How to Have a Successful FIRST Meeting with New Clients
I just had a first meeting with two new potential clients, and I used the process taught to me by the top advisers I have worked with over my 18-year career working with annuities and life insurance.
Here are a few tips:
- Be on time! NOTHING kills a deal faster than starting by making a bad impression. Get to the meeting location AT LEAST 20 minutes early. Here’s why…I arrived at the address given 21 minutes early, and there was no such address. The clients had texted AND emailed the address to me, and I had copied it and pasted it into my calendar. But there was no house with that address. Called the client, but I got no answer. Checked the text—yup, got the address right. Checked the email…low and behold, the client had sent a different house number in the email! I pulled up to the correct address with 3 minutes to spare.
- Take your time, but don’t let the small talk go on forever. We chatted for about 10 minutes about the weather, etc. (Turns out one of the clients grew up 10 miles from my hometown.) But, after about 10 minutes I asked, “So, what’s on your mind? How can I help?” And the conversation then turned to financial needs and questions.
- Be prepared to talk about ANYTHING, but let the clients guide the conversation. The person that referred these clients had let me know what they wanted to discuss, but I kept my briefcase closed and just sat and listened. Turns out that what they are interested in is not even close to what I had been told.
- Avoid using sales tools. Sometimes it feels like pulling out some charts, brochures, illustrations, etc. could be helpful. But the first meeting is not the time for these things. The first meeting is about two things: Building trust and setting a 2nd appointment. If you pull out sales tools, you will come across as if you came preloaded with something to sell. Even if you have a sales tool that perfectly fits their situation, LEAVE IT IN YOUR BRIEFCASE! Save it for the 2nd meeting.
- Describe options and explain general concepts. Whatever you do, do not start trying to teach them how crediting methods work, or everything involved with life underwriting. Give them comfort that you think you have some things that would help them and meet the needs they have told you about. It’s okay to explain general concepts, like, “When the market goes up you will earn profits, and when the market goes down you won’t lose a penny—and your gains are locked in”.
- Answer ALL their questions. Don’t try to save something for the next meeting. If they ask how surrender penalties work (these client asked), explain it in simple terms and give an example. “For a $50,000 annuity, you can take up to 10% per year with no early withdrawal penalties. And if you need a bit more, the penalty only applies to the amount over the free 10%. So, if you needed $6,000…$5,000 would be free and you would only have a fee on $1,000”.
- Ask for the 2nd appointment by building it into the process of finding the very best strategy for them. Explain that you represent dozens of carriers that offer hundreds of different annuity (or life) variations, and you will need to compare the best ones to see which would give them the most benefits and highest returns (or most liquidity, or highest bonus, or whatever the needs are they shared with you). Then set a time to get back together to show them the results of your analyses using THEIR dollar amounts and timelines.
For more tips give us a call.
~ Greg Skogsberg