How to hold effective meetings with prospects and clients

August 11, 2017 by Marquis Pantel

An advisor meets with his clients to discuss their goals

About the author

Marquis Pantel

Senior regional account executive

Marquis has been with Advicent Solutions for over 14 years. His in-depth industry knowledge has helped the large firms and organizations he works with create more efficiencies for their businesses.

I can still remember my first experience regarding financial services. I was 20 years old, sitting at the table with an advisor who was given my information by a family member, colleague, or friend. We did not have Facebook at the time, but if we did I would have unfriended that individual.

The advisor came across as a used car salesman with an attempt to convince me to start contributing to investments early in life. There is nothing wrong with that, but it should not be the opening line. The focus of the meeting was the product, when in actuality the focus should have been placed on me and my specific needs; this information is vital when looking to conduct meetings with both clients and prospects.

Starting the meeting the right way

In this meeting, I was shown how with contributions as low as $30/month I could have over $250,000 by the time I am 65. (I am not sure what rate of return was used for that, but the actual value would have been far less.) He continued to show me charts, graphs, and statistics about how my small monthly contribution will grow over time. The longer you delay the process, the larger the contribution amount will have to be to attain the same objective and/or goal.

While it is true that the more you save and the earlier you start the more you will have later on, I did not bite. I would have been more inclined to join in a business relationship with an advisor if they would have taken the time to explain what they do and how they help others. It also would have been beneficial for the advisor to take the time to get to know my actual situation and make suggestions based on my financial capacities.

With a less intrusive approach, I think that advisors would realize that less resistance generally equates to more success. The client will not feel pressured or feel like they are in a car dealership and the only goal is to sign on the dotted line. Building a strong relationship with your client takes time.

Starting small

A great way to get a client engaged in financial planning is to start small; share a story and make it a fun experience. Explain how your process works and what you have to offer as a service and how financial plan would help to make their goals a reality. They will have to be reminded that it is not done in one meeting.

Many clients do not understand that their plan will need to be updated every year to make sure they stay on track. What happened last year? Have there been any major changes? What are you doing today and will it still get you where you would like to be? A quick financial assessment will give you that score card the client is looking for.

Assessing current financial health

By using limited information like salary, savings, debt, and expenses, you can establish and demonstrate the outcome of a client's current financial health. Should they plan to reduce their retirement expenses, adjust the retirement start date, or increase their savings? Is retirement the only financial concern? Do they want to know how to effectively manage debt or be rid of it quicker? If there are children in the mix, they will need to have that discussion of education savings, life, disability or other insurance needs. Every meeting you will have will uncover a little more about your client and open other opportunities.

The trusted advisor will win the race over time. As you build the relationship, you will increase your wallet share in the household. You will receive referrals and build a network within their family circle. When their life events occur, like retirement, they will come to you for guidance. They will need your help with the distribution of assets and tax planning.

So take your time, make it fun and keep it light.