35 – Communicating with your clients

Do this regularly and generously.

At a minimum, you should have a decent website. Clients like websites. Spend some time looking the sites of other financial advisers and other professional service firms. See what the best financial planning websites are like. Pinch the best ideas and make them better.

Content is king. Make sure the casual reader picks up your philosophy and attitude on first contact. The home page should tell your story and what you can do to create value for your client.

You do not have to create all the content yourself. You can just link it in, take your clients to good sources of information and share it with them.

A good example is Trish Power’s www.superguide.com.au website. It’s the best SMSF website around. And it has a free client newsletter: Subscribe here. Link www.superguide.com.au and others like it to your own site and encourage your clients to subscribe to it.

There is no point reinventing wheels. Your clients don’t expect you to, and will appreciate your professionalism in sharing value creating resources. The more information you can provide your clients the more they will use your services.

Newsletters can also be useful. That said, we would caution against going ‘too far’ in terms of layout and design. A simple email format, like Dover uses for Friday Reflections, is often the best. Remember: you are an adviser. Content must be the key. If your computer skills, or someone in your office’s computer skills, are good enough, then by all means spend some time on presentation. But not too much. And if your skills are not great, keep it especially simple.

Nothing looks worse than an amateurish attempt at professional graphic design.

Similarly, if your writing skills are not solid, make a lot of use of other people’s writing. There are usually good articles that can be linked in to client communications. These might be articles in the media, or articles from static sources such as the Dover Way.

Remember: as long as you attribute the real author, you can quote as much as you like. Here is an example:

Superannuation Guarantee

This is what Trish Power has to say about superannuation guarantees:

Your employer must contribute money to your member account in a super fund on your behalf. This obligation is imposed on employers under the superannuation guarantee (SG) laws. Compulsory employer contributions are often called SG contributions, and the current SG rate is 9.5%. The SG contributions count towards your concessional contributions cap.”

Trish will be more than happy to see that you are repeating her words with full attribution and a link to her website. That is, after all, how she makes her money.

Even better, use articles from Dover’s website. Here is how one adviser does it:

XXX  is an authorised representative of Dover Financial Advisers Pty Ltd. The following articles are taken from the Dover website. The articles are primarily written for professional financial advisers, but the concepts can be very useful for all people. 

THE FAMILY HOME

The family home is the cornerstone of most people’s financial profile. Despite this, few financial advisers are prepared to talk to clients about how they can afford a home, or afford more home. These articles discuss various elements of owning a family home. They are recommended reading for any person interested in optimising their financial situation. 

How have homes performed as investments

Choosing the family home. 

Retirement and the family home. 

Intergenerational financial planning and the family home. 

Gender equity and the family home. 

How to manage debt

This adviser has created seven pages of website content, but has only written 98 words himself.

This ‘50-Up’ is all about pricing. In the context of communication with your clients, make sure you explain your pricing model to your clients, and prospective clients. Be honest about why you have chosen it – clients and potential clients should not begrudge you earning a living. (If they do, you want new clients anyway). Use various media. Your website is a good place to start.

The Dover Group