One Little Thing Advisors Do To Tank Onboarding

While you think you’re helping a client by breaking your process, you’re actually hurting your relationship and denying them the value you promised

7 min read

One Little Thing Advisors Do To Tank Onboarding
Matthew Jarvis
Financial Planner, CFP®

You are stealing from your clients when you break your process—even if you only made a tiny exception.

No, really. While you think you’re helping a client by breaking your process, you’re actually hurting your relationship and denying them the value you promised to provide from an intact process of success.

We all tell ourselves that getting carried away researching, checking email, or squeezing a client outside of scheduled hours is not a big deal.

But those little things we don’t think matter will snowball and become bigger things that do matter later.

Too often, advisors think that they can let minor infractions slide, and it’ll be okay to make exceptions “just this once” without realizing that once they start, that attitude will quickly spread through their entire practice.

The truth is, even though you might feel like you’re helping now, you’re only causing problems for later.

Case in point: a prospect calls to schedule a meeting and asks if they can see you tomorrow at 5 PM. You know your child has a ball game at that time, but you are buying a new house and need more clients to pay for it, so you schedule the meeting anyway.

Now, you’ve put your team in a bind to compile paperwork on time, compromised your family commitments, and broken your process all for a person who might not even end up paying you.

See how fast that snowballed?

Is breaking your process for one little thing really worth the ripple effect it causes?

When you eagerly allow a prospect to call the shots like this, you’re groveling to be hired and throwing your team, credibility, and family under the bus.

Is that the kind of business you want to run, and will these exceptions pay the bills for you in the long run?

Most likely not.

When you start thinking you need to see prospects immediately, here’s how you discount your credibility:

  • On-demand scheduling tells that prospect that you’re not very busy. If you’re not very busy, that could mean that no one else has hired you, and if no one else has hired you, should Mr. and Mrs. Prospect hire you?
  • You won’t have time to develop the proper paperwork. You risk missing a form, skipping a signature line, or stumbling through the meeting. All of these things result in delivering less value to the client.
  • When you’re selective about which parts of the process to follow, your clients will be equally selective about which pieces of your advice to follow. Clients won’t feel the weight of your advice and won’t feel obligated to follow it because, up until now, you’ve treated everything as “optional.”
One Little Thing Advisors Do To Tank Onboarding

Instead of jumping to accommodate your prospect’s whims, you need to step back, take a breath, remember your processes and prospect onboarding strategies, and remember that these processes take time.

But Matthew, I don’t have the revenue you have. I have bills to pay and a family to feed. I need these clients now! I can’t wait four or five weeks to bring these people on.

It’s understandable to feel this way when you first start. I’ve been there too, and I’ve found that I needed to change my mindset to ditch my desperation for clients so I could begin to win them.

Advisors who think they need to make exceptions to their processes to get clients immediately come from a scarcity mindset; they’ve become victims inside their own heads and fail to see the value they provide—and that value is worth the wait.

There are very few true emergencies in financial advising. Nine times out of ten, you can get yourself out of any urgent situation by relying on your processes and systems. If you stay calm and follow your process of success, you’ll be amazed by what happens.

Why does this work?

The processes you have established in your practice are non-negotiable, repeatable systems of success. These practices in your office remind you and your entire staff that if we follow the checklist, we won’t miss anything; when we stick to the systems, we know all of our bases are covered, and nothing will fall through the cracks.

If a prospect doesn’t want to play your game by your rules, then they aren’t a good fit for you, and no fee they pay you will ever be worth the hassle of their constant pushbacks.

Regardless of their income level, professional advisors will always remind pushy clients “that this is how I do my best work. I insist only on doing my best work, and I cannot rush your retirement.”

If you want to build a successful career as a financial advisor, you need to have the same attitude about every process in your practice—even the seemingly insignificant ones.


Action Items

Does your onboarding process live in your head? If you haven’t carved it into the wall of your office, you don’t actually have a process—it’s just an idea.

Block out time this week to create a one-page onboarding process that details how your prospect will move through your stages of financial planning.

If you’re unsure what your process should entail, register right now for our Client Onboarding Power Session on Wednesday, October 12, 2022, at 9 AM PST.


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