3 Tips for Stellar Annual Reviews

You probably have yearly reviews for your clients. But are you getting the most out of them?

Most agents and advisors make time to meet with their clients once a year, whether the client needs to talk or not. If everything’s going smoothly, you might not have a reason to meet per se, but it’s still a good practice. You can take the time to show your clients you care, reevaluate their financial situation, and make sure they’re earning toward — or already enjoying — the retirement they’ve envisioned for themselves.

Even if you’re already an annual review pro, here are a few things you could add to your practice to make sure you’re getting the most out of your facetime with clients.

1. Pretend you’re meeting your client again for the first time.

Not literally, of course — you know them and they know you. But it might help your relationship to throw assumptions out the window. Ask them questions about themselves.

What’s new in their lives? Has anything changed? Maybe their kid lost her job and needs financial assistance, or they’ve pushed back the date of their retirement for some reason. Maybe they’ve decided to retire early.

You don’t know what they might’ve been thinking in the year or so since you last saw them. Make sure you take the time to get to know them again, so you know how best to help them.

2. It’s not just about the portfolio.

That’s part of it. But you also need to look beyond where the money’s at — you need to know things like your clients’ employment status, any looming health concerns, or changes in their attitude to risk. There’s a lot to unpack.

Asset allocation, tax planning, and estate and retirement planning, not to mention insurance issues, can all affect how your clients feel about their future. Pay attention to their fears; sometimes, their anxieties are places where you can step in and help them feel more positively about their own plans and situations.

3. Have your clients give you an annual review.

After Amazon made the practice mainstream, people became used to leaving — and reading — reviews online. Once the internet got kicked up, people started reviewing their doctors, lawyers, and bankers, in addition to their toasters, blenders, and books.

Not everyone likes feedback. But if you can take and absorb feedback, you’ll make your practice better. You really need to know what people like, so you can do more of it. But you also need to know what they hate, so you can fix it.

Encourage your clients to tell you what they like and don’t like. Just listen; don’t judge. Don’t be defensive. If you do, you might be surprised at the results.

If you do this right, you can identify at-risk business before it leaves your firm. You can evaluate in-house improvement projects that are ongoing. And, perhaps most importantly, you can identify (and take advantage of) potential brand ambassadors. This last is a great way to jump-start referrals.

Annual reviews are about more than maintaining your business.

If you don’t have a process for annual reviews, you should find one. They aren’t just about taking the temperature of your firm — they’re about generating new business, too!


Related terms: Marketing

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