Originally published on Advisor Perspectives
Advisors frequently tell me how baffled they were when they didn’t convert a prospect. Often they say something like, “It was such a great meeting. I have no idea why I didn’t land them.”
I have the answer.
The meeting wasn’t “great”
When we go over the details of the meeting, it becomes apparent that it was great – for the advisor.
If you are talking, and the prospect is listening passively, you will feel “great” after the meeting.
But the prospect won’t.
You made assumptions
It’s difficult to avoid making assumptions. I coach advisors on the peril of assumptions every day and I still fall into the trap myself.
Recently, an advisor asked me about marketing initiatives that might be effective at generating new business. I gave him a list that included podcasts. I explained why podcasts might work and the benefits of doing them.
He politely waited until I finished and told me he recently wrapped up his latest podcast.
I should have started the conversation with, “Tell me about the marketing initiatives you’ve tried.” I then should have asked follow-up questions about his experience with each one.
Did you make any assumptions in your meeting with the prospect? When you were asked a question, were you sure you understood the context so you could be really responsive?
Here’s an example. You’re asked, “How risky are your portfolios?” Instead of discussing how you can tailor a portfolio to any risk level, respond with this question, “Can you tell me more about your concerns relating to risk?”
Another common assumption is that you’re discussing something of interest to the prospect. The only way to know for sure is to wait for the prospect to ask a question or to say something like this, “Tell me what’s on your mind so I can be sure I’m dealing with the issues that are important to you.”
There’s often a huge disconnect between what advisors believe should be covered in the initial meeting and what’s top-of-mind for the prospect.
Fees and agreements
I recently interviewed developmental editors to assist me with a book proposal I’m writing. The proposal is for a self-help book for the general public. There are many talented editors who are eager to do this work.
One candidate explained how busy she is but told me that if I made an immediate payment of $100, she would reserve “a spot” for me.
Another launched into a protracted discussion in which he justified his fees. He explained that, when viewed in the context of the value he offered, he was “a bargain.”
I didn’t pursue a relationship with either of them.
The person who got the job asked a series of questions about the book, the demographic, and why I was motivated to write it. He then asked if I would be willing to send him the draft proposal so he could review it. When I did, he sent back extensive, insightful comments and told me I was free to use them whether or not I hired him.
I was so impressed with his comments, I told him I wanted work with him. Only then did he propose a fee, which I found reasonable.
I asked him if he had an agreement he wanted me to sign. Here’s what he told me, “You are trusting me with your words. I trust you to pay me.”
If we had met in person, and had this exchange, it would have been a “great meeting,” with a mutually beneficial outcome.