First impressions are everything when clients consider new advisorsArticle added by Michael Kaselnak on July 19, 2012
Michael Kaselnak

Michael Kaselnak

Rochester, MN

Joined: May 16, 2012

My Company

Advisors do not allow themselves to be used. Salespeople invite it.

The first meeting with a prospect is the basis for everything else that occurs with that prospect. To put it more strongly, it is the crucible of your relationship. It is where the relationship is formed. If the relationship is crippled at the first meeting, then it will remain so and will probably die a short and painful death.

Too many salespeople spill their guts at the first meeting. They want to show how smart they are, and the prospects love it. They get what they want. Free information! I’ve talked to too many salespeople who tell me, “Oh, but Mike, they were really impressed with what I had to say. They loved my ideas!”

To which I ask, “Did they do business with you?”

And you know the answer: “Not yet. They’re thinking about it.”

Guess the end result. They took the information back to their current advisor.

Folks, no one comes to your office wanting to move their assets to you. They hate change. They hate the fact that they would have to go back and tell the guy they’ve been working with for 10 years that they are leaving. Think back to when you were going to break up with a girlfriend, even one you were sick of. You probably dreaded the actual break up. These people do not want to leave their broker no matter how much they complain about the service. If you think people come into your office for the first time with the idea they are going to move everything to you, then you are very wrong.

Make every meeting successful

You need to handle your first meeting with a very specific formula to guarantee success. What do I mean by success? To sell everyone? No. Success means getting people who need and want help to commit, and people who are there for free information gone. Period. Spend all your time with people who want help. Don't give free information. Advisors do not allow themselves to be used. Salespeople invite it.

So, what is the formula? First and foremost, this meeting needs to be conducted in a very non-adversarial manner. If the prospect starts to get defensive about their choices, their advisor, their anything, you are cooked. The meeting is done. Nobody wants to be told that they are doing things wrong.

With that in mind, let’s look at the anatomy of the perfect first appointment.

Take charge

You need to set the tone from the very moment the potential clients set foot in your office. Before their butts hit the chairs, you need to start into your meeting script. You need to do this so that they don’t start asking questions. The person who asks the questions runs the meeting.

You do not want the prospect asking questions yet because they are not qualified to do so.They need to know more about what you do before they will be able to pose quality questions. So you need to take control of the meeting and not allow questions until they are appropriate. The very simple way of doing this is to answer any question they have in a short, succinct way and then immediately ask a question back to them, bringing them back on track. This is a very cooperative way to keep the meeting under control.

What is most important to them?

You need to find out what is driving them emotionally. This is essential because most people who come to see you know they really don’t need you. Sure, they would like some good ideas, but they really don’t need you. They won’t end up in the gutter if they don’t work with you. They are generally fat, dumb and happy. How do you disturb them and help them to understand the problems that they may not be aware of, without becoming adversarial?
Financial vertigo

You cannot tell the potential clients that they are being screwed by their current insurance coverage. You must ask questions so that they discover for themselves that they are being screwed. If you say it, they will defend their position. If they say it, they will get angry and want change. What they say is the truth…what you say is BS.

For example, say you wanted me to use your golf pro. I say, “Thanks, I have one.”

You say, “But mine is better.”

“No, he’s not.”

“Yes, he is.”

And so on. Instead of convincing me that I should try your guy, you are pushing me toward my guy. Not good if you want me to change.

Say instead, “Oh great! You have a pro! Say, when he videotaped you what did he see? My guy saw that my left knee was breaking too soon.”

“Uh, my guy didn’t video tape me. Your guy does?”

“Yeah! Does your guy belong to the National Golf Pro Teacher’s Association?”

“I don’t know.”

Ask three or four questions in this manner and I am going to ask for the name of your golf pro. You don’t have to foist it on me.


Don’t push your way in by telling them all the things you can do for them. Ask them what they want you to do. Make them invite you in. Make them ask for help. Only then can you move on.

You must then get a commitment that if you do all the work, they will move all the money. That’s right, all the money. If you do this right at the first meeting, you will get that commitment. If you do it wrong, they will give you a $10,000 CD that’s coming due next week to work with. You can’t truly help someone if you only help them with one-twentieth of their portfolio, so why bother?

I developed a script using a conversational reasoning technique that gets them to commit 15 times in eight minutes to move all their money. In fact, by the 12th commitment they are generally telling me why they need to move to me. They tell me. I don’t tell them.

How often does this work?

One hundred percent of the time. Half of the people tell me they cannot commit and I tell them, "Thank you, come back when you are more interested." That is successful because I don’t waste my precious time doing someone else’s grunt work. And half the time they give me the commitment. Eighty percent of those who commit move all of their money.

So, I do half the work I used to do and get four times the premium I used to get. Do the first meeting the right way and save yourselves all sorts of problems and stress.
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