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Creating an Exceptional New Client Onboarding Checklist

By ClientWise | February 5, 2014

Within the panorama of the client lifecycle, client onboarding provides the first impression of the depth and breadth of a financial advisor’s level of service. Winning new clients and retaining existing clients can be challenging in the best of times. However, providing a differentiated client service experience can be the key to the advisor’s ability to survive and thrive in all environments and markets.

We have observed three important benefits from a distinctive and distinguishing client onboarding experience:

Onboarding is an opportunity to collect valuable information about the client in order to set the stage for a long and mutually beneficial relationship.

At the same time, client onboarding enables the advisor to identify and invest in the higher-value client relationships, while simultaneously managing the expectations of clients deemed to be “lower-value.

Research has shown that one of the most opportune periods to engage clients for new client introductions and referrals is within the first six months. Generally, enthusiastically satisfied clients are more likely to enthusiastically provide quality introductions.

Building the Client Onboarding Checklist

One effective practice that we’ve seen in building the checklist is to “chunk out” the touch-dates within the client onboarding cycle, the length of time of the entire client onboarding cycle, as well as identifying what needs to happen on/around each of these dates.

Here’s an example of a partial checklist:

I. Pre-meeting email

  • Welcome cover letter

  • Initial meeting agenda

  • Directions to office and a map with parking information

II. Initial Meeting

  • Alert receptionist to expected guest(s)

  • Reception area and meeting room cleaned and client-friendly

  • Agenda finalized, with input from client 

  • Offer performance review for aggregated accounts

  • Schedule on-line account access training session

III. Immediate Post-Meeting

  • Send handwritten thank-you note(s)

  • Write-up meeting notes for team

  • Household accounts, and link to other relationships

IV. One Week Later

  • “How’s it going?” call to touch base, and report on progress of account consolidations

  • Mail introduction letter to other trusted advisors

  • Follow-up email to client regarding information requested at initial meeting

 V. Four Weeks Later

  • Client Onboarding Survey sent

  • Review account statements

  • Get client okay for e-delivery of prospectus and/or account statements

VI. Six Months Later

  • Face-to-face account review

  • Performance reporting

  • The “ClientWise Conversation”

VII. Twelve Months Later

  • One-year anniversary thank you card

  • Heritage and legacy planning review

  • Rebalance accounts

Again, this is only a representative (and partial) list. Most likely, you will have your own boxes that you’d like to check off…that are a function of your singular wealth management practice.

By building a new client onboarding checklist, you will be able to create a replicable and scalable client experience that will contribute to the growth of your practice even further.

We trust this helps.

9 Client Onboarding Strategies for Top-Performing Financial Advisors


Topics: Client Acquisition

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