There are a hundred and one ways you could approach the initial appointment.
Ultimately, everyone has a way that works best for them, but this is how I approach it and, to me, it just feels better when it's done this way.
I've also found it results in faster turnaround times, less procrastination when it comes to the decision to get advice, reduced fee sensitivity and the client experience is ramped up to 11.
If you asked met the one principle at the heart of "why" I'd say it's simply...
"When you can articulate the core issues better than the person who has them, they will assume you also can solve them"
This week's vlog is the distillation of the full hour-long training module all about the first appointment (plus tools) within the Leveraged Advice Firm coaching program curriculum (which you can check out here if you'd like to solve about 100 issues in double-time), but the core of what makes it most effective is simply...
...it helps your clients identify what their biggest financial issues are.
If you get this diagnosis thing right (which I can help you do in about two sessions) the added interesting benefit is you're actually in a better position going into an appointment with no preparation.
In other words, the less they tell you, the better the outcome.
The essence of it is relying on the conversation, the framework and the person in front of you to give you all the information you need to add significant value (rather than some arbitrary fact-find)
At a high level, the appointment runs through three phases.
- Phase 1 you set the tone for what this is all about, get permission to lead and take the conversation where it needs to go.
- Phase 2 is about finding and agreeing on the "Gap". This is the guts of it and where you help clients articulate very clearly what they're aiming for (like no one before has ever done), get honest about where their start point is and have a consultative (and collaborative) brainstorm about what's going to stop them from turning x in z.
- Phase 3 is about you taking the lead and making a critical switch. The end result is Instead of just having a nice conversation, you put it on the table and invite a decision, aka "Here's what I would do if I were you".
In this training, I outlined how to do this in four ways:
- What to aim for,
- What to avoid,
- How to focus your intention,
- Wording you can use.
This is the short version, so let me share five key elements that go into making it work perfectly.
If we went through the whole process, you'd notice key points where certain questions were asked...
- Whether they are happy to go with your agenda.
- If they're comfortable getting started,
- Would they like to know what you would do in their situation and so on.
This is all about making sure that when you deliver this experience (which is what it is), you're doing it in a way where you have control and total investment.
Do this and the end result is a client who is far more likely to engage at the end of it all.
#2 Find the Gap.
One of the issues that when you're having a conversation with clients about planning for the future is this battle between...
"I want to have fun now"
"How much fun do I have to sacrifice now to be able to do stuff in the future?"
The key to this is inviting clients to consider two realities where they do nothing vs getting advice, and those two realities cannot co-exist. Cognitive dissonance kicks inviting a choice, which is the key to getting people to act and making a choice on-the-day without it feeling like some icky sales hypnotism rubbish.
This is a very specific kind of diagnosis. We not aiming for some wishy-washy "connect with your values' nonsense.
We're here to solve problems and identify the thing that will stop them from moving forward.
No one pays for financial plans designed to define personal values.
If you're selling a long term relationship and you want to establish trust it's really important you don't pressure people into making decisions they're not ready to make.
Pressure tactics might work in transactional selling, but in longer-term stuff, it simply gets a relationship on a bad front and goes downhill from there.
The way we do this is by making sure that there's no over the top pressure on people, particularly as we get to the end of this.
I want you to think that your job is to see your energy level, your speed, your pace slowly drop and drop and drop.
By the end of this meeting, you should be going so slowly they'll be the ones providing the forward momentum.
If we've worked together on your value proposition, you'll get this really quickly. You'll recognise similarities.
Your close is the piece where you make a massive switch. You'll lay it down, lead and invite the decision by nailing...
- Their core financial problems,
- How you'll solve them,
- Who your business is built for,
- The ethos behind it,
- The financial planning process you apply and
- The way you price.
This is where the "yes" happens. It's not about some Always Be Closing Rubbish.
You can get engagement on the day, with no pre-session preparation and without any high-pressure sales tactics.
Scope the plan.
Invite the decision.
...and if you're ready, you can have it all and more by the end of the day