Most financial advisors wouldn’t dream of not preparing appropriately for a second appointment. However, finding out what a prospect needs to do to reach their financial goals is not going to be enough. You need to also properly plan out conversation points to have with them.
- Preparing Your Questions
It’s no secret that first appointments are typically an introductory meeting in which you ask a number of question to get to know the prospect and uncover their specific needs and financial goals in order to put together your recommendations. Unfortunately, after that first meeting most advisors don’t take the time to ask some necessary additional questions. If you ask those questions before presenting your recommendations, you can actually take the prospect down what I call the “Questions Path” to help them uncover what it is they need; and, as a result they end up telling you what they should “buy”. If you do this successfully they will see the need for your recommendations even before you show them what those recommendations are.
- Preparing to Listen
It’s been said that, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Try a technique that I call The 4 Levels of Empathetic Listening. When a prospect speaks, often times most advisors mimic what they hear or rephrase what they hear. While I don’t recommend mimicking, I do recommend rephrasing. If you want to make an even better connection reflect back on what a prospect is indicating that he/she is feeling. An example may be, “That sounds frustrating, is it?” After you’ve started incorporating this try reflecting the feeling and then rephrase, “That sounds frustrating because it sounds to me that you really aren’t sure what to do to reach your financial goals?”
- Preparing the Close
Once you use a combination of asking questions and empathetic listening, the prospect will hopefully come to the realization that they need YOUR help. At that point, simply explain your recommendations but also reiterate how this helps them fill their need. Use a question like this, “Based on what we talked about, how do you think these strategies will help you most to reach your financial goals?” If you used the aforementioned techniques they should be able to answer this question. When they do, simple ask, “What do you think is the best course of action for you?”
Putting it All Together
To implement these strategies into your practice use the formula—think Question, Answer, Filler. Ask a question, let the prospect answer, use empathetic listening then repeat the process. When you prepare your questions ahead of time and practice your listening skills you will make it easy for them to want to work with you!