Take a look at this 8 step process for running client discovery meetings.
1. Tell the client that you want to meet with them to talk about the future.
“What we used to do was good. Now what we do aims to make us more aligned with your financial needs. We are committed to better understanding your needs and objectives. I’d like to arrange a coffee meeting to discuss your plans for the new financial year. I will ask questions I haven’t asked in the past. I want to work with you to focus more on the future. I do this with ALL of my clients. When would you be available for a meeting?”
2. Prepare an appropriate document to act as a focus point in conversation. For example,
- Statement of source of funds
- Statement of assets and liabilities
- Profit and Loss statement
- Cashflow forecast
Consider software tools to assist with this process. For example:
- Futrli or Spotlight Report
- Financial reports from client accounting software
3. Confirm the meeting date, time and provide an agenda. For example,
- Business health report (see above options)
- Your personal and business financial goals for the year ahead
- How we can best help you in the year ahead
4. Collect and process information required to provide the report.
The process should be documented and leveraged. The report should be simple (maximum 2 pages) and should highlight key areas for discussion about the future.
5. Introduce the meeting by outlining the objective, then discuss the report
“The purpose of this meeting is to ensure that our service and support is aligned with your financial needs. I will ask questions I haven’t asked in the past. I want to work with you to focus more on the future. I do this with ALL of my clients. Let’s start by looking at some interesting financial data / your business health report …”
6. Lead from the report into open ended questions to get more information on the client’s perception of their financial position and their goals.
Be aware that the client may not have considered some of these questions in the past and may be challenged themselves. This is all part of the discovery process, for both you and the client.
Some simple business questions to consider:
- How’s business going for you? Are you doing better than last year? What could be improved?
- What drives your business profits? What’s important about that for you?
- What are some of the things that have worked well for you in business this year?
- How do you think business will go over the next year? What concerns do you have at this time?
And at a personal level:
- Are you achieving your personal goals? If not, what is stopping you?
- What can you do differently in the new financial year to achieve your personal goals?
- Are you happy living your current lifestyle? What lifestyle would you like?
- What do you want for your family? Do you think you are on track to achieve this?
- Why? / Why not?
- What do you want to achieve before retirement? What does retirement mean to you?
Remember to ask probing questions to get more information:
- Could you give me further information on that?
- When you say that, what do you mean?
7. Take notes on the client’s feedback, show interest. Summarise the client’s position when you have enough information.
So, from our discussion today, it seems to me that your financial objectives for the next year are …
The achievement of these objectives will give you …
And the key challenges you face are …
Would this reflect your thoughts?
8. If you’re confident that you’ve engaged your client and confirmed their financial objectives, then suggest that you come back to them with a proposal for your ongoing support.
If you feel it’s appropriate, give the client an overview of your business advisory service packages and discuss specific services relevant to their needs.
For more information and guidelines, take a look at our CLIENT MANAGER 2020 eLearning Course.