Our firm began the transition to becoming a fee-based comprehensive planning firm about 8 years ago, and the journey has been fascinating and challenging. While I’ve been in the financial services industry for 30 years now, with 14 of them in personal production, I had never charged a fee for preparing a business or personal plan. This transition was a new road for me personally, and certainly for our firm, Capital Financial Group. The journey has lead us to become the #1 planning firm in the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) system, but the success didn’t come without growing pains. We had to not only build the best team of planners, but re-train advisors on the methods, rules, and benefits of fee-based planning. I am often asked, “How does fee-based planning made a difference?”, and I finally got the chance to stop and think about it.
- It Changes the Conversation with the Prospect
We strive to provide valuable comprehensive advice to our clients. Fee-based planning allows us to have conversations with clients about their financial life from a 30,000 foot perspective, instead of having tunnel vision. Our process is one that few firms have the ability to do well and it allows us to positively change the conversation with the prospect.
- It Allows Us to Get All the Facts and Data
Using this approach, we have a responsibility to look at everything relevant in their current financial picture, and all of the things that will affect their future. This can, at first, be an intimidating process for the client, but it is extremely beneficial. For most clients it is the first time in their lives that someone is able to get the entire picture. Following this step diligently has made us an even better firm, and helped ensure we are client focused throughout the process.
- The Fee-Based Advisors are More Referable
Our Planners share with us that when they complete the Phase 1 Implementation of any plan, that the client(s) actually want to refer them to others when they see the benefit of having a plan, often for the first time in their lives. This becomes so powerful in today’s busy society when a client wants to help you grow you practice, because they see so much benefit of the process, and the peace of mind it brings to them.
Choosing to push past the challenges that were presented, along with beginning to start charging a fee for plans wasn’t easy, but it has been very beneficial. Becoming a premier planning firm that charges a fee has proven to make us unique in the Nashville market, and has truly improved our firm.
R. Timothy Sinks, CLU, ChFC
R. Timothy Sinks is a registered principal and offers Securities, Investment Advisory and Financial Planning Services through MML Investors Services, LLC, Member SIPC, 12 Cadillac Drive, Suite 440, Brentwood, TN 37027 (615) 309-6300. CRN201809-205449