July 31, 2020

How to Master the First 90 Days of The New Client Journey

Written By Charesse Spiller

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Many advisors assume that once they’ve signed a client the “hard work” is over. Unfortunately, that idea couldn’t be further than the truth! Within the first 90 days, your clients are going through a colossal shift. Starting with the sales process, and ending with their initial plan being presented, they’re fully trusting you with their money, their goals, and their fears.

Many advisors assume that once they’ve signed a client the “hard work” is over. Unfortunately, that idea couldn’t be further than the truth! Within the first 90 days, your clients are going through a colossal shift. Starting with the sales process, and ending with their initial plan being presented, they’re fully trusting you with their money, their goals, and their fears.

Your job as their advisor is to make sure your clients’ initial experience with you is seamless and repeatable. Guiding them through their first 90 days in a process-oriented way helps you to create a scalable business, create stronger bonds with your clients, and generate more referrals.

What Steps Does a New Client Take in Their 90 Days?

Within the first 90 days, your clients will go through:

  • Sales

  • Onboarding

  • Data gathering

  • Discovery meetings

  • Initial plan presentation

  • Implementation of investment or insurance recommendations

That’s a lot of different steps for your clients to move through!

Even if each of these processes are old-hat to you, they’re new to each client you sign. By creating a process that leaves no stone unturned, and that guides your clients every step of the way, you’re building a strong foundation for your future client relationship.

To start creating a “First 90 Days” Experience, it helps to map out the steps your clients will take.

A typical outline would be:

  1.  Discovery call

  2. Proposal review

  3. Get started meeting

  4. Plan presentation

Then, outline what happens during each of those steps. For example:

  1. Discovery call or introduction call
    a. Booking a call
    b. Call reminder
    c. Call follow-up

  2. Proposal review
    a. Follow-up to initial meeting
    b. Client onboarding (after the sale is complete)

  3. Get started meeting
    a. Data gathering
    b. Introduction to client-facing technology
    c. Introduction to key team members

  4. Plan presentation
    a. Presentation preparation
    b. Follow up for implementation or next-steps

Your outline may include other steps. Feel free to customize according to what you and your
team normally do!

Building Resources for Your Clients: Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

When working through your First 90 Days Experience, don’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to your resources. Simplify where you can. Often, it’s best to start with prospecting and onboarding resources. For prospecting, you’ll want marketing pieces prepared for potential clients. These can be tailored to different ideal clients and their pain points. For example, you might have checklists or guides for home buying, lifestyle planning in retirement, or financial considerations when you first have kids.

If your prospects are ready to move forward, you’ll need your next set of resources. You need a game plan for what to do when someone says they’re ready to sign on. Typically, I recommend having “get started” folders or guides prepared. A Getting Started Guide would outline everything your new client needs to move forward including their contract, and a checklist of next steps. I also recommend having a folder of resources to help them self-onboard. These resources might include an onboarding guide for their client portal, formal introductions to team members, and video guides for any technology they’ll be expected to use.

Remember to be available for questions and follow-ups! It can even be useful for you to plug reminders into your CRM or financial planning software to follow up with your clients (or to have your team members or admin do so) to make sure they aren’t having trouble self-onboarding.

Where Do You Store These Processes?

Now that you have your processes outlined and resources created, you need to store them in an easy-to-access place! The ultimate goal should be to have these items stored in your CRM, and automated where possible. However, to get started, I recommend creating a folder in your office or in your online filing system.

Break your folder out based on your client’s journey:

  1. Prospect booking

  2. Prospect meetings

  3. Client onboarding (based on service offerings)

  4. Plan presentation and/or implementation

In your CRM or storage folder, you want to store:

  • Email templates

  • Follow-up letters

  • Marketing resources

    • Investment philosophy

    • Resources for prospects

    • Menu of services

  • Onboarding documents

    • Team introductions

    • How-to’s on accessing accounts

    • Training videos for self-onboarding

    • Guides to upload statements

    • How-to’s on client-facing tech

    • Financial plan templates

Remember: Put Your Client First, Then Reap the Rewards

The impression you make in your first 90 days with a new client is critical. It sets the tone for your continued relationship and can determine both the length of the client engagement, and whether or not they’ll become a referral source in the future.

If you focus on creating a seamless experience in their first 90 days by addressing their needs and being ahead of questions, you’re elevating your service and the way people view your practice. The more you can structure the First 90 Days Experience to serve your clients, the more likely you are to build a thriving, successful business.

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