Every investment advisor I know has a fairly standard procedure for dealing with initial calls from prospects. They "qualify" them and, if they are suitable, invite them to a meeting. In order to make the meeting "as productive as possible", they ask the prospect to either bring in, or send in advance, their financial information, including income tax statements, life insurance policies, and statements showing all of their investments. When the prospect arrives for the meeting, after a few perfunctory comments, attention is swiftly focused on the information provided.
Based on the research I did for my forthcoming book, The Smartest Sales Book You'll Ever Read, this process lessens the possibility of converting a prospect into a client.
Instead, treat the initial meeting as a blind date. How would you handle the initial call and your first dinner date? Would you ask your date to bring anything to dinner? Would you inquire about deeply personal issues like salary and future prospects shortly after you sat down?
Of course not. Instead, you would try to get to know the other person by asking very general questions. You would want to find out if you shared interests and values. Only after your relationship had progressed -- perhaps on the second or third date -- would the conversation turn to details that could be considered "personal." By then you would have established a relationship of trust and confidence. The conversation would "feel right."
Sales is akin to dating. In my initial meeting with prospects, I just want to get to know them and I want them to do the same with me. I don't ask them to bring anything to the meeting. More often than not, we either don't discuss the details of investing or do so very briefly. Sometimes they bring information even though I have not requested it. If they voluntarily give it to me and ask me questions about it, they have signaled a comfort with doing so and I respond to their questions. More typically, at the second meeting we start to "get down to business", but only when the prospect indicates a clear willingness to do so.
This process shifts control from the advisor to the prospect, where it belongs. Of all the suggestions I make to the advisors I coach, this one has produced the most transformational response.