Introduction:

"The first three months of a client relationship are crucial. Every practice should have a set of systems in place to make sure nothing falls through the cracks."

So says John Vance of Vance Wealth Group; and it's true that the importance of a solid employee onboarding process for wealth management firms is well established. That initial period sets the tone for the remainder of the working relationship and, when done right, can help to bolster profitability for all parties involved.

However, many financial planning practices see the onboarding process as nothing more than a series of tedious tasks that serve no purpose than to meet basic compliance needs. When the process for new client onboarding is mired in administrative data-entry with no focus on the strategic potential of setting a strong foundation upon which to build a working relationship, a huge potential of value is lost.

This checklist is designed to help you make the most of your client onboarding process. Not only is this process designed to streamline your workflow with a series of best-practice tasks that will adapt to your needs with conditional logic, but manual data-entry is also minimized with the use of auto-fill form fields and parameters.

You will be able to focus your energy on your client's needs and goals and gain real insight into how best to approach a solution for their situation. By making use of this checklist you are far more likely to get the most value out of your investment (of both time and money) and ensure you're are optimizing your employee onboarding process.

Let's get started.

Welcome:

Record the client's details

Kicking things off, you need to make sure that you record all of the client's basic information. Fill in the form fields below to record this information for later ease of access.

If there's anything else that's not covered here, make a note in the field below.

Process Street can be set up with Zapier's API integration to automatically send information collected in this checklist into your CRM or portfolio management system.

Send over the contract for signing

Before beginning with the bulk of the checklist, make sure to send over the contract so that it can be signed and received back from the client.

Be sure to communicate to the client that, should they have any qualms about the contract, that you are their first port-of-call. 

As well, make sure to respond to inquiries as swiftly as possible, so that time lost waiting on signage is minimized.

Process Street integrates with HelloSign through Zapier and can trigger automatic e-signature documents to send as soon as a checklist like this one is run. 

Confirm contract has been signed and received

Upload the signed contract to the file upload form field in this taskThat way you'll have a copy stored against the record of your onboarding process for this client.

You can also use integration to automatically feed uploaded files (like the signed contract above) into other pipelines like Salesforce or Close.io.

Send the new client a welcome email

It's a good idea to send the client a personalized welcome email early on in the onboarding process, to keep the momentum going from a recent sale, and as a chance to present an opportunity to reassure the client that they made the right decision in choosing you as the solution to their problem.

This can take the form of a brief mission statement, including a warm greeting and a sentiment that you're glad to have the opportunity to be working with them. You can take this opportunity to outline some important compliance or data protection points.

Below, we have included a sample email taken from the board of Certified Financial Planners (CFP)  website and can be used as a guideline for your own. However, these are just examples and will need to be edited to suit your needs before you hit the "Send" button.

While you can certainly use the example above from other planning firms, or a more general template from Planipedia, it is vital to personalize the letter to address the customer's particular needs and reassure them that you have understood their situation.

The welcome letter should not sell anything, just thank your new client for expressing interest and fill any silence before the initial meeting.

Send over a questionnaire

Send over a questionnaire so that you can quickly gain important information and understand key factors that will help you gain insight into the how you can best fit into your client's solution.

If you haven't yet got a final questionnaire written for these purposes, have a look at this example from The Financial Advisors. It relies on both documentation and opinion-based responses so you can see how their perceptions measure up to reality.

Go ahead and insert the link to your custom questionnaire in the email template below, and then send it off.

Save even more time by setting up a SurveyMonkey integration with Process Street to automatically send a new survey when a task is checked.

Confirm questionnaire has been completed and received

Confirm that you've received the questionnaire back from your client, and then mark this task as complete. 

The questionnaire will help ground your initial discussion and give you a head start in understanding where your client is coming from.

However, the questionnaire alone should be thought of as supplementary to a number of consistent 1-on-1 calls with your client where you are able to go into greater detail about their needs, goals, and financial problems.

If you're using SurveyMonkey, you can set up a Zapier integration to trigger a new Process Street checklist automatically as soon as a survey is completed.

Scheduling:

Schedule meetings

Work out a timetable that best suits both yourself and the client's situation; it may be that they will require upwards of three or four calls per quarter or a call every six months may be sufficient.

Whatever the case, make sure the calls are regular and that as many future calls are booked in advance as possible.

Calendly is a great tool that allows you to schedule multiple meetings with the same URL. Place your Calendly link in the text body of the email widget below, and edit it to suit your specific use case.

Keep track of all necessary calls and whether or not they've been scheduled with the sub-checklist below. The entries here serve as a guideline; feel free to edit them.

  • 1
    Initial call
  • 2
    Follow-up calls for the next 12 months
  • 3
    Performance report call

Preparations (pre-meeting):

Request financial documents

Request that the client provides as many of the following documents as are necessary.

These documents will be used to gain insight into the client's situation and are crucial in building a robust financial plan that meets the goals of your client.

Set a deadline so that your client responds promptly:

The email widget below has been prepared with a sample message; just check it over and hit "Send" after you make any adjustments.

Prepare meeting agenda

Only when you focus on what's important to your client will you be able to truly help understand and plot out the financial roadmap that will help to get them to where they want to go.

Work through the sub-checklist below whilst preparing your plan to keep track of the structure of your meeting agenda and incorporate key points that should be addressed.

  • 1
    Introduction
  • 2
    Understand client's needs and goals
  • 3
    Understand the client's pain points
  • 4
    Understand the current situation
  • 5
    Agree on the next steps

Your early questions should be probing to try to answer the following: what is important about money to your client? This answer will ultimately help you to understand what kind of solution will be the best fit.

An alternative way to formulate a meeting is to start by asking clients what questions they’d like to cover, then moving on to anything else the advisor feels is important (which will often become clear as the client gives more information about their situation) and from that creates an agenda, which is then emailed to clients beforehand and which is tabled at the start of the meeting.

Upload a copy of the agenda document to the form field below to better keep track of everything as you progress through the onboarding process.

You can set up a Zapier integration to push the meeting agenda document to your CRM or portfolio management software automatically. Learn more about Process Street integrations here.

Whether you take the top-down or bottom-up approach to the meeting, you should have some idea about what kind of information you'll be looking for in your talks with the client.

Ahead of the call and informed by the structure of the agenda, use the multiple choice form field to indicate the main discussion points you intend to address.

  • 1
    Goals
  • 2
    Economic context
  • 3
    Assets
  • 4
    Investments
  • 5
    Additional items

Call flow (during meeting):

Discuss client's goals

You should put the goals of your client first, and have this conversation before moving on to more detailed questions about the current market overview or their investment portfolio. 

Use the sub-checklist below to keep a record of the topics covered so far during the call.

  • 1
    Short term
  • 2
    Long term
  • 3
    Discretionary
  • 4
    Non-discretionary

Discuss the client's assets

Move on to discuss the client's assets, and as before, use the sub-checklist to keep track.

  • 1
    Evaluate outside assets
  • 2
    Outline your capabilities
  • 3
    Make recommendations

Discuss client's investment portfolio

Inquire about the client's investment portfolio, and use the following points as a guideline as to the kinds of questions to ask.

  • 1
    Portfolio performance
  • 2
    Net of fees
  • 3
    Against goals
  • 4
    Seek agreement and understanding
  • 5
    Discuss any changes to portfolios or managers

Discuss additional non-investment items

To round up the call, mention any additional finance items that you feel might be relevant. The sub-checklist below includes some typical "non-investment" items.

  • 1
    Insurance
  • 2
    Legacy
  • 3
    Philanthropy
  • 4
    Education

Strategy (post-meeting):

Record meeting notes to CRM profile

Directly after your first meeting, you should update your CRM software and any additional client databases with any notes and additional information that was gained during the call. 

Process Street collects and automates data with 1000+ Zapier integrations; you can save a lot of manual effort by setting up a Zap to push information collected in any task (e.g. the meeting notes from the previous section) into your CRM. Check out these guides to setting up Process Street with Close.io and Salesforce.

Confirm financial documents have been received

Use this task to confirm you've received all of the financial documents you requested from your client. The sub-checklist below will help you to keep track:

  • 1
    Signed contract
  • 2
    Questionnaire
  • 3
    Additional documents (e.g. non-disclosure agreement)

You may also want to consider uploading copies to the form fields below for safekeeping and future reference once you receive the completed documents back from the client.

Formulate a financial strategy

You should have more than enough information at this point to begin putting together a financial strategy that is well suited to your client's needs and expectations; insight gained from the questionnaire and the recent call will position you to devise a plan that directly addresses the client's situation. 

In fact, this task may well amount to organizing the information discussed within the last call into a concise and direct summary and presenting a clear solution to your client in the form of a document.

Make sure you keep everything organized and upload a copy of the finished financial strategy document to the form field below.

  • 1
    Address client's needs and goals
  • 2
    Address risks currently present
  • 3
    Determine the best-fit financial course of action
  • 4
    Explain your own approach
  • 5
    Outline fees

Inform your client of the next steps

Send an email to your client advising them of the next steps you would recommend they take, including a breakdown of their situation, with potential options and as much useful advice you can present without convoluting the case.

Check the information in the email widget below before hitting "Send". Pay particular attention to the areas within the square brackets, as these are opportunities to add value in the form of personalization.

The email should attempt to meet the following criteria:

  • 1
    Review main points covered in meeting
  • 2
    List all action steps
  • 3
    Identify who will do what and when
  • 4
    Encourage client to respond with changes or additional thoughts

Feedback:

Ask for feedback on the onboarding process

Create a survey using Typeform or Survey Monkey to gather feedback on your onboarding process and ask your client to fill it.

Remember to edit the URL below to use a survey of your own; currently, the placeholder is the one we use at Process Street for customer feedback.

If you're interested in how Process Street can integrate with Typeform, check this out.

Incorporate client’s feedback into strategy

Finally, having completed and received feedback on the onboarding process, you are in a position to use any feedback to improve the process further. 

Consider what might have been done better, and try to address any issues brought up by your clients in the post-onboarding feedback survey as directly as possible. 

Leave suggestions on how the process might be improved in the form field below.

Sources:

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