By Corry Collins for Advisor News
The most important part of my financial services practice is the relationships I have with my clients and the ones I can build with prospects.
These relationships greatly rely on regular communication, up-to-date data and recall of key information – which exposes them to human failings.
Forgetting is a huge pitfall in our profession – sometimes advisors forget to follow up with their clients or forget a birthday. Sometimes clients forget to send in paperwork. Customer Relationship Managers (CRM) can be lifesavers for financial advisors when it comes to remembering.
In my practice, I use a 24/7 online CRM system known as Maximizer, which I sometimes refer to as “Max.” Max has helped me track prospects and sales, quicken communications and even go green and save money at the same time. Here are seven ways a CRM system can help you in your practice.
Imagine a life free of hangnails from filing and instant recall of any document you’ve ever had come through your door or inbox. A CRM can file every document you scan by client and document name, and make them retrievable at will.
I once calculated that if you paid someone $20.00/hour to file, retrieve files, and re-file for 1 hour a day, 5 days a week, for 50 weeks a year over a 35-year career, the cost would be $175,000.
If all your CRM did was save you that money, it would be worth it – but on top of everything else, it also helps the environment by reducing paper waste.
A CRM’s simplest function is keeping track of pertinent data on your clients: names, addresses, phone numbers, policies, etc. Beyond that, though, a CRM lets you remember the details that your relationships with clients actually depend on: coffee preferences, hobbies, their kids’ birthdays and even their dog’s name.
All of these fields are searchable, making these databases indispensable when your memory falls short. Recently, I needed to speak with an old client named Susan, but could not remember her last name.
I ran a search for all clients I had named Susan, 20 in total, and found her easily after my CRM provided her city and occupation with her name.
Email campaigns have become commonplace among advisors, and CRMs can help you automate them and maximize the information you collect from email recipients.
With a few clicks and our CRM, my office can send customized emails to anywhere from one to thousands of clients. For example, every month we send an email to all clients who have a disability policy option available in the coming month.
Individual names and option dates are auto-filled, and clients are asked to confirm their mailing addresses. This helps us connect regularly with news they need to see about their holistic financial plans and keep our own information up-to-date.
Writing letters to go with paperwork can be a cumbersome, time-consuming tasks. Our CRM allows us to pre-write stock letters with our practice’s letterhead to make this task quick and painless.
Similarly to the aforementioned email campaigns, we can insert places for our system to auto-insert clients’ names and addresses. When a certain letter must be sent to a client fairly often, we can assign the stock version to that client in our database, as well.
Like most others, the calendar embedded in our CRM helps keep my days straight. The real beauty of it is that I can pre-date events, even years out, by client to help me remember goals, deadlines and planning benchmarks.
When a client says their mortgage will be paid off in 18 months, I can add an event 17 months out so I remember to call them and ask if they’re still on track. This becomes even more impressive when I can call clients to remind them of goals they set even six or seven years ago.
Our CRM’s “cases open” feature keeps track of all cases that are open or complete with potential, and marks down any products and follow-up dates tied to a client.
This way, nothing ever falls through the cracks, and you can manage by company, product, potential, and even premium. This will help you know at all times how much potential business is floating around.
The final of these seven benefits is sales tracking. Every sale made is entered as such and then reclassified as it moves through the system. Additionally, the policy type, company, amount, paramedical reference, and even the date the application left the office is recorded in a different field.
All notes ever made on a policy are saved and stored, so anyone in the office can look and see where a policy is by date, company or status. Eventually, the sale file is moved directly into the client’s file for reference.
Having a CRM will help keep your business running smoother and more successfully, all while saving you and your clients time and money. As other industries move forward with adapting or fine-tuning this technology, and as consumers come to expect the level of detail CRMs provide, it is on us to shift with the times and meet new client expectations.
About the Author
Corry Collins, CLU, CHFC, is a partner of Maritime Wealth with 34 years of financial planning and work with life, disability and critical illness insurance under his belt. He is an 18-year member of MDRT with Lifetime and Honor Roll Distinctions, and has spoken on living benefits and financial advice in 10 countries. Corry lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.