First Meeting Framework. Shorter Meetings = More Clients
In this post, I'm going to share why you should think about shortening our first meeting process and how to do it, and then why it actually helps turn more people from prospects into clients.
At our firm, we started using the shortened first meeting phone call in 2020, and it greatly impacted the growth of our business and I want to share this framework with you too.
The First Meeting
Up to this point, the potential client has visited our website, watched a short video, and then applied for a call. We use Calendly to schedule the 30-minute meeting automatically, and then we show up with an iPad and an Apple pencil. On the iPad, we use Notability with our first meeting framework. This is a PDF template that we can write on directly. Doing so helps us stay on pace and following the right process to be sure that we don't miss anything. Using this framework also allows us to take notes as we go.
If you’ve read my other posts on how we open the first meeting, you already know that we open with the same question every single time. Doing this accomplishes goal number one: find out what is most important to the potential client. We also want to find out some of the tangible goals they're looking to achieve and what their ideal future state is.
And one thing to note: 95 percent of what we say in this first meeting are questions.
So that first question that we open it up with is: what's on your mind.
And this usually gets everything out on the table. If, for some reason, it doesn't, then we just ask ... and what else.
By asking these simple questions, we are able to find out:
- their tangible goals,
- what's most important to them, and
- their ideal future state.
These are the important things that we need to know in order to help them with the best next steps. Then, we have a few questions to find out what's stopping them from achieving that ideal future state right now. And this is where we help them identify the problems or risks that they're facing with their current plan.
This is a very key part to helping them understand why our value in what we offer is so much more than the cost of working with us.
Next, we find out the facts. We already have an idea of their assets and debts because of a short questionnaire they filled out when applying for the call. Once we get a few more details, then we have a pretty good idea if they might be a good fit.
Setting Up the Second Meeting
At this point we offer the second meeting and what we typically say is, we should be able to help you with, and then repeat some of their goals and the pains that they had mentioned. If you think that'd be valuable, I can put together a One-Page Plan for you. That'll give you some of the next steps and how to get closer to some of these goals and some of the pitfalls that you might be running into.
The reason why we do use the One-Page Plan instead of creating a big 50- or 100-page binder is because it creates a small, small barrier. It's free value that we're offering that helps us extend the relationship before they commit to paying anything.
Once they agree to the second meeting, then we go a little deeper. We want to understand their perspective on money and some of the things that they value around money.
As we close the meeting, we'll say, can I ask you a non-financial question? They'll say, sure, and then we tell them, everyone's got different perspectives around money, and if we're going to be putting some suggestions together for you, it's good to know your perspective. So, what's most important about money to you?
That's one of the questions; there's a few others that we might ask depending on how the conversation has gone so far. But when the meeting is over the new client is feeling good. They feel listened to and know that we're going to create a One-Page Plan with some clear next steps.
Because most of our clients are all in the same boat, meaning they're all close to retirement or in their first few years of retirement, 90 percent of the solutions are going to be the same. There's a lot of things that we've really defined at our firm that offer a lot of value. These solutions are solving our client's problems. But, of course, there's some of the One-Page Plan that's customized for each individual situation. To create each One-Page Plan takes only about 30 minutes on our end, but it's so, so valuable for the people when they receive it at the next meeting.
If you're interested in more details and the exact first meeting process and more detailed questions, click here for a training that outlines how we incorporate the value formula into these meetings.