“I couldn’t believe it!” blurted an animated George, “Two big wealth management teams had presented before me. Each team had talked for nearly two hours and had even left bound copies of their presentations on the conference table.”
George was referring to a wealthy prospect who was about to inherit a huge sum of money. This wealthy family was being pursued by all of the area's serious wealth management firms. George was able to get a seat at the table through word-of-mouth-influence: one of his clients was the prospect’s golfing buddy.
Here’s the scenario as George described it: “We entered the conference room and seated around the table were the prospect, a CPA, an attorney and a trust officer from a local bank. Compared to the two previous teams, we only had a handful of slides and no printed materials to leave behind. It was, to say the least, extremely intimidating.”
After taking a deep breath and getting settled, George decided to be the yin to the yang of the big presentations that had preceded him. He focused simply on asking good questions and then framed his services accordingly. Here’s how he did it:
1. Develop rapport—George began with personal small talk, making an effort to engage everyone at the table. Topics ranged from children, school (post pandemic), summer camps, to golf (referencing his client).
This enabled George to relax a bit and begin to regain his confidence. Relaxed confidence and positive energy are critical intangibles in every presentation.
2. Ask an open-ended question—In this case, George defaulted to a simple question he always asks prior to any presentation, “What would be the ideal income of engaging with a team like ours?” A thoughtful conversation ensued and George was able to learn more about the type of services his prospect wanted.
The best practice here is to identify what’s really important to the prospect, not to come in with perfectly preplanned selling points. Further, by not having a fixed presentation with a printed handout, George was able to tailor his pitch to answer the prospect's most-pressing concerns.
3. Summarize the objectives—After their initial dialogue, George summarized what he determined was most important. He said, “If I understand correctly, you’re looking for someone to coordinate every aspect of your family’s finances, to simplify your investments and to make certain your estate plan is in order.” The prospects and the COIs appeared to be in support of his analysis.
Due to this inquiry process, you now have confirmation of how to conduct your presentation.
4. Present your solution—George then led into how he and his team could help. He made sure to offer proof when possible, not just hyperbole. For example, when talking about how he worked with the clients' other professionals, he showcased an agenda from a summit he’d hosted between a client, their accountant and their estate attorney.
He also sought to match his presentation style to the prospect’s personality—being direct. People with direct personalities like it when you’re direct. Those who are detail oriented like it when you’re detailed. Those who tell stories, like hearing your examples as well. It’s a critical component to connecting with others.
5. Follow-up discussion—He closed by asking for feedback, “What’s going through your mind at this point?” He uncovered they were happy with many of the solutions he proposed and could tell they liked him. As we often find, asking good questions and listening are far more important than a stiff presentation.
Ideally, the discussion should lead to closing for the business. Which is exactly what George did; “I think we’re a good fit. If it’s OK with you, I’d like to suggest another meeting to talk further about implementation.”
As George recalled all of this to me, it was obvious he was still blown away by the results. In his words, “I felt I had nothing to lose, so basically I stumbled into a successful presentation, in contrast to these high-powered competitors who invested so much time and effort into creating slick presentations that ultimately missed the mark.”
All of this might seem counterintuitive, but when it comes to big presentations, less is more—more personal, more authentic, more trustworthy, more real and more solution-based on what’s truly important to the prospect, big or small. That, my friends, is how you deliver a kick-*ss presentation!
Matt Oechsli is author of How to Build a 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing, and Retaining Affluent Clients. www.oechsli.com