3 Reasons Why Every Financial Advisor Needs a Client Advisory Board

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There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”

If you’re worried that I plan to present myself here as the wise old fish explaining what water is, please don’t be. I am not the wise old fish. The immediate point of the fish story is that the most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities are often the ones that are the hardest to see and talk about…

That is the beginning of a famous 2005 commencement speech by author David Foster Wallace. It illustrates a key part of any creative process: a fresh perspective on something familiar is always useful. If you’ve been looking at something for too long, it’s easy to lose sight of your goal.

The same can be said for financial advisors. Building a client advisory board is a great way to gauge the efficiency of your financial practice. Outside evaluations should be a regular part of your practice. Getting feedback from your clients is an excellent place to start. It’s also one of the most cost-effective means of improving your processes.

Here are three benefits a client advisory board brings to your financial practice:

1. Creating a Client Strategy

The first step in building a sound strategy is knowing your ideal client. This includes defining their chief traits, from communication preferences and services they want to how they prefer receiving your practice’s updates. Information like this is crucial, since it can help you determine if you should send a direct mail newsletter or an email. If it’s a newsletter, you can adapt and use the space more creatively. If it’s an email, then you know to take a more professional, concise approach.

client advisory board

Not only do your clients know your practice, but they also know your target market because they are your target market. Hearing from your clients’ real-time perspectives keeps you in touch with what potential clients want, need, and expect. Listen to your client advisory board and learn new approaches to your target audience!

2. Building Loyalty and Referrals Through Your Client Advisory Board

financial advisor clients

When deciding who to include in your client advisory board, focus on a diverse group of clients who are vocal participants in your practice. Active clients enjoy getting involved, and new ideas from an excited base will give you the most constructive perspectives. Productive, focused meetings will be an opportunity to show appreciation for their business and demonstrate that you value their opinions.

Additionally, when you provide a better customer experience, clients are more likely to share your info with family and friends. The fact that you involve your clients in your practice’s decision-making shows you have them in mind. This readily translates into customer loyalty and client referrals.

That said, a professional approach is the best. Remember, this isn’t a sales pitch — it’s a temperature check on how your business is doing. It’s ideal to hold your client advisory boards in private locations like a restaurant, where your board will feel comfortable and free to speak their minds. Doing well is enough of a pitch!

3. Making Plans for the Future

The main goal of a client advisory board is to generate feedback from clients on how to improve your financial practice. Advisory boards offer great insight into how well your practice meets the needs of those you work for. What keeps your clients awake at night? Perhaps there’s a new service your practice could offer or a new tool you could provide. Convening your client advisory board three to four times a year allows you to plan ahead and improve processes for the future.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask if something’s not working. Getting rid of an inefficient process can be better than attaching five new things to a broken process.

Now that you know why you should organize a client advisory board, you’ll need to know how to get started. Our House Rules on client advisory boards can tell you what to look for in your first meeting, while our Marketing Summit recap can tell you what practices you should ask about.


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Stephen Odom, CEO of The Impact Partnership


Chief Executive Officer

Stephen started in the insurance marketing business in 2001 as a new business consultant. In 2002 he was promoted to Director of Sales and built a 200 million book of business from scratch. By 2005, he was one of the top wholesalers in the country, working with some of the top financial advisors and insurance agents across the USA. In 2008, Stephen was promoted to Co-President of one of the largest IMOs in the country.

In 2011, Stephen continued his entrepreneurship path and co-founded The Impact Partnership, an INC 5000 company. Stephen is responsible for the strategic vision of Impact and is laser-focused on creating a culture of growth for both internal teammates and our amazing customers.

Stephen lives in Kennesaw, GA, with his wife of more than 20 years, Kendra. They are blessed with three beautiful children Katie, Tyler, Anna Brooke, and Laya, their German Shepherd and Luna, their BernieDoodle.