23 hours per week to meetings based on a study from Harvard Business Review? This number has been on the rise since the 1960s.

Efficient and productive meetings matter not just for managing your time but also for nurturing strong client relationships and delivering top-notch service.

This guide will walk you through the process of conducting efficient meetings, from understanding the purpose of your meetings to following up afterward.

Part 1: Understand the Purpose of Your Meetings

Your meetings are the cornerstone of your client relationships.

They provide an opportunity to understand your clients' financial goals, discuss strategies, and build trust.

That's why it's important to grasp the purpose of every meeting — it serves as your compass, guiding your preparation and behavior throughout the meeting.

👉 Related: Financial Advisors, be on top of your client meetings

Identify the objectives

Before scheduling a meeting, it's important to identify its objectives.

You can do this by asking some questions like:

  • What do you hope to achieve by the end of the discussion?
  • What are the client's primary financial goals?
  • Are there any specific concerns or issues the client wants to address?
  • How has the client's financial situation changed since the last meeting?

The objectives could range from understanding a client's financial goals, reviewing their portfolio, and discussing investment strategies, to addressing any concerns they may have.

Having clear objectives will help you stay focused during the meeting and ensure that all important points are covered.

It also allows you to prepare adequately by gathering the necessary information and materials related to the objectives.

What type of meeting will it be?

The type of meeting will also influence its purpose and how you prepare for it.

Here are a few common types of meetings that financial advisors might have:

  1. Initial consultation: This is usually the first meeting with a potential client. The main purpose is to understand the client's financial situation and goals, explain your services, and establish how you can help them.
  2. Strategy discussion: These meetings are focused on discussing and developing financial strategies based on the client's goals and risk tolerance.
  3. Review meetings: These are regular check-ins to review the client's portfolio, discuss any changes in their financial situation, and adjust strategies as necessary.
  4. Problem-solving meetings: We have these when there's a specific issue or concern that needs our attention, like a big market shift or a personal financial opportunity or crisis.

When you understand the type and purpose of the meeting, you can be sure that your preparation and conduct during the meeting align with the objectives.

Part 2: Pre-Meeting Preparation

The preparation phase sets the stage for a productive discussion and ensures that you are well-equipped to address your client's needs and concerns.

Here are some key steps to take in your pre-meeting preparation:

Schedule and confirm the appointment

Scheduling and confirming the appointment is an important step in the pre-meeting preparation process.

Here's how to do it effectively:

  1. Find a suitable time: Once you've identified the objectives of the meeting, find a time that works for both you and your client. Use a scheduling tool or software if available to avoid double-booking and ensure you have enough time for the meeting.
  2. Consider time zones: If your client is in a different time zone, consider their schedule when setting the meeting time. You want it to be convenient for them.
  3. Send a meeting invite: After deciding on a time, send a meeting invite to your client. You can do this via email or a scheduling tool. Include the date, time, and location of the meeting or a virtual meeting link.
  4. Confirm the appointment: A day or two before the meeting, send a confirmation message to your client. This serves as a reminder and allows them to confirm their availability or reschedule if needed. Include the date, time, and location or link to the meeting in the message.
  5. Prepare for rescheduling: Be ready for the possibility that your client may need to reschedule. Be flexible and understanding, and work together to find a new suitable time.

When you schedule and confirm the appointment effectively, you demonstrate your professionalism and respect for your client's time.

That’s a good way to build trust (which we know is hard to get these days) and facilitate a more productive meeting.

👉 Related: 6 Questions for Financial Advisors to Ask Clients to Build Trust and Loyalty

Gather and review client information

This process allows you to understand your client's current financial situation, progress toward their goals, and any potential issues or concerns.

Here's how to do it effectively:

  1. Collect relevant documents: Begin by gathering all the financial documents you need from your client. These documents may include bank statements, investment portfolios, tax returns, insurance policies, and estate planning documents. If this is a follow-up meeting, also review any notes and action items from previous meetings.
  2. Review financial statements: Analyze your client's financial statements to gain a clear understanding of their income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. This analysis will provide you with a comprehensive view of their financial health, enabling you to offer tailored advice.
  3. Assess investment portfolio: Take a close look at your client's investment portfolio. Assess the current investments, their performance, and how they align with your client's financial goals and risk tolerance.
  4. Understand client's goals and progress: Based on the gathered information, evaluate your client's progress toward their financial goals. Determine whether they are on track to achieve their goals or if there are obstacles in their way.
  5. Identify potential issues or concerns: Thoroughly examine your client's financial situation for any potential issues or concerns. These could include high levels of debt, underperforming investments, or a lack of diversification in their portfolio.

When you gather and review client information, you can enter the meeting with a clear understanding of your client's financial situation and needs.

This will enable you to provide accurate, relevant, and valuable advice during the meeting.

Set the meeting objectives and agenda

A well-structured agenda helps ensure that the meeting stays focused and productive, while also allowing your client to know what to expect.

Here's how to set the meeting objectives and create an effective agenda:

  1. Revisit the meeting objectives: Based on the objectives you identified earlier, make a list of the key points you want to cover during the meeting. These could include discussing financial goals, reviewing investment strategies, or addressing specific concerns.
  2. Organize the topics: Arrange the topics in a logical order, starting with the most important or time-sensitive issues. This will help ensure that critical points are covered first and that the meeting flows smoothly.
  3. Allocate time for each topic: Estimate how much time each topic will require and allocate an appropriate amount of time to the agenda. Be realistic with your time estimates, and consider adding buffer time for unexpected questions or discussions.
  4. Include time for questions and discussion: Make sure to allocate time for your client to ask questions and engage in discussion. This not only helps to address any concerns they may have but also fosters a collaborative and trusting relationship.
  5. Share the agenda with your client: Once you've created the agenda, share it with your client ahead of the meeting. This allows them to review the topics to be discussed, prepare any necessary questions or materials, and set their expectations for the meeting.

When you set clear meeting objectives and create a well-structured agenda, you can ensure that your meeting stays focused and productive.

This will ultimately lead to more efficient and valuable discussions with your client.

Prepare meeting materials

Having the right materials ensures you present your points more effectively, get more engagement, and address client needs.

Here's how to prepare meeting materials effectively:

  1. Identify required materials: Determine the materials needed for the meeting based on the objectives and agenda. This may include financial reports, investment analyses, market updates, or clear visual aids for explaining complex financial concepts.
  2. Create visual aids: If using charts, graphs, or slides, prepare them in advance to be clear, concise, and easy to understand. Visual aids enhance the explanation of financial concepts and make the meeting more engaging.
  3. Organize documents and reports: Gather financial documents and reports like portfolio performance reports, market updates, or financial plan reviews. Arrange them logically to align with the meeting agenda.
  4. Prepare handouts or digital copies: If providing handouts or digital materials, prepare them in advance. These can include printed reports, digital files, or links to online resources. Such materials allow clients to review information at their own pace.
  5. Test technology and equipment: Before the meeting, test any technology or equipment, like projectors, screen-sharing software, or video conferencing tools, to prevent technical issues and ensure a smooth presentation.

All the steps you take to prepare the necessary meeting materials in advance will help ensure that you are well-equipped to address your client's needs and concerns.

Part 3: During the Meeting

The way you conduct yourself during the meeting can significantly impact its effectiveness and the client's overall experience.

Here are some key steps to follow during the meeting to ensure it is productive and beneficial for both you and your client:

Establish a warm and professional atmosphere

The atmosphere you create at the beginning of the meeting can set the tone for the entire discussion.

Here's how to establish a warm and professional atmosphere:

  • Greet your client warmly: Begin the meeting by warmly greeting your client, using their name, making eye contact, and offering a friendly smile. This fosters a sense of comfort and importance.
  • Express gratitude: Show appreciation for your client's time by thanking them. This gesture demonstrates respect for their schedule and willingness to meet.
  • Ensure comfort: Whether in person or virtual, ensure your client's comfort. Offer a seat, a drink, or necessary accommodations. In virtual meetings, ensure clear audio and video.
  • Maintain professionalism: While being warm, maintain professionalism by dressing appropriately, speaking clearly and respectfully, and staying focused on meeting objectives.

The warm and professional atmosphere can set a positive tone for the meeting, which can facilitate open and honest communication.

Review the agenda and objectives

Once you've set a positive tone for the meeting, the next step is to review the agenda and objectives.

This helps ensure that both you and your client have a clear understanding of what will be discussed during the meeting.

Here's how to do it effectively:

  1. Present the agenda: Begin by presenting the agenda to your client. Briefly go over each item to provide an overview of the topics to be discussed.
  2. Discuss the objectives: Next, discuss the meeting's objectives. Remind your client of the meeting's purpose and the desired outcomes.
  3. Ask for input: Following the agenda and objectives, inquire if your client has additional topics or questions they'd like to address. This demonstrates your willingness to value their input and address their concerns.
  4. Set expectations: Lastly, establish meeting expectations. Inform your client about the expected duration, question opportunities, and the post-meeting next steps.

Reviewing the agenda and objectives ensures the discussion stays focused and productive, ultimately leading to a more efficient and valuable meeting.

Engage in active listening and effective communication

Active listening and effective communication are key to a successful financial advisor meeting.

Here's how to practice these skills during your meeting:

  1. Show full attention: Demonstrate your full focus on your client and the current discussion. Avoid distractions, maintain eye contact, and provide non-verbal cues like nodding or leaning in.
  2. Listen to understand: Instead of merely waiting for your turn to speak, actively listen to comprehend your client's concerns, goals, and viewpoints.
  3. Ask clarifying questions: If something isn't clear, don't hesitate to ask your client for further clarification.
  4. Paraphrase and summarize: Periodically rephrase or recap what your client has said to ensure accurate understanding.
  5. Communicate clearly and simply: When discussing financial strategies or concepts, use clear and straightforward language. Minimize the use of jargon and explain complex ideas in a way that your client easily comprehends.

Using the practices above can build a stronger relationship with your client, understand their needs better, and provide more valuable advice.

Discuss and review financial strategies

Discussing and reviewing financial strategies is a key part of a financial advisor meeting.

Here's how to do it effectively:

  1. Present financial strategies: Based on your client's financial goals and risk tolerance, present the financial strategies that you believe would be most beneficial for them. Explain each strategy clearly and simply, highlighting how it can help them achieve their goals.
  2. Discuss pros and cons: For each strategy, discuss the potential benefits and risks to help your client make informed decisions about which strategies to pursue.
  3. Address client concerns: If your client has concerns or questions about a strategy, thoroughly address them. Provide clear explanations and reassurances to instill confidence in their decisions.
  4. Review existing strategies: In follow-up meetings, review your client's current strategies. Discuss their performance and consider adjustments based on market changes or your client's financial situation.
  5. Involve the client in decision-making: Remember that the goal is not to dictate decisions but to guide your client in making informed choices. Involve them in the decision-making process and empower them to take control of their financial future.

The discussion can provide valuable advice to your client, help them make informed decisions, and guide them toward achieving their financial goals.

Part 4: Post-Meeting Actions

The work doesn't end when the meeting concludes.

The actions you take after the meeting can significantly impact the effectiveness of the discussion and the client's overall experience.

Here are some key steps to take after the meeting:

Review meeting notes

After the meeting, it's important to review your notes so you can have a clear understanding of the key points discussed, decisions made, and action items.

Here's how to effectively review your meeting notes:

  1. Organize your notes: Begin by logically and coherently organizing your notes. Group related points together, highlight crucial information or create a summary of the main topics.
  2. Identify action items: Review your notes and identify any agreed-upon action items from the meeting. Compile a list of these items, including associated deadlines and responsibilities.
  3. Clarify any uncertainties: If there are unclear or ambiguous points in your notes, seek clarification from your client or refer to relevant materials to ensure a complete understanding of the matter.
  4. Store your notes securely: Maintain your meeting notes securely and in an organized manner, such as within a client file or a digital note-taking system. This facilitates future reference and prevents the loss of important information.

When you review your notes, you gain a clear understanding of the key points discussed and you're well-prepared to take any necessary follow-up actions.

👉 Related: Your Meeting Notes Organized

Documentation and follow-up

Documenting the meeting and following up with your client are also important steps in the post-meeting process.

Here's how to do it effectively:

  1. Write a meeting summary or report: Craft a summary or report of the meeting, encompassing the key points discussed, decisions made, and action items. This document serves as a meeting record and a valuable resource for future reference.
  2. Send a follow-up email: Within 24-48 hours of the meeting, send a follow-up email to your client. Include the meeting summary or report, any next steps, and a thank-you message for their time. 
  3. Address action items: Initiate work on agreed-upon action items from the meeting. Keep your client updated on progress and any updates or changes that may arise during the process.
  4. Monitor progress and provide updates: Continuously track your progress on action items and regularly update your client.

The documentation and follow-up can continue to provide value and build a strong, long-term relationship.

Implement agreed-upon actions

Once you've reviewed your meeting notes and followed up with your client, it's time to implement the agreed-upon actions.

Here's how to do it effectively:

  1. Create a task list: Based on the action items identified during the meeting, generate a task list with clear deadlines and responsibilities.
  2. Prioritize tasks: Arrange tasks by importance and urgency to focus on critical items first, directing efforts toward impactful actions.
  3. Delegate responsibilities: If certain tasks involve other team members or external partners, delegate responsibilities accordingly. Ensure everyone understands their role and expected outcomes.
  4. Monitor progress: Regularly track task progress and provide updates to your client as necessary to maintain transparency and keep your client informed about their financial plan's status.
  5. Adjust as necessary: Be prepared to adapt your approach or timeline if challenges or obstacles arise during implementation. Communicate changes to your client and collaborate on finding the best solution.

The implementation can demonstrate your commitment to your client's financial success and build a strong, long-term relationship.

Schedule follow-up meetings

Scheduling follow-up meetings is an important part of maintaining an ongoing relationship with your client and ensuring that their financial plan stays on track.

Here's how to schedule follow-up meetings effectively:

  1. Determine the frequency: Consider your client's needs and the complexity of their financial situation to determine the appropriate follow-up meeting frequency. It can range from quarterly to annually, aligning with your client's preferences and the nature of their financial plan.
  2. Schedule in advance: Ensure that follow-up meetings are scheduled well in advance, allowing both you and your client to mark the dates in your calendars.
  3. Set objectives for each meeting: Define clear objectives for every follow-up meeting based on your client's current financial situation and any changes since the last meeting.
  4. Prepare for the meeting: Just like any other meeting, prepare for follow-up meetings by reviewing your client's financial information, setting an agenda, and gathering necessary materials.
  5. Maintain open communication: Between follow-up meetings, keep communication open with your client. This may involve sending regular updates, addressing emerging concerns, or simply checking in to inquire about their well-being.

All these enable you to maintain an ongoing relationship with your client, ensure that their financial plan stays on track, and continue to provide valuable advice and support.

The Importance of Efficient Meetings

Efficient meetings are the cornerstone of a successful financial advisory relationship.

As a financial advisor, your role extends beyond providing financial advice — it's about empowering your clients to take charge of their financial future.

So, remember to approach each meeting with preparation, active engagement, and a commitment to follow through.

By doing so, you will not only maximize the efficiency of your meetings but also build strong, long-lasting relationships with your clients.

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