How to Connect with a $3 Million Prospect

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Dan Richards

At some point, most advisors have succeeded in scheduling a meeting with a large prospect, often after a lot of time and effort. When you only have 30 minutes, how do you maximize the chances of a positive outcome?

That’s what I was asked in a call last week from an advisor I’ve known for many years, let’s call him Bill, about an upcoming meeting with a $3 million prospect. Here’s what Bill had to say:

I’ve just booked a meeting with a prospect who, if he signed on, would be my biggest client. He’s not that enthusiastic about the meeting, though, and has given me only 30 minutes.

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Dan Richards

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Dan Richards


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The meeting came through my best friend at business school, a guy named Jeff, who went into accounting and become a partner at a successful mid-sized accounting firm; meanwhile, I went into technology sales with IBM. Jeff and I maintained our friendship after university, we went on holidays together, he was my best man and I was his. When I was considering joining one of the large wirehouses 10 years ago, Jeff encouraged me to make the move and became one of my first clients. Since then, he’s been incredibly helpful in introducing me to his clients – and I’ve reciprocated wherever I could, although the balance is definitely in my favor.

A couple of years ago, Jeff mentioned that he was trying to get one of his clients to meet with me, a guy in his late 50s who’d built a successful manufacturing business and was in the process of looking at an exit strategy that could yield three to five million dollars. The challenge is that this guy is constantly being pitched by advisors and has become quite cynical as a result.

Today Jeff called to tell me that he’d just met with this client and he’d agreed to give me 30 minutes in the next couple of weeks, in part because a sale looks imminent. Confidentiality prevented Jeff from getting into too much detail, he did say that outside of his house the bulk of this guy’s assets are in his business, although he also has a small discount brokerage account that he hasn’t paid much attention to. His client also told Jeff that the lending officer at the bank that he’s used for financing has been after him to meet with a broker with the bank’s investment operation.

Given that I’ve just called and booked at appointment at the prospect’s office for 7:30 am in a couple of week’s time, my question is how to best use the 30 minutes that I’ll have with this prospect.