Need help with prospective client meetings

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Nov 10, 2010 2:31 pm

I am a fairly new advisor.  I've been cold calling for months.  Have had some appointments as a result.  Some have became clients on first meeting or they leave saying they'll think about it and it never happens.  I need to know what exactly I should say during this first meeting.  I am calling these people on muni bonds.

Please  help!

Nov 10, 2010 4:14 pm

Isn't someone there supposed to be helping you?

Nov 10, 2010 9:46 pm

Not really.  I could have another advisor sit in on the meeting but the make it like I am taking their time and they get nothing out of it. Just looking for an example of what to say once I finally get someone to meet with me.

Nov 10, 2010 9:52 pm

You should have a 5 minute presentation (not more than 5 minutes) on what you do, what your value proposition is, and why you are different. Then you should do nothing but make them talk with open ended questions.

You want them to walk away with 3 things

1. a reasonable comfort with you personally and the fact that you have a process

2. a feeling that you are genuinely interested in them and their sutiation - not just their money, but them as a person

3. an agreement to move forward and a commitment shown by scheduling the next appointment.

Not saying this is easy, but this is what you need to focus on.

Nov 10, 2010 9:58 pm

Thanks for the advice Bob!

Nov 10, 2010 11:17 pm

It doesn't make any sense to learn by trial and error. Bob makes some good pointers, but it takes years to develop a high closing rate by trial and error,  I know from experience.

Your process for discovery (Goals), data collection, analysis, solutions presentation, implementation, and review needs to fit with your capabilities to deliver, what the client wants, whether they are paying for planning or products, what your firm supports, and so on.

I suggest splitting a few cases with a couple of different experienced advisors. Half of something is better than half of nothing.

Nothing wrong with keeping it simple. First you concentrate on building the relationship (listening and taking notes), and try to deliver or show some value in the very first meeting. As Bob says, you have a reason to hold the  next meeting, where you deliver more value, perhaps close or close on the third.

The stuff you are looking for is the ability to profile individual clients and reflect their personality a little, like: analytical, expressive, driver, amiable. I can't begin to describe the value I obtained from splitting some cases early on, even with guys who are jerks in some ways. When you are sitting there working a case with an experienced advisor, they are giving away their secrets and you will incorporate them into your practice in your own way for the rest of your career. There should be someone who is paid to share, too, it's called training.

Nov 10, 2010 11:18 pm

my main goal in the first appointment is to schedule the second appointment

Nov 11, 2010 3:01 am

Sample process ( where you have prequalified a client with sufficient investable assets, insurance need and so on. You could take on smaller accounts by running through the whole process in one meeting, and having your assistant kick out in the brokerage account app or insurance app and proposal in the mail, after doing your followup close by phone):

JB, thanks for stopping by the office today. I see you brought your pile of paperwork, so we should take a full hour and do some work.

( It looks like you couldn't get the paperwork together, so let's work for about fourty minutes and we can meet a little longer at our next meeting if we decide to schedule one.)

I'd like to take about five minutes and explain my process, but before we get started, do you have any questions or concerns for me?

(Take notes, make a list.)

Great. Generally, I follow a fiancial planning process that develops over several meetings. A lot of folks want to work through this educational process a little, and have time to think of questions and make some decisions. Of course, you are in control and may wish to accelerate the process, and we'll both get an idea of how or even if we want to work together (smiles).

I wouldn't want to make recommendations or invest a penny unless we had followed a process, and neither would you. I like to take plenty of time, so you understand are in control, but if you just want to get the big picture and delegate, let me know.

(Set expectations.)

1. Today, I call discovery - you have questions for me, and mainly I want to understand your situation.

2. The second meeting is after I have had a chance to analyze your situation, look over some of the data,  and begin to offer some strategies and solutions.

3. The third meeting is where we go over your questions and some of the details of investments or insurance, if that is appropriate, and you take some action. If you decide to take this step, you become a client.

Beyond that, I keep in constant touch with my clients for review. Working with a financial advisor is an important decision, who you work with, and in a best case scenario, if it is a good fit, we would work together for many years.

Discovery - What is important to you, why is that important, what if that couldn't happen.

Data - go through papers, ask questions, make notes

Strategies - point out a few. Give a little value.

Answer questions.

JB, what I'd like to do is meet again in a week or two. If you leave me with this data, I'll do a few projectionz and develop some strategies and solutions.

2. Strategy meeting ( pre sell the product solutions and schedule the next meeting). Retirement income projections. Model portfolios, discussing asset allocation, withdrawal theory, straight securities vs. diversification, effect of long term care need on goals, insurance scenarios, cash reserve stragies, etc. "Sell" the solutions in concept first.

( You can call the client with questions, pre sell a few concepts over the phone before this meeting. Jim, I am working on that permanent life proposal, and it looks like ... what do you think.)

3. Action meeting (don't show specific products until this meeting.) Review concepts, now you roll out specifics and say, we need to get started with one piece, open an account, so you can be my client and we can work together.

If somebody wants to come in and just do a rollover, great, but remember, the time invested up front is better financial planning practice (process and six areas of financial  planning) and better relationship buildling, which means stickier assets under management, deeper account pentration, more referrals, and a better relationship, which can last decades, because you have established trust and know your client.

Also, have been experimenting with a prequalifying (discovery and strategy) meeting with GoToMeeting, where the prospect initiates a meeting as a response to marketing letter, and chooses the virtual meeting option. Have been refining the process.

Nov 11, 2010 9:24 am

open ended questions is key, make them comfortable, and schedule that second appointment.

good luck!!

Nov 11, 2010 7:16 pm

Jberg, I am crushed I invested my time and you did not critique my post. Give or take?

Nov 12, 2010 11:28 am

[quote=Jbergen]

I am a fairly new advisor.  I've been cold calling for months.  Have had some appointments as a result.  Some have became clients on first meeting or they leave saying they'll think about it and it never happens.  I need to know what exactly I should say during this first meeting.  I am calling these people on muni bonds.

Please  help!

[/quote]

OK, without looking at comments from others, here is what I'd do.

Mr. & Mrs. Jones, thanks for taking the time to come in today.

Begin small talk, let that run until the client is ready to proceed. Small talk warms people up, disarms them, and gives them a chance to get to know you a little bit. Become a master of creating some small talk.

When the small talk ends, you start the next phase like this.

I called you about the xyz muni bond paying 5%, before I get into the details of that, do you mind if I ask you some questions to make sure that investment is suitable for your situation? Great, I appreciate that...

Now, you spend time profiling. You start with profiling questions that are easy, comfortable to talk about. What are your investment goals and what do/did you do for a living is my favorite place to start. I have a list of 16 goals that I find are consistent with clients, and they are written in layman terms. People get really excited about those goal sheets! Regarding profiling, get every profiling doc you can get your hands on, and put the stuff into your words/simple the better.

After a full profile, you can then say...

Great, Mr. & Mrs. JOnes, the xyz muni bond would fit in great for you because..... and those assets you have scattered all over the wind, might be a good idea to consolidate that stuff a little bit, to help you with tax preperation, proper diversification, and make it easier to follow the progress of your investment plan?

Great, let's get started. Who would you like to name as beneficiaries on your accounts?

The small talk was about 5 minutes, the profiling about 15-20 minutes, the presentation a whopping 5 minutes or less, the paperwork about 30-45 minutes. One hour, very strategic... client Likes you, finds you Knowleadgable, and Trusts you. LKT... 

Nov 12, 2010 3:34 pm

great stuff....