Converting prospects into clients

By Ken Unger

Million Dollar Producer

Are all of your prospects becoming clients? If not, then it's time to revisit your interviewing skills. If you can set up an environment during your initial client interview in which prospects understand the services your offer, how you operate, and why they need to do business with you, you will close all of your prospects.

The goal of your initial prospecting interview is very simple: to bring that prospect back for a second meeting. It is essential that you follow one general rule: Never sell anything at the first appointment except the second appointment. If that prospect never comes back, then you have no chance of doing business with him or her, and your time spent was wasted.

So, how do you increase the likelihood that a prospect will agree to a second meeting? You do so by establishing credibility and trust; being honest, upfront and caring; uncovering true financial issues; and letting them know you can offer strong solutions.

A well-designed initial interview should consist of five stages that will lead you to your goal of ensuring the next meeting. The five stages are:
    1. Establishing your credibility
    2. Breaking down your prospect's defenses
    3. Evaluating your prospect's situation
    4. Letting your prospect know you have solutions
    5. Discussing your compensation
An effective client interview will allow you to fully display how you do business and why someone should do business with you. If you discuss these five issues, the prospect will be more likely to say, "Yes, I'd like to come back for the next meeting and pre-commit to doing business with you."

The key to these five steps is getting agreement. That is, you need to establish a working relationship with the prospect so they understand how you operate and how you can help them. Be thorough in discussing the five key aspects of your prospect's financial life, which are their:
  • Protection plans
  • Income tax
  • Estate plan
  • Retirement plan
  • Investment plan
If you do this, you will be ahead of most of other advisors with whom they meet.

While reviewing these areas, you will easily find opportunities to make recommendations that can help your prospects. It is critical that you do not offer specific advice, but just generic confidence in areas that you can help make their financial plan better.

Agreement is something that you must get from these prospects in different ways. Doing so will increase your client's comfort level and ensure they are ready and willing to do business with you. At Million Dollar Producer, for example, we always let prospects know that we are not "yes" people. We will always be as objective as possible, and we always let them know that our recommendations are in their best interest.

To maximize your initial client interview, think about your prospect's three main concerns and then address them during your presentation.

The bottom line is that you need to establish credibility and build trust if you want to improve your initial client interview and convert more prospects to clients. If you can help prospects solve their problems and your skills are at their peak, you will ensure that prospects become clients.

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