Advisors: Don't Hound Prospects

You can easily turn prospects off with too much attention.

  • At the end of your initial meeting, clarify what the one next step is if a prospect wants to work with you.
  • If prospects want time to think things over, respect that and clarify when you’ll be back in touch with them.
  • Follow through with the timeline you laid out. If they’re still not ready to decide, leave the ball in their court and move on to your next prospective ideal client.

Related: Advisors: You’ll Be Asked This – Don’t Waste the Opportunity


When you meet a potential ideal client, from personal experience, don’t do this!

Last Friday, my wife and I went looking for vehicles. We visited a couple of dealerships, and we told one, in particular, we would be back midday Saturday to test drive a vehicle, for sure. When we got home at 8:30 Friday evening, we received a call from that dealership, just checking to make sure we would, in fact, be there by Saturday afternoon. . .

At 9:15 we got another call from the same dealership asking the very same question, this time from a different person. 8:00 on Saturday morning began the first of three calls from the dealership. We got two more calls before 9:30 that same morning, and frankly, by the fifth call, we were starting to get annoyed. This was totally disrespectful of what we had told them we were going to do: we’d be there after midday to test drive the vehicle. We didn’t want to be bugged and pestered.

Sometimes I think advisors can do that when they continue bugging people about making a decision. I know what it’s like when you talk with a person who you know would make a great client: you definitely want to bring them on board and [have them] start working with you. It can be tempting to keep going back to them, asking where they’re at regarding their decision-making process.

Instead, set up a process for yourself in the first meeting, where it’s very clear, for both them and you, what the next steps are and how they’ll take place. So, for instance, if you’re talking with someone who you think is going to be a great fit, and you can see the meeting is starting to ebb down to a natural end, don’t hesitate to mention, “From everything we’ve discussed today, I think we would love working with you. You are very much like the clients/you are very much like the families we enjoy helping most. So we’d love to get started. The first step would involve getting some of the statements regarding the four accounts that you’ve mentioned and then starting to transfer them in.” And then just be silent.

Now if they say, “Yep, great idea. If that’s the first step, let’s get it rolling,” you’re on, and away you go. If they’re a little bit hesitant and maybe they want the evening to discuss this, just to see how they feel, no problem. You can clarify for them, “Hey, I totally understand. You might want the evening to sleep on it and then make your mind up tomorrow when you know for certain that this could be the first step of a great relationship. I totally get it. Just to let you know, the first step is exactly the same: it’s going to involve transferring those accounts in and getting the respective paperwork in place.” So that way you’ve just given them one step, and you’ve been consistent to show them that’s all they’ve got to think about next.

Then you can simply back it up by saying, “If I don’t hear from you tomorrow, I’ll call you in three days’ time just to see if there any questions you might have—anything I can answer—and then we’ll leave the ball in your court.” This shows them that you’ve got other stuff happening. This shows them that your world doesn’t revolve around them. As much as you might like them/love them to come on board as a client, you don’t want to show that you’re desperate to have them on board. So just let them be. Just provide the steps that need to happen next and then carry on.

So, to do this most effectively and have that next step clear in everybody’s minds,

  1. Name it: let them know what that next step looks like. Even if they are going to take a couple of days to think about it, it’s still going to remain the same as if they decide to work with you right here, right now.
  2. Follow it: if you tell them that you’ll give them a call in three days just to answer any questions they might have and then leave the ball in their court, do that. If you haven’t heard back from them within those three days, give them a call. “Hey, are there any questions that we can answer? Anything that you left a little concerned about or might want some further clarification on?” If they say no, again you say, “We’ll leave the ball in your court, and let us know if you decide that you’d like to begin working with us.”
  3. Follow through: don’t hound them. You followed through with the time, now follow through with what you’ve said and get on building your business. You need a set number of clients. They might have been an ideal one for you, and if they come on board with you, they will be an ideal one. But until they do, you don’t have time to waste. Just move on to that next meeting that you need to have to bring the next person on board who really does want to work with you and really will appreciate your time most.

I look forward to bringing you another Distraction-Proof Advisor Idea next week