Cannon Financial Institute

Don’t Let Time Pass You By


A well-executed Communication Plan assures regular and meaningful contact with your clients. You can use those contacts to keep clients abreast of tax, regulatory, and market trends that affect their wealth management plans. Those contacts also allow you to gain insights into your clients’ current situations, futures, feelings, and family dynamics so you can provide ideas, suggestions, and alternatives where appropriate. 

Creating your Communication Plan begins with Client Segmentation. Some of your existing clients require and deserve more and/or different communication than others. Your best clients often have significant assets under management, are engaged in activities that require ongoing and active wealth management, and are sources of introduction to other similarly situated prospective clients. At the other end of the spectrum are clients with which your relationship is largely transactional. The opportunity for expanding the relationship and gaining valuable introductions is limited.

Once you’ve segmented your client base, the next logical step is to determine service levels appropriate to the various segments. Those “A” clients deserve a lot of attention. You will want to have a face-to-face meeting with them at least once a year. You will want to call and/or e-mail them regularly and keep notes on the insights gained from those contacts and monitor your progress toward turning those insights into actionable solutions. You will be on the outlook for exciting and innovative client event opportunities for these clients. The “C” clients probably won’t receive the same level or quality of service, not because they aren’t important, but because the service they receive is appropriate to the nature of your relationship with them.

Proactive Communication
Once you’ve worked out your client segmentation and set service levels, a next step is to determine what Cannon refers to as your Proactive Communication Rules. These rules determine:

  • The frequency of face-to-face contacts for each client segment.
  • The frequency and types of other contacts for each client segment.

The table below serves as an example of Proactive Communication Rules for various client segments.

 Day RuleFace to FacePhoneWrittenEntertain
A Clients303621
B Clients901210
C Clients1800110

Day-Rule - Number of days between proactive communications for each client segment.

The table below takes the example a little further. It illustrates how many contacts per segment are required in a year.

 NumberFace to FacePhoneWrittenEntertain
A Clients371112227437
B Clients9292184920
C Clients20302032030
Monthly Avg. 1751313

Stress Test
A further step is to determine, based on the hours available for work and keeping in mind the importance of balancing work, family, and recreation, how much time you must invest in order to “pull off” your Proactive Communication Plan. Meetings, calls, and client events take time. In addition to these proactive events, you probably juggle other day-to-day responsibilities including staff management, reacting to incoming client calls and information requests, and administration. Time is also required to plan for and follow-up on proactive communications.

The big question is whether or not there are enough hours in the day to get it all done and, if not, where to cut back and focus.

To answer this question, you need to conduct a stress test. For most people this is a matter of trial and error and usually requires several iterations. Make your best guesses to begin with, then adjust as necessary.

The table below is an example you can use to guide your analysis.

SegmentFace-To-Face Meetings
(# Per Year)
Outbound Phone Calls
(# Per Year)
(# Per Year)
(# Per Year)
Information/ Appreciation Event
(# Per Year)
“A” Client contacts2464218
Time per contact (hrs.) 
Total Time3432214 hours

Is that amount of time reasonable? To answer this question, you probably need to run the same test with other segments. You may need to make adjustments to your plan in order to assure you can do all that you’ve promised.

If you are going to be professional and successful in managing your clients’ wealth, you need to manage your own time. That means making sure you are focusing your time on the proactive client contacts that lead to new business and sustain your practice. Try running a stress test on your practice. Are you doing all you can? Or, are you trying to do too much and feeling scattered?

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