Keeping clients engaged when you’re presenting an important, data-heavy analysis can be a challenge. For many investors, the numbers, complex illustrations and jargon can be intimidating. And yet, these conversations are important—both from a regulatory and a relationship-building point of view. So, what can you do to make the conversation productive?
Here are three ideas to help make your next asset allocation proposal presentation more successful. Yes—there are ways to make pages and pages of diversification, efficient frontiers and monte carlo simulations the beginning of a fruitful discussion!
- Make sure the proposal reflects your client’s goals and preferences. Incorporating their relevant information will lead to an obviously more relevant analysis, but a richer one as well. The proposal should reflect back to your client your understanding of their investment situation—their investment goals, savings goals, tax rates, unique circumstances and preferences. And, by gathering more complete information up front, less chance for multiple iterations of the analysis.
- Don’t get lost in the jargon. The investment management industry loves jargon and end investor proposals are not immune from it. Mean variance, monte carlo, standard deviation, efficient frontier, etc. But what do most clients care about? Whether they will have enough money to fund their retirement, their kids’ college education, the vacation home, leaving a bequeath. Focus on that. If your proposal includes monte carlo wealth simulations, use them to show potential outcomes. Help your clients understand how their wealth might grow and how that may impact their goals under various investment scenarios. Illustrations in dollar terms are much more personable than return illustrations.
- Tailor your discussion to their communication style. In presenting your analysis, you’ll of course want to cover what the information shows, and why it matters. But each client absorbs information differently, so you should consider adapting your approach accordingly. For instance:
- For results-oriented clients, consider focusing the discussion on the probability of meeting their goals.
- For family- and community-minded clients, consider weaving a narrative around how the attainment of their goals may impact those people and causes they care about.
- For data-driven clients, confirm that your report inputs and outputs accurately reflect your client’s situation and aspirations.
The bottom line
Each client’s investment situation is different—and I would argue, so should each proposal presentation you give. Tailoring your analysis and discussion with the client can lead to a more engaging conversation, resulting in a better plan for them and a better platform for you to compete for their business.