Every initial meeting with a prospect is crucial. It took a lot to get them to finally agree to meet with you, and, in most cases, you only have one shot at making the right impression. If a prospect leaves the meeting still wanting critical information, you will not likely see them again.
So, you carefully craft your initial meeting to ensure you check all the boxes, including:
- Your background and experience
- Understand your prospect’s needs and concerns
- Your process
- Your firm’s strengths and why you’re different
- Customer service expectations
- How you get paid
- Next Steps
As far as key information your prospect needs, that covers all the bases. It should also give you plenty of opportunities to demonstrate your competence and capacity to address your prospect’s needs and concerns.
However, while you’re checking all the boxes, your prospects are still looking for answers to questions they don’t quite know how to ask. While all that information is necessary and helpful for making an informed decision, they still need to know more about you and why they should work with you. As much as they’re looking for solutions, what they want most is a trusting relationship with a financial advisor and knowing whether you are the right person for the job. Left unanswered, your prospect is likely to move on.
Lingering questions prospects need answered
#1. Are you the type of person I can work with?
If your prospects can’t visualize themselves working with you, they have no reason to select you. That’s why it’s so critical in that first meeting for your authenticity to shine through. It’s easy to demonstrate likability, which is essential. But people gravitate towards genuine authenticity because it reveals who the person really is, including their values, which are how people relate to one another. It’s the key to building personal connections, which clients want with their financial advisors.
Your best bet for demonstrating your authenticity in the first meeting is to tell your “Who I am” or “Why I’m here” story and tailor as much as possible to your prospects’ circumstances.
#2. Do you care about your clients?
How do you demonstrate in an initial meeting that you care about your clients? By doing more listening than talking. In that first meeting especially, you should follow the 80/20 rule—listening to your prospects 80% of the time and speaking 20% of the time. That may be difficult for some, but if you train yourself to ask probing questions and show genuine curiosity and empathy, it will build that essential personal connection. When your prospects see you taking the time to understand them, they’ll know you care.
To encourage your prospects to talk, ask open-ended—who, what, why, and how—questions and always follow up with a “tell me more” or “that’s interesting, how did that come about” probe.
#3. What type of clients do you work with?
Prospects want to know they’re not an outlier in your book of business—that you have experience and success working with people like them. This is an excellent opportunity to tell your “Whom I’ve helped” story to reassure them they fit right into your client profile.
#4. What can I expect from you that I couldn’t get from anyone else?
Everyone wants to feel they’re making the right choice, and a big part of that is the perception of how much value they’re getting relative to other choices. If you effectively address the first three questions here, you have already differentiated yourself and demonstrated value as an advisor who cares and can be trusted.
#5. Will I receive the same treatment as your bigger clients?
Some prospects know they won’t be your biggest clients. Still, everyone would like assurances they will be treated as a valued client, with sufficient access, promptly returned calls, frequent communications, and education opportunities. One of your key differentiators is the superior client experience you offer to each of your clients, regardless of the size of their assets.
All the information you present in your initial meeting is important for helping your prospects make an informed decision. However, until they know who you genuinely are and what you stand for, they won’t know if you’re the right person for the job. That should form the framework of your initial meeting because that’s what they really want to know.