Martin Mulcare explains why regular contact is critical to achieving clients’ goals

The lead-up to June 30 is usually characterised
 by a succession of client meetings, which are often described as “review meetings”.
What is the purpose of your review meeting? If you regard it as a chance to
touch base with your client and review the progress of their portfolio during
the past six or 12 months then I think you are missing a great opportunity.

advisers have gone a step further and called them “progress meetings”, but
forward-thinking advisers have named them “planning meetings”. Let me explain.

I am making several assumptions, which I should state, to avoid the possibility
of wasting your time. Please stop reading if you do not believe the following:

  • You are interested in a long term relationship with your clients;
  • You are
helping your clients with all aspects of their financial world;
  • Your clients’
lives are dynamic rather than static.

OK, so if you want to nurture your
long-term relationship, wouldn’t this meeting be an ideal time to confirm your
understanding of their values and aspirations? More specifically, wouldn’t this
meeting be a great time to check your understanding of their long-term goals?

would also provide valuable context for your review of their progress against
their long-term goals.

Similarly, if you want to help your clients make smart
decisions about their full range of financial challenges, wouldn’t this meeting
be a great time to discuss aspects of their financial life that you are not
currently involved in? You may only have been dealing with a slice of their financial
life by choice – theirs, or yours – but this may be a good time to revisit that

If the choice was yours, perhaps you have recently expanded your
services or your value proposition – in which case, this may be a good time to
inform them. If the choice was theirs, maybe the adviser they had previously
dealt with is no longer on the scene, or maybe their level of trust has matured
to a point where they can share additional financial concerns with you.

In the
same way, if your clients’ lives are dynamic, wouldn’t this meeting be a great
time to update your understanding of your clients, including your records. Yes,
I know most advisers will ask something like, “any changes in your circumstances
since our last meeting?”

Frankly, I don’t think that question helps you or your
client, and you won’t be surprised that the answer is usually, “not really”. A
much better way is to carefully review their file and prompt them with more
helpful and specific questions. Here are five examples from a myriad of

  • “Your children are now at an age where you may be thinking
about high schools. How are your plans for their education coming along?”
  • “Last
year you mentioned your interest in supporting your favourite charities at some
stage. Is this a good time to explore potential structures for philanthropy?”
  • “Our notes indicate that your company was introducing a new share option scheme
last year. How can we help capitalise on the new plan?”
  • “In the past you have
been keen to manage your own investment properties. If we are to ensure that
you achieve your goals, it would be useful if we had some insight into all of
your assets. How are they performing?”
  • “Last time you announced that your
ex-wife was recently engaged. How was the wedding? Is this the right time to
review your estate planning?” If you aren’t conducting an annual planning meeting
with your clients which:
  • Confirms your understanding of their values and
long-term goals;
  • Seeks to solve their financial challenges beyond your
current scope of work;
  • Identifies changes in their life which may have an
impact on their financial world; then, in summary, I think that you are missing
a great opportunity to provide greater financial certainty to your clients in
these most uncertain financial times.

For you and your business, there is
potential for more business (and more fees); clients that are more committed to
working with you; and more productive use of the time allocated to review
meetings. For your clients, they will feel that you are more interested in
where they are going (not just where they have been); more of their financial
problems will be addressed; and they may feel more confident about their
financial future.

Martin Mulcare can be contacted on [email protected]

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