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4 common first appointment mistakes

Those who read the last edition of The Finnovator (and downloaded our 9-Step First Appointment tool) will know that I’ve been doing work recently on first appointments.

Specifically, it’s been about making sure when you get to the stage of meeting with a client, and it’s the right client for your business, you can move the conversation along effectively.

Because, when the first appointment just doesn’t “work”, it can cause a few frustrations.

  1. A bunch of time wasted in a long conversation with someone only there for free information.
  2. You know you can make a difference to the client, but can’t lead them to the same conclusion.
  3. Or, you have a great discussion but it has no firm next steps and lapses into procrastination.

The fear I see a lot of advisers struggle with, especially if they have a string of these experiences, is that there is something wrong with the way they’re doing it. They start to believe their whole process is somehow “broken”, and start to re-invent. What most want is.

  1. Just enough of a conversation to demonstrate value and proceed, or quickly identify those not ready to take advice and just want  information (if they slip through the pre-vet net) so you can give it to them.
  2. A means to easily show clients what you do in a way that has them asking for your help (Buy/Pull engagement, instead of Sell/Push).
  3. A way of creating momentum that goes beyond the appointment.

The outcome is always a more efficient conversation and better conversion experience all round. If you find yourself stuck with the former frustrations, consider these four “tweaks”

  1. Ease up on the enthusiastic rapport. Only three types of people are ultra-friendly. Friends, family and car salespeople. As an adviser, you’re none of the three, so you’re looking for that comfortable tone that says “Let’s begin…” not “I’ve drunk too much coffee!!!!!!!!”
  2. Let up control of the process. It’s important you have a process, but not all clients buy the same way. If you find yourself feeling like you’re dragging a client through the experience, it might be worth giving them the option of redefining the agenda upfront and finding out the real, immediate (and often unstated) reason they’re here speaking to you. Why now? What’s the real problem?
  3. Is there actually a gap? Have an emotional conversation about the future, rather than just an intellectual one. Uncover the truth about their situation, rather than the version they tell themselves. Help them explore the real gap between the two. If there’s a true gap there and you can help them reach their own realisation that current situation + current course of action will not equal desired outcome, then price is very rarely a barrier. If there isn’t a gap though, then…
  4. Raise the bar on prospects. Don’t take just anyone. For 100 reasons I’m only to happen to talk about, if you’re accepting anyone and everyone it will catch up with your business eventually. Too many advisers start to question whether it’s their problem, when it’s often simply that they’re not seeing people who actually need their help. If the problem is you can’t find them, then you’re got a marketing and attraction problem, not a conversion issue.

Obviously, there’s more to it than just these four tweaks. Other issues can arise when you’re not asking for a decision, rushing your meeting conclude, only using conversational means to engage or not outlining your advice “prescriptions”.

However, these four are a good place to start if you find yourself wondering how to convert better.

What are some of the tweaks you may have made to “fix” your first appointment process? What do you find is the biggest indicator of whether you’ll end up working with a client or not?

Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

If you liked this post, feel free to let me know by tweeting it to me @stew_bell using the Twitter icon below. Speak to you soon.

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