I have heard a lot about having a client advisory board or a council of some sort, but I have remained unconvinced of the reasons to do so. Can you provide me with any guidance around the successes of these and how to go about setting one up?
Greg, New Jersey
We have seen great success from advisors that we have helped launch client advisory boards. For one, they immediately get some of their top clients engaged deeper in their firm – which always translates into a stronger relationship and ultimately new business in the form of referrals. As you think about whom to invite to participate in your client advisory board, I would urge you to think about factors aside from just your largest clients. Think of your clients that are connected in social circles or networks that may have good prospects for you, think about clients that you really do admire for their business acumen or successes in their own business life, and lastly, consider clients you think would be willing to really help you. I suggest limiting the group to 10 or less and also invite either an estate planner or a CPA to participate on your board.
Once you have your list, pick up the phone and ask them to participate. A simple script might be “Bob, you are someone who I admire and trust and I am launching a client advisory board that I’d like you to participate in.” You can go on to outline the time commitment that it will require (best practice: 2 meetings a year and maybe a phone call or two in between) and how you used a selection process to identify the clients you think would be appropriate for the board. Likely, he or she will feel honored you asked.
In summary, even the greatest skeptics have been proven wrong when it comes to advisory boards. They have seen great results and ideas come out of these meetings. I strongly encourage you to launch one.