It’s safe to say that most financial advisors want to do their job to the best of their ability. That means having the necessary information to do so.
In a financial advising career, everything starts and ends with data. And not just any data, but quality data.
So, how can you ensure you’re capturing quality data?
Well, your clients have to be willing to openly share that with you. And while gathering the necessary client data is a crucial piece to the planning puzzle, it often ends up being unnecessarily difficult.
Data and the collection of data as a financial advisor is no small task. Here we will cover how you can best collect client information and data, how that data serves you and the client, and tips for getting what you need to do your job the first time around.
How Do Financial Advisors Collect Client Data and Information More Seamlessly?
Data breaches have increased significantly over the last few years. According to Comparitech, since January 2018, financial companies have suffered nearly a thousand data breaches, affecting over 153.3 million records.
That can be a scary reality for consumers and their finances.
But it’s an even scarier one for the prospective client you just asked to complete a fact finder that would have them disclose every aspect of their financial world…
#1 Building The Relationship
Building relationships is at the core of a career in financial advising and that’s no different for its role in data collection.
The beauty of being a financial advisor is you are likely to have the perspective, or can at the very least understand, a client’s possible mindset during this process.
Take the above statistics into consideration. Knowing this information, it’s easy to understand that there is an immense amount of trust required for your prospective client to feel comfortable providing you with the types of information you’ll need to request to help them. There are two ways to gain that trust:
- It already exists (you may just give off a ‘you can trust me’ vibe…)
- It’s earned (typically through showing you’re deserving of it)
Now, we’re not saying you’re not trustworthy, but it’s likely the latter for most clients.
Starting with a consultative financial planning approach that prioritizes a process over products helps build the foundation for trust to exist. As an example, addressing topics that have a significant impact on your client’s financial well-being, but that generally result in little to no compensation for you like:
- An umbrella policy
- General savings and budgeting
- Wills and Trusts
Wait, why would you discuss matters that you’re not being compensated for?
Because being someone’s one trusted advisor means fully assessing where they are today in order to best plan for tomorrow and beyond. And that starts with putting their needs above your own motivations.
If you don’t want to spend time talking about areas important to your client simply because you’re not technically compensated for it, Consolidated Planning might not be the best fit for your career.
With many feelings, emotions, and responses throughout the financial planning process, it’s essential you put yourself in your client’s shoes when asking for sensitive data that they are trying to protect.
Building trust can help break down the barrier of hesitancy.
#2 Knowing What Information To Ask For
Having a foundation built on trust means nothing if you don’t know what to ask your client for.
Your unique abilities as a financial advisor are based around strong communication skills and conveying complex information in a simple way. You can leverage that here in a few ways
- Share how the data and information you need will be used
- Help your client understand how it’s beneficial towards achieving their goals
- Never ask your client a question they can’t answer
Some of the information you need from your clients may include:
- Date of birth
- Child’s name
- Child’s date of birth
- Spousal information
- Bank accounts
- Credit card statements
- 401k statements
- Mortgage statement
There’s also the more qualitative data you’ll need to gather like what your client’s goals are for the future and over what timeframe.
And depending on what planning looks like at your firm and your client’s goals, it’s possible you’ll require more data.
Think of each piece of data as a piece to a puzzle – they all fit together, and they are all necessary to do your job and do your job right.
#3 Setting Expectations
Expectations are all around us. And they are necessary to keep you and your client on track. Setting those expectations for your client can help you deliver an exceptional customer experience.
When we talk about expectations here, we are referring to timelines and deadlines.
Ah yes, deadlines.
When you fail to set clear expectations or deadlines, people will always interpret their own. Like that time you asked your child to clean their room and they thought they had till the end of the week, but you meant right this moment. We’ve all been there…
If you don’t give your client a timeline, a realistic one of course, you might be waiting two months for them to complete a questionnaire that only takes five minutes. This holds up everything you’re working on together and delays you in moving through the planning process.
Every facet of the planning process requires data. You can’t take the next step without data. This is true for almost every scenario:
- Client paperwork: data
- Client website: data
- Recommendations: data
- Coverage: data
Every piece of data helps you better understand where your client is so you can better tell them where they are going. Data (quality, accurate, and complete) helps maximize all areas of financial wellness.
Improve Your Data Collection In Your Financial Advising Career
Maybe you weren’t sure how essential data is for your career or maybe you’ve been wondering why your clients seem so hesitant here.
To better improve your data collection process you need to ensure:
- You’re building trust
- You’re adequately explaining what information you need and how it will be used
- You’re setting realistic timelines for receiving the data
- You’re communicating these expectations up front
Building these client-advisor relationships and educating clients on the planning process, is what makes Consolidated Planning different from other firms. Yes, this process requires spending more time with a client but we believe being someone’s one trusted advisor makes all the difference in a more seamless process, data and all.
If you’re looking for the right mix of support and autonomy when it comes to certain facets of your financial advising career, it might be time to talk with a recruiter at Consolidated Planning.
2023-154229 Exp. 4/2025
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