Do you know what prospects love to talk about most during the first appointment process? If you guessed that they love to talk about themselves, you are absolutely right. And, why is that? I believe it is because self-disclosure can be gratifying. And, what better subject for them to talk about than the one subject they know the best…which is themselves.
Lao Tzu (the founder of Taoism) said it best, “Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment”.
The goals of a first appointment process are to discover everything you can about the prospect, uncover any financial challenges that they have and help them understand how your services are the solutions to reaching their financial goals; as a result they gladly set the second appointment to see your recommendations.
That is why I created the Advisor Solutions First Appointment F.O.R.M. It is a tool for formulating and preparing for the first appointment by having a proven system for crafting the types of questions you will be asking. This tool combines the acronym F.O.R.M. (which stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation and Money) and the Questions-Based Selling Model or S.P.I.N Selling (which stands for Situational, Problem, Implication and Needs/Pay-Off Questions) to create a strong first appointment dialogue.
By centering the conversation on questions pertaining to family, occupation and recreation, we create the foundation for uncovering how all of these could be affected by money or lack of it. In other words, it uncovers how the prospect’s family, occupation and recreation may need money in the short, intermediate and long-term and how that money could be affected by these types of needs.
Let’s take a look at how you can create your own First Appointment F.O.R.M. by mapping this out on an Excel Spreadsheet with four columns and four rows. The columns will be labeled in the following order: Situation, Problem, Implication and Needs which is the acronym for S.P.I.N Selling.The four rows are labeled in the following order: Family, Occupation, Recreation and Money. Once you have the First Appointment F.O.R.M. ready fill in the questions into each box.
The following is a brief example of some of the questions you could ask when discussing the topic of family:
Family Situational-Based Questions:
- So, tell me a little bit about your family.
- Are you married?
- Do you have kids?”
- What is it that you’d really like for the family?
Let the prospect answer all of your questions and probe deeper by continuing the conversation with questions. That way the prospect is explaining their current family situation as well as goals.
Family Problem-Based Question: Once you have heard the prospect’s family situation you need to ask yourself if there are any possible problems that you have identified that concern the prospect or are there any problems that you see that the prospect may not. Try a simple Problem-Based Questionsuch as, “What keeps you up at night regarding providing for your family?”
Family Implication-Based Question: If the prospect has identified one or more problems then it’s important to help them understand the ramifications of not fixing the problem. That’s why you will want to use an Implication-Based Answer such as, “What do you think would happen if this concern occurred?”
Family Needs/Pay-Off Question: By now the prospect has understood and explained to you their concerns when it comes to their family as well as the implications of not fixing those problems. That’s why a Needs/Pay-Off Question will help them to tell you the value of your solutions. Here is one example: “How would it help you and your family most if we had a strategy in place to never let that challenge happen?” The answer to that question will tell you the value they place on your solutions!
It is important to note that you do not need to use these exact questions, but rather design your own unique questions around the topics of family, occupation, recreation and money.
Why Using The First Appointment F.O.R.M Works
The reason why this tool works is because with a little thought, preparation and additional practice using the Questions-Based Selling Model, for each of the F.O.R.M topics you will soon find that you are creating a stronger rapport and a better foundation for building relationships in the first appointment process. And, when you prepare your questions ahead of time you can almost certainly plan to make a better connection!