LOOOOOOONG Appointments

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Apr 21, 2008 10:19 pm

HELP!

 
My appointments are going way too long, sometimes 2 1/2 hours.  I have tried to cut them down but can't seem to get them done in an hour.  I've even tried creating an agenda to keep on task but it hasn't worked.  I find myself engaging in too much small talk.  I'm afraid that they'll leave thinking it was a waste of time or that I lack confidence to stay on task.  I know that may be true  - but I'm working on it.
 
What have you done to keep your appointments to an hour or less?  Are there any good resources that lay out an effective and efficient appointment/presentation?
 
Thanks
Apr 21, 2008 11:17 pm

I know my parents use a FA that wants to meet twice a year and takes around 3 hours every time, they dread meeting with him for that very reason. 

 
I would go in and say "I wrote down the items that I think we should focus on right now" also mention something like "I have another appointment in 2 hours but I think an hour to an hour and a half should give us more than enough time to cover everything that needs to be covered." 
 
Right away that lets them know you have a plan that you've thought about before you got there, it lets them know that you need to keep things moving, and you'll get their full attention because they'll know you're not going to be sitting there boring them for half of their day.
 
Apr 21, 2008 11:36 pm

Are these review appointments or new prospect appointments you are talking about?

Apr 22, 2008 11:30 am

If there is a reason to have  2.5 hour meeting, then tell the client that upfront.  For example, you are going through ALL of their stuff (such as a 2nd or 3rd appointment).  I can't imagine why a 1st appointment would last that long, unless the client is yacking all over you.  But even then, somtimes it makes sense to break it up into parts.  And an annual review, unless things have changed dramatically, should not last more than an hour.  But OldSpice is right - clients wil begin to dread seeing you for that reason.

 
Remember, you don't need to show them EVERYTHING you know in an appointment.  Focus on what is most improtant.  I assume you are new, and you are showing them Hypos, Morningstars, MFD literature, etc.  That's overkill.
Apr 22, 2008 1:31 pm

imabroker, you have to give us more details, so that we can try to be of help. 


Don't ever confuse small talk with relationship building.

Apr 22, 2008 1:48 pm

I think what would help is to have an agenda/plan and stick to it.  Rambling means a lack of focus.  Rarely do I have appointments go over an hour.

Apr 22, 2008 9:17 pm

Thanks all for the comments.  I'd like to think that I'm building relationships, but as I obsess and critique every appointment, new or review, I can't help but wonder if they drive home thinking: "I thought we'd never get out of there!."

 
At a recent presentation, the speaker had us try to talk to the person next to us for 3 minutes without using the word "I" and like most, I found it very difficult.  I find I try to relate something they said about their lives to something in mine.  Myintentions are good: it may be to empathize, or point out similarities, but I don't think they really care.  Hopefully I'm being overly critical... but that's me.
 
A recent example of a two-and-a-halfer was at a couples' home.  I had to go over my recommended allocation for a recent rollover, a DCA plan, whether or not to add some VUL, and if so how much for each.  Should I be able to do that in an hour? 
 
Thanks again.
Apr 22, 2008 9:35 pm

I can't help but wonder if they drive home thinking: "I thought we'd never get out of there!."


Unfortunately, they are probably thinking that.  It's ok to have a 2 1/2 hour meeting if you have told the client that the meeting will take 2 1/2 hours.  Otherwise, you are being disrespectful of their time. 
 
A recent example of a two-and-a-halfer was at a couples' home.  I had to go over my recommended allocation for a recent rollover, a DCA plan, whether or not to add some VUL, and if so how much for each.  Should I be able to do that in an hour?   
 
Yes, you should be able to do that in an hour.  In fact 30 minutes should be way more time than you need.  Are you doing more selling than necessary? 
 
For example, if they have already done the rollover, it means that they trust you.  The recommendation can be a very simple, "This is what I think that you should do.  Can we go ahead with this?" 
 
The DCA plan is nothing more than "What's the greatest amount that you are 100% sure that you can invest on a monthly basis?"
 
Does the adding VUL mean increasing their life insurance?  If so, it's silly to talk about VUL before they get examined.  Why talk about a product until you know you have a qualified buyer?  It takes 3 minutes to determine someone's insurance need.  Get the insurance approved and then discuss policy details.  By the way, the answer to whether or not to add some VUL is virtually always "no".   You haven't asked about it, but I can't come up with a single set of facts that would make VUL the best option for a real world insurance purchase.
Apr 22, 2008 9:44 pm

Start talking about coefficient variables and covariance and all those formulas you learn in CFP class.  That should get them RUNNING out the door.

Apr 23, 2008 11:29 am

Sounds like you are using what I call the "old school/new rep" selling approach.  Stay away from facts/figures/diagrams as much as you can.  No need whatsoever to explain in depth things like their VUL subaccount allocations, unless for some reason they ask.  They really don't care.  By the time you get to this point, the plan is either already sold or you did something wrong.  I truly believe you are spending way too much time telling them all the crap you know, which is common for new reps, but at the same time is stuff they don't want, and definitely don't need.

2 hour appointments are fine, but are almost 90% first time meetings.  Feel the client out, if the appointment is running long, simply ask..."I know we have been talking for quite some time now, are you ok on time or should we continue this later?"
You also might want to consciously ask yourself if you are dragging the appointment out as an avoidance behavior.  Do you beat around the bush and never ask for the business?
Apr 23, 2008 8:18 pm
snaggletooth:

Start talking about coefficient variables and covariance and all those formulas you learn in CFP class.  That should get them RUNNING out the door.

 
Better plan. Have your BOA call you 20 minutes into the meeting, pretending to be a client. In a hushed tone, but loud enough to be heard by the prospects, you say into the phone, "OK, Mr. Phillips, let me verify these numbers with you, that's $150k in XYZ, $275k in ABC, $452k in EFG, and $345k in IJK. And I've got some ideas for that $480k CD maturing next month, I'll call you later to set-up a time. Bye." 
Apr 23, 2008 9:45 pm
IsOldSpiceRightForMe:

I know my parents use a FA that wants to meet twice a year and takes around 3 hours every time, they dread meeting with him for that very reason. 

 
I would go in and say "I wrote down the items that I think we should focus on right now" also mention something like "I have another appointment in 2 hours but I think an hour to an hour and a half should give us more than enough time to cover everything that needs to be covered." 
 
Right away that lets them know you have a plan that you've thought about before you got there, it lets them know that you need to keep things moving, and you'll get their full attention because they'll know you're not going to be sitting there boring them for half of their day.
 


You dont even manage your own parents $$ wow!

Apr 23, 2008 10:13 pm

No, its worse than that.  He is giving advice on the proper way to run an appt even though he is not in the business.

Apr 23, 2008 11:57 pm

Ditto on maybe an hour in length.  After about that amount of time I can see the clients getting restless, moving around, letting their eyes wander.   So I typically try and shut it down after an hour.

Apr 24, 2008 8:52 am

[/quote]
You dont even manage your own parents $$ wow!
[/quote]

 
Yeah, but mainly because I'm not in the business yet. 
Apr 24, 2008 9:24 am
IsOldSpiceRightForMe:


You dont even manage your own parents $$ wow!
[/quote]

 
Yeah, but mainly because I'm not in the business yet.  [/quote]
Which brings us back to the point: WHY are you giving advice if you are not even in the business?  That's an ideal time to ask questions and learn, not answer questions.
Apr 24, 2008 9:35 am

[/quote]
Which brings us back to the point: WHY are you giving advice if you are not even in the business?  That's an ideal time to ask questions and learn, not answer questions.
[/quote]

 
Because I've owned my own business for the past 10 years and I hold meetings with clients every week.  Different industry but I think my experience and advice relates.  Just trying to be helpful.
May 15, 2008 2:54 pm

My job is to simplify my clients life.  Yes, first appointments can take some time.  The length of the meeting is not an indication of the problem, what you are or are not learning is the problem.  I use a client Q'r to focus the conversation.  I even send a preliminary data collection and document checklist to the prospect before we meet.  Ask them if they have anything they want to talk about right away.  If they are meeting with you there is a reason, unless you strong armed an appt.  Then, go through your checklist and Q'r.  It is unlikely if you are doing advising and planning that you will have solutions at that first meeting.  The second meeting is where you provide recommendations, tell them to move everything to you so you can keep their life simple, tell them to sign your full discretion forms, and go from there.

May 15, 2008 7:46 pm

Start the meeting with: "I want to be respectful / mindful of your time - what time is your next appointment / obligation".  They wont say 2.5 hours.  Whatever the response - "great.  That works well for me because I have (insert obligation) @ (time).  Let's get started - we've got a few things to cover"

 
If they respond - "I dunno how much time do you need?"  you say - this should take about 45 minutes - I have an appointment at (1 hour from now).  It really depends on how many questions you have.
 
Hope that helps