An advisor’s first face-to-face meeting with a prospect is, like all first impressions, very important. This is where 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.
The High-Pressure Approach
One of the easiest ways to ruin the first appointment is to sell right away or sell too hard. The first appointment should be about getting to know each other. Focusing on products will make you more of a salesperson, rather than a financial professional. Instead of centering the conversation on products, talk about solutions and results. Products are just tools that solve problems. Spend time engaging the client in a two-way conversation that addresses their problem/specific situation. By asking the right questions and providing viable answers, you can make a personal connection with the client and demonstrate your expertise.
The way in which you explain financial concepts and solutions during the first appointment will be one of, if not the biggest factor that determines whether you schedule a second. Over-explaining – using too much technical jargon or providing unnecessary, off-topic information – can be overwhelming to consumers. 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. A productive interaction will walk the fine line between the two.
Ignoring Key Details & Goals
The consumer will come to you ready to outline their needs and retirement goals. Pay attention to this information. Discussing solutions that ignore these goals will alienate the consumer, leaving them with the impression that you aren’t listening. Taking notes during the conversation will help you keep track of these details. This will also demonstrate professionalism and show you’re taking a proactive role in their situation.
You Crash 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. At the same time, 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 one, overarching goal that they all move toward can help keep the session focused and help you maintain control over the appointment.
You Don’t Relate Information to Their Needs/Goals
At the end of the day, what does the consumer need or want? What are their goals? A financially 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.”