Financial Advisor First Meeting Communication Strategy
As advisors we just need to do two things in the first meeting if we want to connect and build trust with prospective clients. The unfortunate thing is that within our industry, the best and the smartest advisers don’t always succeed. You can have exactly what your ideal client wants but if you can’t communicate effectively, then they’re never gonna know how you can help him.
You’re only as good as you can communicate
Here’s the truth. You’re only as good as you can communicate. So I want to share a simple strategy that we use to connect with people that we never met in that first meeting. Whether the introductory call is in person or on the phone or via video call we’ve been using this exact strategy. Last year two of our advisors, using this technique, were able to bring him close to 60 million in about 11 months.
We’re at a little bit of a disadvantage since March 2020. Since then we’ve gotten more comfortable with virtual meetings so that first meeting might be a phone call or virtual call rather than a prospective client coming into the office. Not being in the same room with someone can really take away that ability to connect and to really build strong connection. In the first interaction however you’re communicating all has to do with the questions that you ask.
Communicate how specifically you can help them
Remember, in the first interaction with our clients they don’t care yet about the credentials behind your name or how big your firm is or even the knowledge that you have in your head. The most important thing that we need to communicate is that we’ve helped people like them before and people with similar problems or concerns that they have right now.
And that is only true if that’s what we’re communicating. The only way we can do that is to seek first to really understand them. The person that you’re talking to will feel a connection when they feel that you really care for them and their situation.
Make the meeting about them, not you
Now there’s a specific question we have that helps show that we do care, but you truly have to care too. You can’t fake this by asking the question without genuinely being interested in that person’s answers. Humans have an innate ability to read whether you’re truly honest or care.
So you have to make sure that you’re fully present and you’ve got a mindset of giving and not receiving. This first meeting is about them, it’s not about you. First thing we have to understand is what they’re concerned about or what they’re not certain about. If you’ve been an advisor for at least five years, and especially if you’ve found your niche, then you already know probably the top 10 concerns that people will bring up.
It is important that we don’t tell them their concerns, but first hear it from them. After they give their concerns or the thoughts that they’re having, the important thing is to clarify what they just said. Let me give you an example, when you ask what’s on your mind or if you ask what concerns do you have about retirement they might say “I just want to make sure that I’m doing everything that I should be” or “I just wanna make sure that I’m not making any mistakes as I’m thinking about retirement”.
Active listening assures your clients that you understand their concerns
The client comes for clarification to us before retirement because they’re there doing some research and they’re looking at different retirement strategies. And they’re starting to realize that the last 30 years looks a bit different than the next 30 years. It’s not just about growth and accumulation anymore. It’s about tax planning and withdrawal strategy and being prepared for the upcoming economic seasons we may go through.
What we just did with the questions is enter into the conversation that they were already having in their head and we help clarify it even more. There’s a saying that if you can describe their problem better than they can describe it then they’re actually going to automatically assume that you have a better solution. So part one, understand the concerns so that you can communicate how you help other people with those same problems.
Connect their values with their goals
The next step is not something that’s new. We found that if you save it till the end of the meeting you actually got a lot better results in how the conversation wraps up. There is a saying by Maya Angelou that says a person might not always remember what you said, but they remember how you made them feel. So, the next question we need to ask in meeting one so that we can connect and build trust is wait till all the way to the end of the first meeting, and ask the value question.
“What’s most important to you?”
Now, in the meeting they may have been bringing up financial goals or dreams or things that they value or that they need to achieve with money and planning. These goals take money and planning to achieve, but talking about goals doesn’t get to the real motivation behind those goals. We need to know the why behind the goal and that’s the emotional element behind the financial goal.
Not a lot of Advisors ask this, but if you do ask and get good at implementing it, you’re gonna be far above all of the other advisors.
Plan the second meeting from the first meeting notes
A client’s core values are the most important things to remember. So after the first meeting framework that we use, we have a pretty good idea that we can help them or not help them, maybe recommend them to a different route. But if we think we can help them then we say that’s a non-financial question. Everyone’s got different perspectives when it comes to planning our money. Mine is different than yours.
So what’s important about money to you is a question you’ve heard before. It’s a Bill Bacharach question or sometimes Carl Richards has his version, and some other versions are out there. It’s often referred to as the values based question.
Capture exact quotes for showing the client you listened
Now after we ask, the prospective client often thinks for a few seconds. Then they give an answer and as they’re talking, make sure you’re writing down those exact quotes. These things that they’re saying are gonna be used in the next meeting very early on in the second meeting. When we use exact quotes and mirror exactly what they say that’s a great way to reengage quickly at the beginning of the meeting before we we give them the plan.
We can demonstrate that we listen to them and understood them before we give them a financial concepts or recommendations. A lot of times they’ll start with things like freedom or security or not making a mistake or or things like that. And tell them that’s good then build on the question to get deeper to their core values. That gives you a good start so that you can go to the next level of and have a more meaningful conversation. So it’s really a great way to learn what’s most important to them.
I did this recently with a client, and at the end of the first phone call she said “I feel like you guys know me better than I do.” We had gone through a few iterations of that question and it’s been key for us to build more trust with our clients. So hopefully you can start trying this out.