AdvicePay Financial Advisor Community Blog

Building a Repeatable Client Onboarding Process

November 02, 2021 By Lana Dalton
Lana Dalton

As you are starting to get your financial planning practice up and running, creating consistent workflows for business processes will be one of your top priorities. 

When your business starts to grow and you add more staff and advisors, the number of tasks and people involved to coordinate becomes greater. Having repeatable processes is therefore essential to expanding your business!

In this post, we’ll dive into how you can create streamlined onboarding processes to enhance your clients’ first impression in working with your practice.

Creating a Client Onboarding Process

A CRM system specifically designed for a financial advisor is one of the first pieces of technology you’ll want to be sure you have in your toolbox. 

For most of the events, meeting and email templates, and workflows that we will discuss in this blog post, you have the ability to automatically create and assign applicable tasks to the appropriate team member at your firm.  Furthermore, having a CRM can facilitate scheduling appointments, automated reminders, and email templates. 

If you are already an AdvicePay user, we do have several CRM integrations, including Redtail, Salesforce, and Wealthbox - you can dive more into these integrations here! 

Once you’ve spent effort attracting your prospective client, it is time to present them with some kind of onboarding visual, brochure, or introductory packet to outline what the client can expect during the first few weeks of working with you. 

You have the option to include stipulations, such as how your firm expects the client to be honest and ask questions if they are unclear or uncomfortable with the firm’s recommendations. An onboarding checklist can ensure that your client is aware of their expectations, let them know who exactly they will be working with, and hold you both accountable for specific deliverables throughout the relationship. 


Step 1:

In your prepared onboarding checklist, you’ll want to be sure to schedule a discovery call with your new client. This call is an opportunity to review your client’s needs, goals, and gives you a chance to align on desired outcomes. 

Additionally, this gives you a chance to share information about how your firm operates and your own philosophies, ensuring that your client is a good fit for your practice! You can also decide on preferred communication styles and send out a client questionnaire.


Step 2 :

Next up, you will begin the information gathering stage. Collecting documents related to your client’s financial history will allow you to determine the scope of work for the project. 

This is a chance for your clients to get organized and prepare the appropriate financial statements and personal documents that will serve as the basis for a personalized financial plan. The more information your client provides, such as budgets, mortgage statements, outstanding debt, and tax returns, the better snapshot you’ll have to understand their financial situation. 


Step 3: 

This is also the time to introduce your services calendar, a tool that we highly recommend building out before engaging with a client. This calendar allows you to outline your explanation of fees and define your services clearly. 

You can find details on how to get started with one in another one of our blog posts! - Building a Client Services Calendar. 


Step 4 :

From here, you can schedule your first meeting with your new client and send a meeting agenda ahead of time. Your initial meetings with new clients will likely include discussing financial objections, assessing risk tolerances, reviewing assets and liabilities, answering questions, etc. 

Once your meeting is confirmed, you’ll be sure to send your client the meeting agenda and logistical information, such as directions to your office and the estimated duration of the meeting. 

As you become more experienced with developing your onboarding process, you’ll discover topics that you’ll want to cover during this initial meeting and be able to update your meeting agenda template accordingly. 


Step 5:

As a special touch after your initial meeting, you can send a personalized thank you message or welcome gift. 

Writing a customized thank you will show your client that you are willing to go the extra mile and look forward to working with them. This gesture is also an opportunity to recap any important notes or follow-up information from your meeting that was discussed. 

These steps will set you and your client up for a successful working relationship. You can modify these to best suit your practice. As you start to grow and scale your business, you can create a fixed agenda but have the ability to insert flexibility to avoid too much customization per client. 

In addition to keeping you organized, these types of processes come with a multitude of positive outcomes - you’re able to run your practice proactively, build trust, and increase referrals from clients. It’s a win-win-win!


Posted by Lana Dalton

Lana is a Happiness Champion (aka Relationship Manager) at AdvicePay and loves helping enterprise users implement and optimize the AdvicePay platform. After graduating from the University of Washington in Seattle, Lana spent the past three years working in the tech industry, helping organizations implement software, create training content, and establish onboarding processes. When she’s not helping our enterprise users, you can find Lana trail running, backcountry skiing, and cooking different types of cuisine.

Topics: Fee-For-Service, Client Relationships