When seeking new business for your firm, first impressions matter. And sometimes, that “first impression” can last three months.
According to InvestmentNews, it can take anywhere from two weeks to three months to onboard a client. This time period is arguably the most crucial time because it sets the tone for the entire relationship. You want your clients to feel welcomed, confident that they made the right decision, and trust your services. And if they have a positive onboarding experience, this increases the chances that they’ll stay a client for years to come.
To make your client onboarding process successful, here are some common mistakes to avoid:
1. Running your business by the seat of your pants.
When you don’t have a consistent, systemized onboarding process in place, it will cause your clients a lot of worry, stress, and uncertainty. If you worked with your clients at a prior company, and they know you’re still adjusting to your role at your new firm, they may be more understanding and lenient, but that won’t last forever. Not having a system in place will not only stress out your clients, but they might also be hesitant to refer you to others.
2. Not managing client expectations.
As Truelytics notes, consider onboarding to be an orientation. “Client onboarding is essential in setting expectations, clarifying any areas that may be fuzzy to the client, and laying out a communication plan.” You don’t want any surprises during the onboarding process.
3. Not having a CRM system in place.
Given how time-consuming and work-intensive it can be to onboard a client, you don’t want to reinvent the wheel each time. With a CRM system, you can make the onboarding process as repeatable and automated as possible, saving you hours and hours of work. CRM systems let you easily track client information, interactions, sales data, birthdays, and more.
4. Either customizing the process too much (which is time-consuming) or automating everything too much (which can be impersonal).
You need to find a balance between being efficient and being personal. Think of some things you can customize for each client that show you care. As Vanessa Oligino of TD Ameritrade Institutional notes in InvestmentNews, “For example, around the holidays vendors give me chocolate all the time, and I don’t eat chocolate. That tells me they don’t know me very well.”
5. Putting the relationship on autopilot once the accounts are funded.
Just because you’ve reached the end of the onboarding process, that doesn’t mean you should go on autopilot. After onboarding is over, why not survey your clients to see how things are going? This invaluable feedback could show you any blind spots you had during the onboarding process, strengthen your client relationships, and smooth out the process for future clients.
Provide the Best Client Experience with the Help of Equita
Your client onboarding process can make or break your business. An efficient, streamlined process creates more trust, gratitude, retention, and peace of mind not only with your clients, but also within your team. As Kitces’ blog notes, “Processes help when a team member leaves and you need to reallocate tasks to other members of your team, when you need to add a replacement team member, or when you grow your total team and need to adjust the flow of who does what. Processes act like an operations manual.”
So, today, take inventory of the processes you have in place. What do you need to do to create the best experience for prospective clients?
If you’d like to improve your firm’s client onboarding process, reach out to Equita Financial Network today for tools and resources.