You may think that the best way to win over a new client is to impress them in the first meeting. But there’s a lot you can do before they even step foot in your office to demonstrate your professionalism and competency. Building up trust and rapport prior to the first meeting can maximize your changes of helping prospects with their concerns when you meet them face-to-face.
- Find out what’s important to them. When you meet a potential client, whether in a social setting or at one of your seminars, ask a few golden questions to determine what your prospect cares about. For instance, “If you had a million dollars free and clear, what would you spend it on?” Or, “If you could do anything in the world regardless of cost, what would you do?” This tells you what they value. Understanding what a prospect values will help you as you engage them in a discussion about their financial concerns and goals.
- Demonstrate that you’re interested in helping them. After your prospect agrees to meet, send them a handwritten note telling them that you enjoyed meeting them, and that you’re looking forward to discussing how you can help them reach their goals. This makes them feel valued.
- Send them your business card. In your handwritten note before the first meeting, include your business card in case they have misplaced the one you gave them earlier. This shows professionalism.
- Send them a financial questionnaire. In advance of your first meeting, send your clients a packet that includes a financial questionnaire. This questionnaire will help you assess their financial situation, including the location of their assets, and their estate planning needs. Tell them to bring it to the meeting.
- Provide your bio. Also, in your pre-meeting packet, include a one-page personal bio. This bio will be very important in helping potential clients assess your qualifications and your background. While keeping the bio brief, be sure to include personal information on your bio such as where you went to college, your family members, and information about your charitable activities. Potential clients want to feel like they know you and connect with you as a person.
- Give them a brochure on your firm. In the same informational packet, include a brochure on your firm that will provide the necessary background for potential clients to make an informed decision.
- Request additional financial documents. Your informational packet should include a cover letter requesting any additional documents you need them to bring to the meeting. The other documents may include tax returns, and account statements.
- Include a map to your office. Clients will appreciate knowing the best place to park and how to avoid any construction, if necessary.
- Place a reminder phone call before first meeting. You should always have your client associate phone your clients the day before your meeting to remind them of the appointment. The associate can ask if they have any questions or requests. Before completing the call, be sure to have the associate express confidence that you will be able to help them with their financial challenges.
- Greet your prospect warmly. All of your staff members should be aware of the meeting schedule for the day. Make sure your receptionist greets your prospects by name. “Oh, you must be Mr. and Mrs. Snow.” Have a well-kept, inviting waiting area. You might also consider bringing in homemade cookies and offering your visitors a beverage of their choice. Don’t keep them waiting long! As you walk them to your office, introduce them to your client associate, and show appreciation for your staff.
What you say and do before your first meeting makes a big difference in your rapport with potential clients!