Financial advisors are involved in a very personal space. New clients must share sensitive information with someone they barely know and then trust them to make the financial decisions that will impact the rest of their lives. While every advisor wishes they could have clients signing on the dotted line after the first meeting, the reality is that it takes time and effort to build trust between an advisor and a prospective client.
Proposals are a key part of the process of building trust. At the core, they are written steps that a client should take and supporting information that builds a case for taking these steps. It provides a series of recommendations and justifies those recommendations with projections and other insights. Well-crafted proposals can help build up trust with a prospect by showing them that you have a well-thought-out plan ahead of a final meeting to close the deal.
In this article, we will look at why proposals are a key part of building trust and how to tell a compelling story that sets you apart from the competition.
Why Write Proposals?
Proposals are powerful tools for advisors to build trust with a prospect, demonstrate their value, and ultimately close deals. Oftentimes, advisors will send a proposal after a prior conversation or meeting that didn’t result in a concrete opportunity or go over it in a follow-up meeting. The goal is to provide the client with something at arm’s length that’s well-organized and easily compared with various other options and make the right decision.
In some cases, advisors may actually draft proposals during a meeting with the client. They may collect the necessary information, discuss each page to identify any concerns, and then provide the client with the proposal when they leave. That way, they have a summary of the meeting in their hands rather than having to go through new information without the benefit of having the advisor in the room to answer questions on the spot.
Both of these approaches demonstrate the importance of a proposal in providing the client with a series of recommendations and the case for following them. By effectively conveying this information, clients can become a lot more comfortable when signing on the dotted line during the closing meeting. Advisors can also address any issues that may arise and solve them before the final meeting to eliminate any potential objections.
Telling a Compelling Story
Proposals can be tricky to write in a way that is both informative and compelling: Some are too long or short while others are poorly written or too formal. The key to success is telling a compelling story that is clear, readable, and relatable for the client. In particular, they should illustrate why you are uniquely qualified to help the prospective client reach their financial goals with a specific, well-defined strategy.
At a minimum, they should include the following elements:
- Cover Page – The cover page should include your firm’s name and logo, your contact information, and shapes or images to make the proposal visually-appealing.
- Cover Letter – The cover letter should include personal information from conversations that you’ve had with the prospect in the past. For example, you might mention that they have two children in school and now’s a great time to review their financial goals.
- Strategy – The strategy outline should discuss your firm’s approach to onboarding new clients and how the strategy has helped other clients with similar goals in the past.
- Technical Info – No proposal is complete without the more technical items, such as asset owners, background and goals, asset allocation, target risk return, asset classes (passive vs. active), governance (roles and responsibilities), and more.
- Proposal – The proposal provides a clear path from where the prospect is now to where they want to be in the future. For example, you might include income projections and an idea of asset allocations and fees associated with your firm.
- About Us – The about us section should provide insight into your firm’s values, as well as biographies of the team members that will be working with the prospect.
- Next Steps – The next steps section provides a clear call to action for the prospect to move to the next stage of becoming a client, such as setting a meeting.
It’s also important to ensure that proposals are readable by limiting each page to a single topic, using charts to convey information, employing only one or two fonts, and avoiding the use of stock photos, if possible. Of course, it’s also a good idea to have at least one or two people proof-read the proposal to make sure that there aren’t any grammatical or spelling errors.
Sawtooth’s Proposal Tools
Our comprehensive UMA platform includes prospecting and proposal generation tools designed to help you reach new opportunities, gather information about prospective clients, and develop models to fit what those clients need.
When you first join Sawtooth, we’ll work with you to develop a proposal template that gathers the information you need, resonates with your clients, and demonstrates your value. Then when you’re ready to build a new proposal, you just select the client, pick which accounts to propose, and choose the desired investments. After that, the tool builds your proposal automatically to match your specifications.
You can plan, prospect, and propose with a click of a button.
Advisors can focus more on building relationships with prospective clients than spending time putting together lengthy proposals, while still retaining the level of personalization that clients expect to see. These win-win dynamics can help increase your outreach to new potential clients while freeing up time for higher value tasks and ultimately improving your bottom line.
Contact us today or call us at (952) 831-0039 to schedule a free demo and learn more about how we can help your firm grow.