It is a common practice for doctors and attorneys to dictate their notes following an appointment, thus creating a digital record for future reference. Financial advisors should be doing the same thing. There are numerous benefits to using a service like Mobile Assistant (www.mobileassistant.us) or CopyTalk (www.copytalk.com) to transcribe notes from your meetings with clients and prospects. Here are 5 vital ones.

1. It will help you stay organized.
Do you ever tire of flipping through pages in a notebook or shuffling through files looking for what you wrote during a meeting 6 months ago? Taking just 3-5 minutes at the end of each appointment to dictate your thoughts while they are fresh will ensure your notes are accurate, thorough, and in some cases, added to your CRM automatically. In other cases, transcribed notes can be e-mailed to an assistant who can print and file them or copy and paste them into a digital client record in seconds.

2. You will save time.

When you dictate your notes, make it a point to include specific instructions for your assistant: ‘please file this paperwork… write this letter of instruction… make a copy of the client’s trust’ etc. In this way, you can save time that would otherwise be spent explaining your instructions. You also give the assistant something in writing to refer to, which will reduce the number of mistakes being made.

3. It will make you a better advisor.
In casual conversation during meetings, clients and prospects share important details about their life that can be hard to remember. If you dictate these details before you forget them, you may find them valuable in the future. If a client tells you he is expecting a grandchild in a few months, for example, not only can you send a card to congratulate him, but you can remind him to establish a college fund the next time he is in your office. Specific instructions can also be directed to your assistant via the dictation so he or she can add necessary tasks and reminders to your calendar.

4. You’ll protect yourself from compliance headaches.
Today’s strict regulatory environment presents more challenges for advisors than ever before. Many consumers won’t even think twice about suing an advisor or filing a complaint if they think it will help them recoup losses. To protect yourself from erroneous claims, it is critical to maintain careful and thorough documentation of all conversations shared with a client. Following meetings, if you dictate full explanations and rationale behind the recommendations you make, you create a permanent, date stamped record that can help protect your good name.

5. You may even earn more business.
When you call into your dictation service with a client present, or show them a copy of a transcription from a past meeting, you demonstrate that you are organized, efficient, and professional. As someone hears you reviewing everything they just discussed with you, it builds their confidence that they have been heard, and that you are going to follow through on everything you said. Furthermore, by noting every critical detail, you will do a more effective job planning for their needs, thus making you more referable.

Robert Sofia is a best-selling author, award winning public speaker, and financial industry thought leader. He has developed marketing strategies for Fortune 500® companies, personally coaches hundreds of financial advisers nationwide, and is the COO and co-founder of Platinum Advisor Strategies.