Client meetings have always formed the backbone a professional financial planners workday. It’s undoubtely the most important element that determines ones reputation and success, and the satisfaction of ones clientele. It doesn’t matter how do you sound on the phone, how good your website is or what kind of marketing strategies do you employ, in the end, it all comes down to your skills during face-to-face communication.
This article will help you understand certain aspects you need to master in order to develop long-lasting relationships that will help you generate many referrals in the long run and establish yourself more firmly in the business.
Preparation – Always prepare for your appointments. Do your research and think in advance about your clients needs. How can you make the interaction as pleasant and result oriented as possible? Reassess previous phone calls and understand the most important points that your potential client is going to address during the meeting.
Listen to the client – Many insurance professionals are preoccupied about getting their own agenda through at all costs and the make the crucial mistake of not paying enough attention to what their partner has to say in the first place. Listen carefully, as it not only communicates trust but ensures that you don’t waste your clients’ time. It is about them, not you.
Be punctual – Attention to detail should be one of the core personality traits of an aspiring planner. Arrive exactly on time for the meetings if not slightly earlier. Send pre-meeting and post-meeting notes, reminders, choose a location which fits the client and ensure that there are no distractions during the meeting, including your cell phone. You need to live up to what you promise – reliability and expertise.
Grooming – Take care of yourself and take it seriously. Just as in finances, every detail matters.
Dressing – Individuals working in the financial sector need to pay extra attention to how they dress. People trust us with their financial information and they need to be assured that it is in safe hands. Everything about you has to match the values you’re trying to communicate – trust, reliability and precision. Go to extra lenghts to select clothes and shoes which are elegant and of high quality.
Take notes – Make sure you take notes during the meetings. You need to do this in such way that it doesn’t bother your client. You note down the most important things your partner is seeking and what can you do to help him/her.
Be short and to the point – Understand and respect the value of your clients’ time. Get straight to the point and even the conversation shifts off topic, don’t let it go overboard. This requires a great deal of experience and calibration, but as time goes, you’ll master it.
Speak with energy – Make the appointment memorable and pleasant for your potential client. Be sure to always bring in a slightly higher energy level in the conversation. It’s vital for both of you to look forward to the next meeting and always leave feeling better than before.
Ask for other means of contact – Always ask for other and additional means of contacting your client, regardless of the fact whether it’s your first meeting or an annual one. Phone numbers change as well as e-mails and home addresses, and this is a great opportunity to update your contact book. Ask for day phones as well, it makes it easier to arrange further appointments.
Schedule the second meeting on spot – Let the client write it down the date and time of your next meeting. This makes things easier, faster and smoother.
By John Hester