There are a number of key “moments of truth” in the process of developing profitable, long term client relationships. Some months ago I blogged about moment of truth No. 1 – When someone asks you… “What do you do?” Your answer is critical. Today I want to look at another key “moment of truth”, namely a first meeting with a potential client.
First impressions count and you only get one crack at it. This is no place for a sloppy or casual approach. This meeting is the opportunity to do two things.
- To qualify the prospect. It just doesn’t make sense to go through the whole process of factfind/research/gathering details of existing policies/creating a plan or set of recommendations/writing a report until you know that…
- This is the sort of client that you can help (and will enjoy working with).
- They genuinely need what you offer and are willing and have the means to pay for it.
- That the relationship will be profitable for you and valued by them
- If the answer to all 3 questions is yes, then this is your opportunity to demonstrate that you understand their issues/challenges/concerns/worries and can help to remove, reduce or eliminate them.
Therefore, what you say and what you do in this meeting is crucial. It’s important to be able to see their world through their eyes. There’s an old American Indian saying “You are my friend when you walk in my moccasins.” Getting inside their head and engaging with them on an emotional, not just an intellectual level is the key to converting prospects into clients. Ask yourself how they are likely to be feeling ahead of the meeting, particularly if “financial issues” are something they aren’t used to dealing with regularly…
They’ve probably already checked out your website (which probably looks like every other advisers website they looked at) and have probably read media articles that are highly critical of the adviser community. They’ve probably also had their fair share of helpful “advice” from family, friends and drinking buddies, all of whom they probably trust more than you right now. What questions are likely to be uppermost on their mind if that’s their mindset?
Who are these people/this firm?
Will they still be around 2 years from now?
Are they any good/will they know their stuff?
Can they be trusted?
Will they be able to help me/us/our business?
What’s likely to be involved?
How long will it take?
How will things be different afterwards?
What will it cost?
If they’ve used other advisers before they are also likely to be thinking… “Will they be any better (or worse) than their previous adviser?
The agenda for this meeting has to cover off all these questions and what you say and the way that you speak to them has to allay the feelings of concern and apprehension mentioned earlier. Having a consistent process for talking prospects through, who you are, what you do, how you do it, what it costs and how they will benefit will ensure you do this. The challenge for most advisers is doing this in language that clients understand and relate to rather than technical “adviser speak”.
How do your clients feel after their first meeting with you?