Many successful advisors are very intentional about the information they share with prospective clients in advance of a first meeting.
But like most things, there is a 'good, better and best' when it comes to what you share.
- Good is all about ensuring the prospective client has everything they need to make it easy to meet.
- For example, you might include directions to the office, details on parking and, these days, any protocols that are in place to help them feel safe.
- Better is about creating connection.
- For example, you might send the prospective client a link to a particularly profound blog post to open up a deeper conversation or - better still - a welcome video that creates a more personal connection.
- Best is about adding real value before you meet and helping prospects understand what it’s like to work with you.
- For example, you might send the prospective clients a set of questions, about their financial future, that they can consider in advance of meeting. You might ask them to think about a specific shared goal for retirement. Or you might ask them to take or bring a photo of something that reflects what is most important to them.
The key to “best” is that you’re trying to help the prospective client learn something about themselves, rather than learn something about you.
As a prospective client, I expect you to share information about yourself. But I’m blown away if I feel I’ve learned something about myself or my spouse before we even meet. And in the process, I start to get a deeper understanding of what it will be like to work together.
Getting it Very Wrong
But here’s where this process goes horribly wrong.
If you’re asking prospective clients to do anything in advance of a meeting, make sure it’s something that will add meaningful value for them. This isn’t about making things more efficient for you.
- Inviting me to think about my perfect day in retirement gets me thinking and excited about the future. I’m better for having completed the exercise and that creates a positive halo effect when we meet.
- Asking me to find and bring my tax returns for the last several years is clearly about making things more efficient (or worse, helping you land the business). That might be a necessary process if I choose to work with you, but I don’t get any value out of the exercise before that decision is made.
As the team at Absolute Engagement was developing our own suite of tools to help advisors create deeper connections with prospective clients, I reviewed many, many pre-meeting questionnaires.
As I went through that process, I understood entirely why the advisor wanted the prospect to answer the questions that were posed. I really did.
It’s obvious why you might want information on my investments and assets or whether I’m interested in talking about my estate or insurance. But as a prospective client those questionnaires left me cold.
And that’s a significant missed opportunity.
So as you think about what you are asking of your prospective clients before you meet, ask yourself this simple question.
Am I doing this to help myself or to help them?
Thanks for stopping by.