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Why do I need Meridian?

Take notes as your client’s share valued insights. What they’re sharing is what you need, and will need down the road, to
know what to recommend. Knowing…. tracking……recalling this shared info is critical as you build their
trust. Not in some scanned pdfs from meetings past, filed away, that you can’t find quickly.
At the touch of a finger.

Doesn’t my CRM already provide this?

For 25 years in my practice, I’ve tried…..but CRM's are just not built for this. Calendars, assigning tasks, noting a money transfer request, capturing the date a letter was mailed......sure. But what the client received as a federal tax refund last year and what you proposed be done, not so much. That their oldest son is a spendthrift and they don’t trust him with their money......nope. What attorney prepared their estate planning documents and when they were last reviewed.....nope. That you discussed a Roth conversion but agreed to wait three years until retirement to proceed.....No.
These are your notes. The private information your clients share. Your strategies and how they responded to them. Meridian is for you and only you.

How will this protect my practice?

You just got a call that one of your valued clients of 15 years is needing care in a facility. Their kids ask if they have insurance to cover this and they don't. Did you propose it? Did they apply and get rejected by underwriting? Did they say it was too expensive? Can you prove any of this? Would it be good to have time stamped notes showing what was proposed, what was discussed, and what was decided? I think so. How about the widow that is running out of money. Did you suggest that her husband purchase additional life insurance coverage, while he was still employed, so that there would still be coverage after his group term went away at retirement? Can you prove it? Would it be good to have time stamped notes showing what was proposed, what was discussed, and what was decided? I think so. Meridian can protect you. Protect your practice. Protect your future.

Can I integrate this with my CRM?

Yes. Any entries in your CRM that can be exported to a CSV file can be uploaded to Meridian. I personally only uploaded name and birthdate to my Meridian dashboard. I didn’t have specific entries in my CRM that I could export. I started with name and birthdate and have added to it every meeting since.

Will my compliance department approve using this?

Security as well as "Books and Records". That’s what matters, right? Meridian exceeds industry standards for security and no one other than you, or those you approve, will have access to the information you add to your Meridian dashboard. The server is hosted securely by Liquid Web on a Cloud server. The data is transmitted securely over SHA 256 SSL certificate. Since these are notes from a client meeting, they qualify as books and records. Just like hand written notes, they need to be uploaded for compliance. Meridian makes this process very easy. Compliance departments seem pleased that notes are time stamped which improves protection for your practice.

How do I integrate this into my meetings?

Once you download the app onto your ipad/tablet you can "add a new client", then start a "new meeting" (both on the left side pop out window) and you’re ready to go. (Over time, you can add or delete strategies, and reorder existing strategies to make the dashboard your own (using the “edit” feature on the right side pop out menu). When you make changes to any client file, the change carries through to all clients.) As you proceed though your meeting, takes your notes in Meridian. If a note pertains to one area of financial planning, add the note to that tab. If it's general information, then add it to the home tab. During your meeting, refer back to your strategies. Is there something this client should consider? Is there an idea that might make sense for them? Is there anything that was discussed previsouly that should be revisited? After the meeting, with Meridian in front of you, you might dictate your follow up letter and then create tasks in your CRM for your staff and yourself. Once finished with adding any notes, lock the meeting to create the time stamp. You can then print the meeting notes to a pdf and upload to your b/d for books and records. You're ready for your next client meeting.

Do I really need more “tech”?

I wish we didn’t. I already have my CRM, my financial planning program, and my trading platform. If any one of those allowed me to take detailed notes, prompted me with my favorite strategies in all six areas of financial planning, and had a place to note what was decided on each….then Meridian would never have been created. Does any of your current technology allow you to be in control of your information? Your personal information about what you discuss with your clients. The critical personal information that they share with you that helps you advise them well. This is what Meridian allows you to capture and forever have at the touch of a fingertip.

I say I do, but I don’t really do comprehensive, holistic planning. How can I get started?

Join the club. I was in the same boat. I called myself a financial planner but I really was an investment rep with some solid generalized advice on the side. That all changed when I decided that all my clients needed a plan and I started using a legit planning program. Here’s my recommendation of how to proceed: 1. Purchase a financial planning program that will provide net worth summaries and tracking, retirement projections, and life insurance needs analysis, at a minimum. 2. As you meet with each of your clients, let your clients know that you are adding this to your practice. Decide whether you will charge an additional fee for this or possibly waive the fee for existing clients. 3. Schedule a data gathering for a week later and ask your clients to bring back a completed data gathering booklet. Your financial planning software may provide this. 4. During that data gathering meeting, and the following plan review meeting, go over the information your clients provide and also show them how you’ve entered it into their financial plan. If they understand and agree with what was entered, they are more likely to believe what the projections are showing them…..whether they are on track for their goals or not. 5. Prepare a written summary that addresses all six areas of financial planning. As you build your recommendations, use Meridian to remind you of your favorite strategies. At the Implementation meeting, go over each recommendation. Take notes in Meridian of what your client shares, including each recommendation you made and how they responded. 6. Once all recommendations are addressed, schedule a six month or annual review. This is when you’ll update their financial plan, track progress toward their goals, review all outstanding recommendations, make any updates and adjustments needed, and take any agreed upon next steps.

How can this make me more money?

New business written, more assets managed, and more referred people contacting you. If you really know your clients, and know their financial situation, you can make recommendations that will make sense to them. This builds trust. You will become their trusted advisor. If you are their trusted advisor they will bring you more money. They will be willing to bring you up in conversations with their friends. Those friends will remember you when they are looking for someone. Part of this trust is that you are organized and have systems in place to provide consistent service. If you can’t find information about them....if you can’t recall information they’ve shared with you....if you can’t remember key details of previous discussions....... Can they trust you in other areas? You need to have control of the information your clients share with you. Let Meridian help.

Any additional protection for my practice?

Robo this and robo that. If you hang your hat on investment performance there’s a chance AI will eventually provide a solid alternative. On the other hand, comprehensive financial advice thoughtfully provided by a trusted advisor can’t be delivered by a computer. Don’t forget the advisor down the street. If they are covering all areas of financial planning and you’re not…….

© The Barn at Studley 2018 made me





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