Upon walking into your office, your prospects should be treated
like royalty. Your receptionist should get up from his or her desk,
greet them warmly, shake their hand and address them by first
name, welcoming them to the office. Will some prospects think it is
overkill? Possibly, but what’s the alternative?
Have the prospective clients brought into a conference room,
where a table is set with individual place cards, freshly baked cookies and a tablet (iPad or other) for each attendee. Make sure your
receptionist offers them a drink (water, coffee, tea, soda, beer or
wine) and invites them to browse through the company’s app prior
to the meeting.
You may also want to present a note-taking app so that your
prospects’ notes can be emailed directly to them after your meeting
On the way out of the conference room, the receptionist should
press play on a remote in her pocket to start a video. The owner
of the company (or whomever is appropriate) should appear on
Gen Y consumers may be wary
of working with someone who does not
empathize with their problems.
screen, welcoming the prospects to the office and thanking them
for taking the time to visit. He or she should encourage them to ask
as many questions of the advisor they are meeting with as necessary, and suggest meeting with them at a later date.
SHOW COMMON GROUND
Gen Y consumers may be wary of working with someone who does
not empathize with their problems. If you are a mature advisor,
you’re at an uncontrollable disadvantage because of the generation
gap. One idea that might help sway me: Create a “client wall” on one
wall of your conference room or reception area.
Display photographs of your current clients, Gen Y included
— with client permission, of course. Next to the pictures, include
the main goal the client is working toward. This will give your
prospects comfort that they are working with someone who truly
Finally, when you walk into the room, greet them warmly by
name and lead them in a conversation about themselves. Do not
talk about yourself, or your company, until the couple asks or there
is a natural end to the discussion about their needs.
Nothing is worse in the financial planning process than data gathering. It’s time consuming and often repetitive. Your job is to make it
When it’s time to collect client information, have this process be driven by one of
your younger associates, if possible — making
that person the secondary contact, after you.
This accomplishes two goals: It not only lets
Gen Y consumers know that you work with
their generation, but it also says you trust this
generation to help you run your practice.
This associate will work closely with new
clients to design and monitor their financial
plan. At the onboarding meeting, he or she
will run them through the process.
Be sure your firm has implemented technology to make this data-gathering process
easier — perhaps a software package such as
PreciseFP or FinaMetrica. Cutting-edge technology can sparks conversation — iPhone 5
and iPad mini, anyone?
As your associate finds common ground
with the clients, they may offer up more
information about themselves. Have your
associate take notes; you can ask the clients
further questions later on to help develop the
relationship and refine their plan.
Is that close to the experience you currently
provide? For some companies, it will be very
close; for others, however, it would require a
I’ll admit: Even my firm, Vantage Financial
Partners, doesn’t offer all these experiences
— but then again, if our target audience were
Gen Y, we might want to reconsider.
Wouldn’t it be great having a prospective
client looking forward to working with you
and coming back to see your receptionist
again? Or your associate?
That’s how outstanding companies operate. It’s time to become one. FP
Dave Grant, a Financial Planning columnist,
is a financial planning analyst with Vantage
Financial Partners in Arlington Heights, Ill.
He is also the founder of NAPFA Genesis, a
networking group for young, fee-only planners.