The Good Fit Meeting
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The initial meeting in the financial planning sales process is about developing relationships, not presenting concepts or products. One of the biggest problems in converting prospects is how well you create trust.
According to the University of Connecticut, 89% of your clients do business with you based on trust first, products second. Why would you do anything during the first meeting except attempt to develop trust?
The “good fit” meeting is emerging in the financial planning space as an effective process to develop enough trust to make the prospect feel good about working with you. According to famed Los Angeles Psychiatrist Leonard Zunin in his book, Contact: The First 4 Minutes, 93% of our decisions to work with people happen in the first four minutes. Like the old adage, “There is no second chance for a first impression,” the initial meeting is where the prospect decides. Your best chance to make an impactful, favorable impression occurs in the first meeting.
I attended a client event organized by one of my coaching clients, and 30 clients brought 15 guests. Among the clients, 30% booked appointments, as did 10 guests. I sat at a table with those appointment-makers and asked what they liked most about what my coaching client did for them. None could articulate anything except they all trusted him. I dug deeper and asked what they trusted most. All the clients were vague in their answers. They just knew the FA would always do what was best and watch out for them.
This means that you need to listen during the first meeting. According to a US Trust study, 86% of your prospects will buy based on feeling understood. Only 4% will buy based on being made to understand.
Here is a structure for the first meeting to make prospects feel understood:
Structure of the first “good fit” meeting
- Calibration (rapport)
- Elevator speech
- The five-step bridge
- Your process
- Next steps
What do you do when your prospect first arrives? Small talk is good. Asking about their background is better. Where did the come from? How long have their lived there? What about their family? One of my clients has an assistant lead prospects into an office full of plants and pictures of the FA’s family. When the FA arrives, the clients will ask who waters the plants. It’s a great conversation starter.
If you can’t articulate what you do and how you do it in 90 seconds, you will appear as a commodity and lose business. The structure of the elevator speech is:
- Label yourself so they don’t have to.
- Voice three benefits you provide that are better than any of your competition.
- Tell a story illustrating the benefits.
- Use a takeaway to redirect the conversation toward the prospect.
This is absolutely the only time you should talk about yourself, products, or solutions. Remember: People buy because they feel understood, not because you made them understand. A good description of how to create an elevator speech is available from past articles in this publication.
The bridge is a way to sell without selling; a way to close without closing. By learning this process, you will literally be able to listen prospects into doing business with you.
1. Introductory sentence
For example, “What brings you in today?”
2. Gain three needs
Listen and show empathy until you gain three needs or concerns. The American Banking Association has shown that one need produces a 35% chance of closing business; two needs 56%; three needs produce a 92% chance of closing business.
3. Recap their needs
Every good psychotherapist knows to avoid making recommendations too soon. But they get paid for first showing empathy. For example. “If I heard you right, you said,
Did get that right?”
Don’t forget. Prospects become your clients because they feel understood, not because you made them understand.
4. Trial close
This is the process of gaining your prospect’s commitment to reaching solutions to their needs. An example would be to say, “If we could take a look at
Would that be helpful?”
This is the one and only time you should talk about how you do things. You already developed credibility during the elevator speech. You don’t have to oversell. By voicing an elegant and expert elevator speech, the prospect knows about your competence. Show that you can use your expertise to help them.
This is the stage to talk about the next meetings and what you plan to accomplish. For example,
Ms. Prospect, we now know that you have three concerns. You are retiring next year and are concerned about volatility. You also want $5,000 a month to cover expenses and also want to help your grandkids with college tuition expenses. Did I get all that right?
The next meeting, we will do a deep dive on your assets. Where they are. What risks you are taking. And how to make sure you have the money to help your grandkids with college. We will also look at your existing portfolio, what is working and what is not. We will focus on everything from those you want to protect all the way to how long you will live. This will allow us to make some assumptions about how many years we have to fund retirement.
In the third meeting, we will make some recommendations about how best to achieve your retirement objectives. We will talk about which investment vehicles are best for you. I will also talk about our model of keeping connected to our clients. For example, we phone or see our clients every three months to stay focused on their needs. Does all this seem like the right approach for you?
“Great, how about talking next Thursday at 2? Don’t forget to bring all your statements, please.”
If the prospect asks about any investment ideas or strategies, respond that you don’t have all the information you need to make an informed opinion yet. But you will cover that on future appointments.
The good fit meeting is a way to make prospects feel understood. Not to make them understand. You will rarely make a sale on the first appointment. But you can get a stall if you don’t listen. Don’t be trapped into solving problems or making. The good fit meeting increases your closing ratio and develops more rapport and trust with your prospects and clients.
I would love to send you a free video of “The Good Fit Meeting” Write me at [email protected] or call 714-368-3650. We will first spend a few minutes talking about your goals for increasing business this year.
Dr. Kerry Johnson is “America’s Business Psychologist.” He is the best-selling author of 17 books including the recently released, How to Recruit, Hire and Retain Great People. He is also a frequent speaker at financial conferences around the world. Peak Performance Coaching, his one-on-one coaching program, promises to increase your business by 80% in 8 weeks. To see if you are a candidate for this fast-track system, click on www.KerryJohnson.com/coaching and take a free evaluation test. You will learn about your strengths and what is holding you back. Or call, 714-368-3650 for more information.