In the recently-published software tools survey, many advisors complained about the time spent keystroking client data into their various software programs. A few said they had found a solution in the form of PreciseFP.
Consider the challenges that Peter Krull, at Minerva Planning Group in Asheville, NC, faced when he switched the custody of 170 households to Trust Company of America. “All of a sudden, efficient data management became a top priority,” he says. “We had to make sure we had the most recent contact information, plus Trust Company of America requires drivers license numbers, so we had to find a way to get them as well.”
The solution: the firm sent out a request that clients click on a button on Minerva’s website, taking them to a customized questionnaire that asked either to confirm or provide the required data. New data, once entered, automatically populated the fields in the company’s Redtail CRM.
“The vast majority were perfectly fine with entering everything,” Krull reports. “A few did not want to enter their Social Security number, and a few only wanted to give their drivers license number over the phone, but other than that, even the somewhat older clients used it without any issues.”
Today, all new Minerva clients are asked, before they come into the office, to fill out a new client intake form, which asks for the basic information that is needed to create client records in Redtail and eMoney. “Anywhere where we don’t have to be manually entering stuff in the computer, or manually writing stuff down on forms, even if it just saves us five or ten minutes a day, that’s extra time we can focus on productivity somewhere else,” says Krull.
He’s also asking new clients to fill out a sister program, called Financial Identities (https://precisefp.com/financial-identities/; co-developed with the publisher of this newsletter), which provides an interactive self-evaluation about a variety of financial hot button issues. “It tells me exactly how I need to approach a prospect meeting,” says Krull. “What are the key words that I can use, what are the hot points with the person—and I’ll say, okay, here is what we offer, and it would be based on what I read about them in the report.”
Meanwhile, curious prospects, checking out Minerva, can use the self-assessment quiz to learn more about their relationship with money. “We get at least one or two per week now,” says Krull. So far, we’ve had a few people who have called in, but the larger percentage is people taking it for fun. We’ll get the report, it will go into our Prospect queue, and we’ll start reaching out to them from there.”
Sloan Walters, of Blakely Walters Wealth Management in Tempe, AZ, faces a different challenge. “My business partner and I, and now five other advisors, work in the 401(k) space providing financial education through workshops and custom-tailored financial wellness programs,” he says.
Working with employees of local companies is a high-volume challenge. “We’re constantly trying to figure out how we can serve a lot of people effectively without neglecting our top clients,” says Walters. “Let’s just say we have lots of appointments.”
Because the firm can’t afford to sit down and manage data intake in a one-on-one sit-down meeting, Blakely Walters has been using PreciseFP to gather the basic information from company employees before a customized meeting. “A client calls in, they ask for an appointment, they go into our scheduling system, our admin team fires off the PreciseFP link, and then that information gets submitted into Redtail, and sometimes the Redtail information goes into eMoney if they want a financial plan,” says Walters. “We also utilize LaserApp, so we have the data to fill out all our LaserApp documents.”
The online data gathering capability, using customized forms, makes it possible for Blakely Walters advisors to prepare for an appointment before the employee enters the office. “It was extremely important that when people come into our office, we have the ability to prepare before the meeting,” says Walters, “and our advisors really do spend anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour going over each client’s fact-finder before they ever come into the office.”
He adds that since the firm has been using PreciseFP, the number of ‘not-in-good-order’ returns has dropped significantly. “Unless the client mis-typed it,” he says, “most of that information is very accurate.”
Chris Cosenza, who practices in Brookhaven, GA, doesn’t face unusual data management challenges; he just doesn’t like redundant keystroking. “The biggest time-waste in any practice is data gathering, and the second-biggest is data entry,” he says.
He has clients go to PreciseFP and fill out customized forms that put name, address and other relevant contact information into Redtail, MoneyGuidePro and Morningstar Workstation.
Some of the customized data also synchronizes into a proprietary piece of software from an external vendor. “I work with a TPA out in California that has a great calculator that shares with people how much money they have to put away and save for retirement,” says Cosenza. “When people to fill out the information, I plug into that calculator, and send them the report.”
Cosenza also sends a renewal form every year through PreciseFP, with everything from contact information to beneficiary designations, basically saying: this is the information we have for you. Can you please check to see if there’s anything that needs to be updated? He’s currently customizing a different form so he’ll be able to send out an annual client survey through PreciseFP.
Skip Fleming, of Lodestar Financial Planning in Colorado Springs, CO, sends a PreciseFP intake form to all new clients, and gets the information synched into his software stack. “The program aligns with my philosophy of ‘Enter Once/Read Many,’” he says.
He, too, has adopted Financial Identities. “I send the link to all prospective clients before we meet,” says Fleming. “I find that I’m better prepared for an initial meeting, because I can ask better questions after reviewing their FI profile,” he adds. “This speeds up the trust building and lets me see and understand the differences between husband and wife. So far, everybody appreciates the feedback provided by the profile. I let them all know that whether they choose to work with me or not, the profile gives them something of value.”