4 ways to effectively use automation

March 6, 2013 | Last updated on March 6, 2013
3 min read

More advisors are automating their services.

And they’re not letting tech tools build walls between them and their clients. Instead, they’re using simple programs to facilitate constructive and regular contact, which ensures they stay top of mind.

They’re also keeping organized, building their books and managing more of their clients’ assets over time, said Stephanie Holmes-Winton, president and CEO of The Money Finder, during a recent webcast.

Read: 12 tips for integrating automation

With automation, you can stay one step ahead of their needs. If you’re afraid they’ll balk at using technology, however, explain how it might benefit them.

Read: Man or machine?

Ready to try it out? Here are 4 tips:

1. Let clients book meetings themselves

Using tools such as Timetrade or Doodle, get clients to either book meetings directly into your calendar via a secure link, or choose from times. Holmes-Winton says the sites are inexpensive or free to use, and eliminate phone or email tag. This is especially crucial with prospects you’re trying to impress.

Read: Make the most out of meetings (a template)

2. Ask for basic information in advance of meetings

Create simple, jargon-free forms that outline the kind of information you need. For example, you need to know the income and debt levels of prospects, and need a list of their main goals and investment experience to help them. Send out the forms prior to meetings.

The best part is, says Holmes-Winton, “They’ll know what they have to share, and will be clear on your process and expectations from the start.” If they ask why you need the information early, tell them it saves time and helps you focus more on their questions during the meeting.

TIP: It also gives you an idea of whether you can serve them at all. Request the documents a few days before the meeting and be firm on the deadline.

Read: Letting go of lesser clients

3. Don’t reinvent the wheel

Each client is different, but your basic approaches and processes don’t have to be. Create fact sheets about common topics you can hand to new clients, or to those inquiring about a new product, for instance. This saves you from having to remember to bring up basic points and you look organized.

TIP: If you brand these and design them well, customers may share them and help you get referrals.

Read: 5 ways to get referrals

4. Provide annual review checklists

Send these to clients before reviews. List what they need to think about before the meeting, as well as what they need to bring. If you include an agenda, you’ll discuss more than the market and their returns.

TIP: Ask how much they like to get emails and calls, as well as how often they’d like to review their goals and strategies. You reduce how the number of email lists they’re on, for instance, and keep track of changed preferences.

Read: Short-term goals increase planning success and How to provide lifestyle planning

Also check out these links to get the most out of client meetings:

Maximizing client meetings

Use tablets in client meetings

Next steps: a post-meeting letter for clients