Now what? If you’re like many planners, you’re excited to have finally landed the appointment, but perhaps a little apprehensive about making sure the meeting goes well.
Here are 10 steps you can take to pave the way for a successful introductory conversation.
- Do your homework. Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and other online resources can provide a wealth of information about your prospective client. However, keep in mind that you’re not compiling a dossier but simply looking for potential areas to explore—their employment, where they live, their family, organizations they’re part of and activities they enjoy.
- Determine the specific result you want to have from the meeting. What do you want your prospective client to think, or more importantly to do, as a result of having met with you? Is your goal that you mutually agree that you’re a good fit? Do you want them to schedule a discovery meeting or send you their statements? Be specific.
- Write out an outline or structure for the meeting that you believe will enable you to achieve your desired result. Think about creating the best flow. The better you plan for the meeting, the more likely it will be successful.
- Confirm the meeting with your prospective client. Send a calendar invitation, and then follow up to confirm the day before your meeting with an email, text message or phone call. Reiterate how much you are looking forward to your time together.
- Be intentional about what you take along to the meeting. A notepad is a must. A couple of simple one-pagers (your bio, your differentiators, your process) that support your story can be much more valuable than a slick marketing brochure or research piece.
- Focus on learning about them. Demonstrate a client-first mindset. Ask questions. Show genuine interest in their story. The more you learn about your prospective client, the more you will be able to connect your story to theirs.
- Know what you plan to say. If they aren’t a good fit for what you do, communicate that. Share that based on what they’ve shared about themselves and what they need from a financial adviser or planner, as well as how you typically serve your clients, you don’t think you’d be a good fit for them (or, cost effective for them) at this point. Be kind. Communicate that you’re not right for them, not that they’re not right for you.
- Describe what differentiates you. If they are a good fit for you, tell them how you’re different from other advisers and how you believe you can help them. Conclude with, “Based on everything you’ve told me about yourself and what you need, and how I typically serve my clients, I think we’d be a good fit to move forward to our discovery process.” Then stop and wait for their response.
- Set expectations. Assuming they agree (and why wouldn’t they?), set clear expectations for next steps and gain their agreement.
- Always follow up with a note of thanks, recapping the key takeaways from the meeting and confirming those next steps. Your note can be handwritten on a card (more personal) or by email (much faster).
Remember, everything you say and do communicates a message to your prospective client. Make certain it’s the message you intend.
Enjoy a productive meeting with your next client!