Tips for Conducting Time Efficient Financial Life Planning Meetings

Time is a valuable commodity for both you and your clients.  Therefore, it is important to keep your M.Q. Financial Life Planning process focused and efficient.  This will help your clients stay engaged, assist you in accomplishing your meeting goals, and make your client conversations effective and meaningful.  A little bit of preparation goes a long way!  Here are some tips to help you manage and guide your Financial Life Planning client conversations:

PRACTICE MANAGEMENT IDEAS

Agenda – Provide the client an agenda outlining clear time frames for each topic that will be discussed during the meeting.  Be sure to leave space on the agenda and allow additional time for any specific issues or concerns the client would like to discuss.  Having a clear idea of the time allotted to discuss each topic area will help the client self-monitor and avoid getting off track.

Visible Clock – Place a clock in your office that can easily be seen by both you and your clients at all times during the meeting.  Make sure the numbers on the clock are large and clearly visible.  Prior to beginning the discussion around each agenda topic, state the approximate time frame available for the discussion and look toward the clock to note the current time.  Being aware of the clock and approximate time frame for each discussion topic will help the client focus on their priorities.

Parking Lot – Prior to beginning the first meeting with a new client, explain that you aim to provide space and time in each meeting to discuss any issues or concerns they have, but time may sometimes be a limiting factor.  For this reason, you keep a “Parking Lot” or a place in your notes to document any topics or issues that need to be reserved for future meetings.  This will allow you to adhere to the main focus of the meeting, but will also communicate to the client that their issues and concerns are important to you and will be addressed.

NAVIGATING THE CONVERSATION WITH M.Q. TOOLS

Client Led Discussion – When beginning the discussion around a completed tool, ask an open-ended question about their overall experience with the tool.  This will allow the client to express their insights and their main priorities.  Often clients will immediately jump to the areas that are of most concern, highest priority, or the most energizing and motivating.  Ask questions such as:

  • How was this tool for you?
  • What was your experience like completing this tool?
  • Were there any surprises or insights you gained from this tool?
  • Was this tool helpful to you?  How?
  • What stood out to you most about your answers to this tool?

Broad Questions – Rather than discussing each line item on a tool, ask broader questions about whole sections, allowing the client to communicate which areas they are most interested or most concerned about.  This will allow you to focus your discussion on the high priority topics and reserve the areas of less importance for a later meeting.  Here are some examples:

  • It’s great to see you have several areas marked at a high level of satisfaction,….

….tell me more about these areas.

….what has contributed to your success in these areas?

….which of these areas is most important to you?

  • Of all the nine facets of life,…

….which facets are of highest priority for you now?

….which facet or facets are you excited to focus on?

….which facet or facets are you most concerned about?

Editor’s Note: These tips can be found in the “Time Management Tactics” document, which is part of the Practice Management Resources (PMR) Library and is available to Licensing Levels 2-4. To access the PMR Library, login to your account on the M.Q. website, navigate to “M.Q. Resources,” and then “Practice Management Resources Library.” For information about becoming an M.Q. Licensee, please email info@moneyquotient.org.

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