A six-month review of your new financial planning investment services program is essential to your long-term success. A quick discussion at the partner meeting will not address the real issues. The review should be a serious project with a commitment to address any uncovered issues.
Many companies have wondered how we do it and what we should look for. The following is a breakdown of some of the key topics to review and test.
• Is everyone on board? Has the program been presented to all partners and associates? At this point, at least 75% of prospective partners and associates should have made at least four to ten referrals and have multiple clients involved in the financial planning process. Take an accurate measure of where referrals are coming from and where they are not; ask the right questions of those with high or low participation. More or better internal communication may be necessary.
• Are you mining your entire customer base or are you just looking for diamonds on the surface? You should have contacted all of your clients in writing to let them know about the new services and suggest a time to talk about starting a plan. By the six-month mark, you should be following up on most of your “A” customers and prospects who look like potential “A” customers. In the first six months, approximately 75% of your time spent on new endeavors should be spent starting with “A” clients.
• What does the income look like? The annual goal of a 10% increase in gross billing cannot be divided by two and used as a measure for the six-month review. The inception phase of the program takes time to build momentum, and the effort will now pay off in the second half of the year. However, you should start to see some increases in the first billing total of, say, 2% to 3%. Look at the billing mix; If everything is generated by commissions (eg asset management) and nothing comes from product sales, you will fall below the 10% target and you will have to adjust the mix to stay on target. The number of complete financial plans will have a direct correlation with income. Part of the implementation plan should have included a target per partner for the number of plans. Now is the time to compile a report of the customer plans completed by the partner and compare it to the target.
• Is the leader still leading? The managing partner / partner who took over or was given “ownership” of the program should clearly already be the owner and leader. He or she must manage the cultural adjustment and make the necessary changes to facilitate integration. This person should report and / or publish results and should make the program a focus at appropriate partner meetings. At this point it is important to evaluate the role and responsibility of the person in this role: What have they done? They need help?
These are real issues and need to be addressed early and often for the program to be successful and should be the focus of each company’s semi-annual review.