What currently sets you apart from every other financial planner in Australia? If your answer is “probably not that much”, it’s time you consider facilitating estate planning.
Most advisers have a centre of influence (such as an accountant) that they work with, referring clients back and forth but it’s hard to get that flow of referrals working in your favour and the quality of client is often not of the standard you are looking for.
What you need is a powerful reason for the accountant to refer not only more clients but a higher quality of client, those with higher incomes, higher net worth and more complex requirements. The kind of client that will value and pay for the advice that you can provide.
The next time you meet with your centre of influence, start the conversation with:
- According to the NSW Trustee and Guardian, over 45 per cent of Australians don’t have a valid will.
- Do you know how many of your clients don’t have a will, let alone a comprehensive estate plan in place?
- Often, it’s your best clients who do not have their affairs in order because they don’t know where to start and it all seems too hard and not that urgent.
- I specialise in facilitating the estate planning process for clients and can work with you to ensure that they actually do get their estate affairs in order.
- I would like you to ask the next 10 clients you meet with if they have considered their estate planning needs and have anything more than a simple will. If they don’t, I’d like you to set up a meeting for me.
- A great place to start would be with your own situation. I’d be happy to take you through the process so you can understand the value I can offer your clients.
Now you need a ‘knock out’ estate planning process to get things happening, and it should include the following steps:
- Gather client information efficiently such as personal details, assets & liabilities, trusts, companies, SMSF and extended family tree;
- Present this information back to the client visually so that you can show them their current situation and any glaring problems that need to be addressed. There are usually plenty;
- Discuss and explain issues such as powers of attorney (financial, medical, lifestyle), executors and guardians for minor children;
- Determine if any beneficiaries need special attention and any potential threats to the estate;
- Identify the client’s wishes for how their assets should be distributed and if there are concerns around asset protection and tax minimisation;
- Visually present various solutions they may like to consider to achieve their needs;
- Write up a report that outlines the clients’ situation and wishes; and
- Provide the client with various options to prepare legal documents, from face-to-face meetings with estate planning lawyers to online estate planning legal solutions.
If you think this looks like a lot of work, you may be surprised to learn that it can all be done in less than an hour with the right software solution.
Having impressed your centre of influence with this efficient, effective and engaging process, they will now begin to refer their better clients to you and the positive feedback from them will generate a steady stream of new clients to your business.
And if you offer comprehensive financial planning advice, you can also begin discussions about your new clients’ insurance, superannuation, investments and a variety of other solutions that you can offer to improve their circumstances.
Hans Egger is managing director and co-founder of Astute Wheel
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