Have you ever been hired for advice, delivered a plan, but then hit a brick wall with implementation?
Many advisors see planning and product implementations as two distinct things and struggle to transition between them. What they don't realize is that great planning should lay the ground work for full implementation of that plan. It is a natural progression to go from one to the next, not an imposition on the client.
Let me ask you this, what is the purpose of a financial plan?
The purpose of a plan, by my estimation, is to determine if someone is on track to accomplish their goals and to identify ways to increase the probability of success. It is also to identify risks to the success that plan.
If that is accurate, then the logical next step is to implement the recommendations to improve the probability of success and reduce the risks to the plan.
If you don't implement the plan, then planning was just an academic exercise and a significant waste of time and money.
Advisors continue to "sell" planning as a stand-alone service and fail to contextualize into a larger planning process that includes implementation.
Quit that! You are doing your clients a disservice.
The key to full implementation lies in the planning process you offered the client in the very first meeting. Did you sell them a "plan" or did you offer them a comprehensive Advice-based Planning Process that includes the three phases of initial PLANNING, full IMPLEMENTATION and long-term PARTNERSHIP?
If you did the latter, then your clients will expect you to follow the initial planning process with recommendations for full implementation of that plan.
For conversations sake, let's assume that you did offer an Advice-based Planning Process and you are still getting tripped up in the implementation phase.
I bet I know what happened…you surprised and overwhelmed them!
You got to the implementation meeting and you dumped a bunch of proposals on them for investment portfolios and illustrations for insurance products without laying the ground work.
Plop…sign here! And hurry up, we have a lot to get through!
First of all, break up your implementation into two or more meetings if you have several topics to cover. Don't go into one epic meeting thinking you are going to do all of your investment accounts, some life insurance and a little LTC.
Think bite-sized chunks. One meeting for investment recommendations and one meeting for insurance recommendations will usually space it out enough, but sometimes you may even need a third.
Ok, so now I am going to assume you offered them a comprehensive Advice-based Planning Process and you have broken your implementation up enough that they can digest and make decisions on each item in turn.
Let's talk about how to present any recommendation.
Remind them of the need they have that you are filling.
Outline your philosophy, again.
Gain consensus about the conceptual solution.
Share your recommendation in a prescriptive manner.
Ask for confirmation and proceed to implementation.
It might sound something like this…
"Remember when we identified that you need $1M of life insurance to take care of these needs if you were to pass way?"
"During the Clarification meeting, I shared with you my insurance philosophy and in your case, with your cash-flow, a convertible term policy will likely be the best way to meet your need at a price you can afford now that will protect your insurability for the future and allow you to convert to a permanent policy when the budget allows."
"Do you agree that convertible term is likely the best option for you right now?"
"I looked at 10 insurance products and here is the one that I believe is the best for you given the cost currently and the products that you will be able to convert to down the road. Here are all the details…"
"Does this seem like a good way to get you the coverage you need at a price you can afford right now? Great, we prepared the paperwork for you. Let's get started."
It doesn't matter whether you are recommending insurance or investments. It might not always be a product you offer. It might be opting into a work benefit or making a behavioral change. The process is the same.
It is about their goals. You have already shared with them how you approach solving this problem. You get confirmation that they are in agreement with your approach. You share your specific recommendation and if they like it, you implement it on the spot.
Virtually every client has a need for some sort of implementation. If you can't move a client to action…aka get them to implement your recommendations…then you are failing them.
An un-implemented plan is just an expensive thought exercise. I know that you want more for your clients. Implementation is the key to your effectiveness as an advisor! And it is a skill you can learn that will change your client's lives and your own practice.
As advisors we should always be learning and growing to better serve our clients. If you want to build an Advice-based Planning Practice that is purpose-driven and profitable, you should consider joining the IMPLEMENTATION Monthly Mastermind.
We meet live once a month and you get fresh, timely training and the opportunity to ask me questions about all things Advice-based Planning. We would love to have you and the great news is that you can try it out risk-free. Click on the link below to get your first month on me!
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