The idea for this article was sparked by the book Finishing Well by Bob Buford, which addresses the difference between success and significance. The author states that success commonly means using your knowledge and experience to satisfy yourself with fame and fortune, and significance commonly means using the same knowledge and experience to serve others—that is, to change lives.
There are many things you and your staff can do for each client to go beyond the sale. Sales obviously provide financial success, but to do nothing after the sale to enhance your clients’ lives is a tragedy. As a financial advisor, consider how you can further improve the lives of your clients over and above the products you have sold them. Here are 12 questions you can ask yourself to see if you are providing all the service you can:
1. Do you offer a financial summary for each client after a sale? How comprehensive is it?
2. Do you point out the weaknesses in your client’s risk management? Do you give ideas for future consideration?
3. Do you recommend that your client see his attorney to write a will, update his will, review or establish trusts, or give written directives for health and property in case of a disability?
4. Do you suggest a family “love letter” to accompany the client‘s will that spells out suggestions to survivors that are not included within the will?
5. Do you recommend a “family meeting” and suggestions for the agenda? What about a “fire drill”—assuming the client died yesterday? What will the heirs do?
7. Do you have a system to comfort the bereaved with such things as a meaningful condolence note, a gift of an appropriate book such as Living When a Loved One Has Died by Earl Grollman, a family visit or making a contribution to a charity that is meaningful to the family of the deceased?
8. Have you ever suggested to your client that he make a “joy list” to remind him of the things he really enjoys in life?
9. Do you know if your client has a great interest in a particular charity? Have you explored with him the possibility of funding a perpetuating gift to the charity?
10. When a client loses his or her spouse and later remarries, you can be of help. Children of a new marriage are often concerned-usually for financial reasons. Do you have a sample remarriage letter you can share with such clients or friends?
11. People who set goals usually increase their accomplishments in life as opposed to those who do not set goals. Have you helped your clients set and achieve their goals?
12. Have your ever discussed with your client the “whole person” concept of how to build balance in his life?
This is an excerpt from a much longer speech given at the 2008 MDRT annual meeting. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Millard J. Grauer, CLU, CHFC, is a 50-year member and past president (1980) of MDRT as well as a recipient of the John Newton Russell Memorial Award. He is president of Chartered Financial Services Inc. in Northbrook, Ill. Contact him at email@example.com.