Financial advisory is certainly a tough and rather volatile industry but if there is one constant in this advisory world, it is that advisers are always in pursuit of new clients. The first meeting with a potential client will be jittery for almost all financial advisers. It’s your opportunity to either seal the deal, or potentially lose the client.
“An adviser should know what his intentions are. Is he going there to make a sale? Or is he there to understand his potential client better? He needs to effectively convey the value he can offer and together, that individual and the adviser should evaluate if there is a fit.”
– Mr Jeffrey Tan, Director of Synergy Financial Advisers.
It is important for you to be prepared to face the myriad of questions they may have. Your prospective client will be using this first meeting to evaluate you and to see if you are really the right person to plan their financial future.
It’s all in your attitude
A positive attitude can make a world of a difference. Make eye contact, give a firm handshake and listen intently when the client is speaking. So, steel yourself to rein in your training as a financial adviser and focus on listening rather than on hard selling. Presenting a calm and focused persona will let your potential client know that you are able to handle tough situations.
One of the biggest mistakes you can do is to walk through the door and launch into a spiel about your own accomplishments and how established your firm is. Clients may not necessarily care about these aspects; they want to know that you care about their needs and essentially, are able to meet them. Adopt a friendly approach and get to know your client by making small talk and breaking the ice before diving into business.
Do your homework
Certainly, you are going to have many questions for your client but the meeting should not be the first time you think about them. It is part of your job scope to do some research on your clients. Find out what this person cares about. Clients will find you trustworthy and capable if you show that you took the initiative to know about them or their line of work.
Furthermore, in today’s digital age, information is readily available on the Internet. You may be able to read about your client and their interests on various social media platforms. You can easily do some research on your client’s line of work through LinkedIn. A client’s work place can divulge a lot about the type of pressures the individual might be under and perhaps, even the way he or she looks at the marketplace.
Avoid ambiguity like the plague
The financial advisory world is far from cut and dried, and clients are bombarded with a wide range of options. It is often difficult to narrow down exactly what a client wants or needs due to there being many misunderstandings of services or products. It may be of no fault of yours but sometimes people are not even sure what questions they should be asking you.
You have to tactfully draw out a client’s needs and wants, and ensure that you explain the products and services in detail to avoid misconceptions. Clients are looking for frank answers, not obfuscation. Be clear and concise in the amount of money they should set aside to meet their financial goals.
Take notes and repeat after them
It is not only practical to take notes but it also builds trust with your clients. Taking notes throughout the meeting allows you to keep track of every detail that has been discussed and furthermore, it also shows the client that you are engaged and focused. It also means you are able to employ one of the oldest tricks in the book: saying their words back to them. To ensure that your client and you are on the same page, always repeat certain things back to them and ask them things like “….Did I get that right?” This is a neat tip to let your client know that you are taking their words seriously and in turn, this will increase the chances of them trusting you easily.