An advisor’s first face-to-face meeting with a prospect is, like all first impressions, very important. Your prospect gains a sense of you as a professional and service provider. If they leave the appointment confused or with a bad taste, they probably won’t park their retirement with you, no matter your years of experience or credentials. While some advisors are naturally proficient at nailing initial meetings with prospects, there are many easy ways advisors—even the best—can tank first appointments. Such as:
You Are Too Eager To Sell
One of the easiest ways to ruin a first appointment is to sell right away or sell too hard. First appointments are really about getting to know each other and focusing on products will make you more of a salesperson, rather than a financial professional. Instead of focusing on products, focus on solutions and results. Products are just tools that solve problems.
You Talk About Yourself Too Much
It’s good to build rapport and explain your background/qualifications, but going on about yourself will make you seem egotistical, narcissistic, and take away time that your prospect can use to voice their specific concerns.
You Don’t Engage The Consumer
Even with a two-way conversation, it’s possible for you to not engage with your consumer properly. Ask them questions and relate information back to their specific goals or vision for retirement.
You Don’t Give The Consumer Time To Process Information
In the course of the appointment, you may delve into complex financial topics or discuss important options. Give the consumer time to process this information and ask clarifying questions. Guide them through their options and help them piece together for themselves the ideal solution.
You Don’t Ask Probing Questions
There may be other factors outside of a fact-finder sheet that determine if a product or solution is appropriate. Ask probing questions to get a better sense of your prospect and the full picture of their unique situation.
You Ignore Key Details And Goals
The prospect will likely outline their needs and retirement goals. Pay attention to this information. Discussing solutions that ignore these goals will alienate the consumer, leaving them with an impression that you aren’t listening.
You Don’t Take Notes
Taking notes throughout the appointment not only helps you keep track of important details, it also demonstrates your care and professionalism to the consumer.
You Fail To Demonstrate Empathy
One of that main reasons people seek financial advisors, over say, a robo-advisor, is the sense of care and connection they get working with a real human being. This really comes down to being an empathetic professional, meaning that you demonstrate your awareness of how important the consumer’s goals are. Being able to read and respond to emotions, such as confusion, fear, and frustration, is very helpful as you work through the appointment. Remember that for most consumers money is only as good as the security and protection it provides. You may also deal with consumers who recently lost spouses or parents.
You Over Explain
Key financial concepts and solutions can require detailed explanations. However, using too much technical jargon or bringing in unnecessary information outside the topic at hand can overwhelm the consumer.
You Under Explain
On the other hand, not providing a clear, full explanation of a process or product inhibits the consumer’s ability to see how it might be appropriate for them.
You Are Boring
Financial services involve numbers, processes, and details that may not be the most exciting, even if they serve to illustrate exactly what the consumer needs. Most people don’t care about the internal mechanisms or economic theory behind a solution; they care about a secure retirement. So what is exciting or compelling to you, a person who lives and breathes in the financial world, may not be to the consumer. Always bring solutions to the consumer’s level and make it come to life through relatable metaphors. Break up long instances of speech with questions or checks for knowledge. Use visuals.
You Dominate The Conversation
While you are the expert and will likely have a lot to say regarding a consumer’s situation, dominating the conversation makes the consumer feel invalidated. Allow your consumer time to interject. Make them feel comfortable to ask questions.
Your Lose Control Of The Session
You certainly shouldn’t dominate the conversation, but you should also not lose control of the session by letting a prospect go on and on. Keep the conversation focused on a specific need or goal. This goal, may involve many individual concerns or considerations, but having an ultimate goal that they all move toward can help keep the session focused and help you maintain control over the appointment.
Your Explanations And Solutions Are All Over The Place
Your explanations and solutions should move in a structured manner. Approaching solutions from all angles at once causes the consumer to withdraw.
You Don’t Relate Information Back To The Needs or Goals
What does your prospect ultimately need or want? A secure retirement? Upside potential? College funding? All three? Every solution is going to involve detailed processes and specific considerations. Bring your prospect in closer by relating the solution back to their goal. For example, after explaining an overfunding IUL strategy, say, “This allows you to retire safely and send little Jenna to college.”
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