This is a guest post by Dave Grant, CFP®, founder of Retirement Matters, Inc..
In two weeks, I had spoken to seven potential clients and none of them were qualified. I had spent time arranging appointments, getting pertinent details, setting aside time that could have been dedicated to clients, and it resulted in no new business.
I swore to myself that it would never happen again.
Back in 2016, I re-branded my financial planning practice. Moving away from helping just teachers, I wanted to be more focused on helping pre-retirees in the Chicago area get ready to make the transition into full-fledged retirement. But I was determined not to repeat the same situation again.
I implemented technology solutions and streamlined processes that would allow me to speak to potential clients who knew exactly if they were the type of clients I worked with, what services I offered, and what I charged. Those who didn’t fit into this “ideal client profile” would self-select themselves out, and either continue to engage with my educational material or find another financial planner to work with.
To start this process, I implemented a Case Studies page on my website that discussed the situations my clients found themselves in and how I helped them. It profiled three different people in similar stages of life.
Right after this, I included a Services page. I laid out the services I offered and each price point – from smallest to largest – and then included a consolidated, one-page Service Matrix as a download. I was trying to make it really easy for people to see themselves as a client of mine and to determine if they could afford my fees.
When people saw this page and emailed to make an appointment, I suggested that they use my online calendar instead of playing email tag. To make this easier, I placed a link in my email signature and also on various points on my website allowing people to make an appointment with me. Using the ScheduleOnce platform, they were able to see what times I was available and pick one that suited them. Appointments were broken down into Initial Call, Initial Client Kickoff Meeting, and Existing Client Meeting. Everything was self-explanatory.
To make it even more clear – and to qualify those who had fallen through the cracks on my website – I placed my Service Matrix on the booking page of ScheduleOnce and allowed people to, once again, see my services and pricing.
For many people making an appointment, this was the first time I heard from them. They would show up on my calendar for an initial call, and I had yet to speak to them or receive an email from them requesting a time.
To further clarify things, I had an automated email set up in my email-assistant software, Mailbutler, which I would send to everyone who had made an appointment on my calendar. This would thank them for making the appointment and include a copy of the Service Matrix for their review. It may seem redundant, but having the Service Matrix in front of people for a third time meant it was the first time many had seen it, so some people then cancelled the appointment due to the price point. My concern that it was overkill proved not to be justified.
This was great for people who were comfortable with doing everything online. However, I did have people call me and want to talk about services. Oftentimes, they caught my answering the phone unexpectedly. My initial phone call with people is usually 30 to 45 minutes long due to the nature of getting to know people and their situation, so a cold-call usually didn’t fit into my schedule. Even worse, picking up the phone with a potential client only to tell them to make an appointment online or for a later time didn’t go over well.
I then added the receptionist service from Smith.ai to handle my phone calls. By having this team available to schedule initial phone calls for me in ScheduleOnce, it freed up this time for working with clients and other projects.
All in all, implementing this process has saved me hours of time and frustration. Not only am I now speaking to qualified prospects on 95% of my calls (the odd one still slips through!), but my conversion rate is higher, allowing me to fill out my client roster and contemplate raising prices. Integrating these software platforms together has revolutionized the way I run my practice.
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