Cross-Selling Opportunities Galore with College Planning

As all seasoned financial advisors are aware, success in the financial industry is multiplied exponentially through cross-selling. With true financially-qualified clients in the industry declining due to the prolonged effects of the economic slowdown here in the U.S., both offering and actually selling clients multiple products is essential to long-term success for the advisor. 123College Advisors opens up that cross-selling door from day one through our extensive fact-finding process.

One of the most difficult aspects of the financial planner’s job is uncovering every stone when it comes to full disclosure by the client of all assets and the location of all client assets. Because part of our process with the family involves the filing of the government-required FAFSA form, 123College requires a 9-page very detailed financial disclosure form that is required for all parents to have completed in its entirety before we will file that family’s FAFSA form. Since the FAFSA filing initiates the entire access to and availability of college financial aid monies for their student, the motivational level and fully cooperative nature of the parents could not be higher. Therefore, the financial information we obtain right from the start of this business relationship with your client, the parents, is detailed and up-to-date. This saves you, the advisor, a lot of time in that you are fully aware of the location of any “hidden” monies or funds that are often brought up by the client at a later point-in-time. By having the complete snapshot of the parents’ full financial picture, your cross-selling to these new clients can begin immediately.

One of the biggest headaches and time-consuming processes for most advisors is the time-consuming nature of the gathering of client financial data. This process can become uncomfortable for both the financial planner and/or the client, as full financial disclosure can be viewed by some clients as too personal and too intrusive. Explaining and having clients understand that this full disclosure is crucial in helping them best meet their financial needs is often difficult for any financial professional. 123College crosses that hurdle quickly for you with the parents, again with our extensive and meticulous fact-finding questionnaire. We fully disclose to parents from the onset that the withholding or misstatement of financial data can subject them to government fines and penalties up to $20,000. This helps ensure complicit compliance from the families throughout the planning process.

That fully accurate financial family snapshot will enable you, as the financial advisor to recommend the movement and placement of client funds, which not only ensures client suitability but also opens up sales avenues to you that might not have been otherwise apparent. For example, with complete information all the assets in non-retirement vehicles, recommendations such as setting up annuities and life insurance might make brilliant financial sense for repositioning assets for the family prior to college to provide access to a greater amount of student financial aid money. Obviously this cross-selling provides much greater revenue for the financial advisor, making it a win-win situation for everyone involved.