November 1, 2023

Implementation Strategies: Tips for Helping Clients Make Their Financial Plan a Reality

Written By Charesse Spiller

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Creating truly exceptional client relationships means having a game plan for how to nurture your clients in an ongoing way.

Financial planners are rockstars when it comes to client conversion and onboarding. They often pour all of their energy (and their team’s energy) into those first 90 days. This makes sense! The initial financial plan from goal setting to an investment strategy is the core value-add that most financial planners market. It’s what brings clients in the door. 

But what happens after the initial financial plan is created? 

Creating truly exceptional client relationships means having a game plan for how to nurture your clients in an ongoing way. It may take a firm anywhere from 1½ to 2 years to fully implement a client’s plan – how can those expectations be communicated effectively? And how can financial planners create a scalable process for implementation when every client has unique implementation needs?

Getting Started

Implementing a financial plan is a natural progression after recommendations have been provided to your clients. However, before you dive into plan implementation, make sure you’re starting with a strong foundation. 

Ensure client onboarding is complete. This is where your team can help you! They can knock out client paperwork, portal setup, data collection, and more. If you feel like you’re missing critical information at the start of the implementation phase, your initial onboarding process needs to be revisited.

Set clear expectations. Once your initial planning recommendations have been provided, take time to set expectations with your clients. Communicate with your clients what they can expect throughout this new phase of working with your firm. A few key items you’ll want to cover are:

  1. Who they’ll be working with, or the key players on your team they should know. This can include their lead advisor, a junior advisor who may be in communication with them, or a client service associate. 

  2. How you’ll be implementing their plan. Depending on your clientele, you can determine what level of detail is appropriate. They may want to know how their accounts will be transferred under your management, how often you’ll rebalance their portfolio, and how often you’ll be checking in on progress toward their goals.

  3. When you’ll communicate with them. Let clients know upfront how often you’ll meet, and what you’ll need from them in order to schedule check-ins. 

You may find that your clients need more hand-holding up front and that’s okay. Work this into your process! A 30-day follow-up or check-in meeting to track high priority to do’s can help your clients stay on track and reassure them that you’ll be with them every step of the way. 

Who Will Be Part Of Your Delegation Plan?

Remember: you aren’t alone in this. Your team can absolutely help with your delegation plan – and they may even be able to help your clients feel less alone as they embark on this journey. Your responsibility is to ensure that expert advice is provided and to serve as an accountability partner to your clients. Let’s dig into who can help you delegate: 

  1. Your client. Their job is to communicate with you (their advisor). They need to send necessary information and be transparent with you, as well as be receptive to the advice you give. 

  2. Your team. They’re here to help your firm provide an exceptional experience. They can complete implementation tasks and financial plan recommendations on your client’s behalf. They can also help to create a consistent process around implementation that takes some of the work off of your plate. This can help to clear up any bottlenecks in your business and maintain a trust-based relationship with your clients. 

  3. Your referral network. Most firms don’t have the bandwidth to handle implementing all of the recommendations they give to their clients. Instead, they leverage a network of professionals such as CPAs, estate planning attorneys, realtors, mortgage lenders, and niche-specialist financial planners to help them get the job done. It can help you to keep a list of A-Team referral partners to ensure that, regardless of what your client needs, you can help them accomplish the tasks you’ve outlined for them. Setting up authorization so that your client doesn’t have to be the middleman can also help create a seamless process.

  4. Outsourced solutions. If you’d rather keep some of this referral work in-house, but don’t want to hire a full-time staff member, you should explore outside solutions. Whether this is a tax prep service that plugs into your firm or an insurance provider that you can engage in a referral partnership with, having white labeled services available to your clients can create a sense of security. 

Select Your Implementation Approach

In general, there are three approaches for financial plan implementation: 

  1. Do-It-Yourself. 

  2. Done With You.

  3. Done For You. 

The way you implement will vary widely depending on which of these three approaches you prefer, and what your clients need.


Some advisors steer away from DIY packages because they’re concerned about ongoing revenue, and they aren’t sure whether they can provide the best possible experience if the client is left alone to implement their strategy. However, the DIY approach isn’t always bad. The key is to create a plan for your DIY clients to implement your plan with an accountability partner. This can be you or someone else in your firm. 

Under this model, your ongoing service process will be focused on holding your client accountable and scheduling regular check-in meetings that are advice-driven. You can also recommend referral partners for items on your client’s to-do list that they can’t complete themselves. 

Done With You

This is an ideal implementation process for advisor firms who want a more collaborative approach. After you present your client’s initial financial plan, you create an action plan for both you and your client. Often, this will consist of:

  1. A series of implementation meetings to track progress.

  2. Meeting with other professionals to coordinate insurance coverage, tax planning, and more. 

  3. Opening investment accounts and implementing their portfolio strategy. 

Done With You implementation typically isn’t offered in-house. Instead, firms have a list of referral partners or technology platforms that make things like tax prep, insurance policies, estate planning, and more. At the minimum, investment management will be offered internally. The important thing to remember about the Done With You implementation is that it can still be high-touch and meaningful for relationship building, even if you don’t have in-house services available. You’re acting as your client’s sounding board, source of advice, and coordinator. 

Done For You

Done For You implementation consists primarily of in-house services. The goal with this is to create a true concierge service model for your clients. Often, Done For You implementation is leveraged at larger firms with high net worth clientele. Some services that are kept in-house with Done For You implementation are:

  1. Joint meetings with other professionals. 

  2. Tax prep. 

  3. Insurance recommendations and policies. 

If your firm is still small, but you want to provide Done For You implementation, lean into creating a team of outsourced providers whose service you can white label. 

Tools to Support Implementation

As is the case with any element of your financial planning process, technology can help you to streamline and scale. Consider adding these to your tech stack, or explore whether your existing tools can help:

  1. Task management or project management tool. Both you and your client should have access to this. This is often found in your planning software! Knudge or Pulse 360 can help your clients stay accountable and give them visibility to what you’re doing. 

  2. Clear deliverables and document storage. Whether you present your financial plan using planning software, or you want to leverage a custom-designed presentation, find a deliverable option that communicates your clients’ financial goals and roadmap. You’ll also need a place where they can access this information whenever they need to revisit it.

  3. Scheduling software. Make it easy for clients to get in touch with you by implementing scheduling software. Calendly, Accuity, or Schedule Once are all viable options. 

Remember: An Implementation Process Can Amplify Your Service Offering

Don’t create a custom implementation process for every client! Instead, work to create a tight implementation plan that accommodates your clients’ unique needs while leveraging technology and your team to stay within the scope of your agreement. 

Finally, don’t forget to track your client’s progress! 

Financial planners may find that their clients come to them for the initial plan – but stay for exceptional, ongoing implementation services and accountability. One of the clearest ways to communicate your ongoing value after the initial plan is complete is to track the goals your clients are achieving, and the progress they’ve made.

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