10 Tips for In-Person Meetings with Prospective Clients

Person-to-person meetings with prospective clients are key elements in building your reputation as a professional financial planner. No matter how good you sound on the phone or how good your advertising is, in the end, it all comes down to what impression you make face to face. Find out what you need to master to create successful, long-lasting relationships that will keep generating referrals and help you grow your business.

  • Prepare – Come prepared for all appointments. Do a bit of research and think in advance what your client’s needs might be. How can you make the interaction as pleasant and results oriented as possible? Reassess previous phone calls and determine the key points your potential client will likely want to address.
  • Listen to the client – Many agents are so worried about getting across their own agenda, that they don’t pay enough attention to what their prospect has to say. This is a critical mistake. Listen carefully, as this not only communicates interest and trust, but ensures you don’t waste your prospect’s time. It’s about them, not you.
  • Be punctual – Being punctual should go hand in hand with precise attention to detail. Arrive exactly on time, if not slightly earlier. Send pre-meeting and post-meeting notes and reminders, and choose a location and time that fit your prospect’s schedule. Ensure there are no distractions during the meeting, including your cell phone. You need to live up to what you promise – reliability and expertise.
  • Grooming – Take care of yourself and take it seriously. Just as in finances, every detail matters.
  • Dressing – Individuals working in the financial sector need to pay extra attention to how they dress. People trust us with their financial information and they need to be assured that it is in safe hands. Everything about you has to match the values you’re trying to communicate – trust, reliability, and precision. Spend extra time and money to select high-quality clothes and shoes that create an impression of professionalism.
  • Take notes – If you want to learn from the meetings and get the most out of the interaction, take notes. But you should do this so as not to make your prospect uncomfortable. Note your prospect’s most important goals and what you can do to further them.
  • Be short and to the point – Understand and respect the value of your prospect’s time. Get straight to the point and try to keep the conversation on course. This requires considerable experience and calibration, but you’ll master it with time.
  • Speak with energy – Make the appointment memorable and pleasant for your potential client. Always be sure to raise the energy level of the conversation. It’s vital that both of you look forward to the next meeting. The client – and you – should always leave feeling better than before.
  • Ask for additional or updated contact information – Whether it’s your first or a repeat meeting, feel free to ask for additional contact information and to update what you already have. Phone numbers change, as do e-mail and home addresses. Ask for daytime numbers as well, to make it easier to arrange further appointments.
  • Schedule the second meeting on the spot – Let the client write down the date and time of your next meeting. This simplifies things and avoids any chance of misunderstanding.
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