What does the perfect client meeting look like to you? How about this — you provide great value to your clients, they love your work and they have two ideal prospects to whom they will introduce you right away.
How do you make this happen? By running meetings that are purpose driven and passion fueled. Here are the steps you want to take to make this perfect-meeting scenario possible.
Engaged Clients Give Referrals
Client satisfaction may be enough for you to keep that client, but it’s not always enough for you to become referable. The key to becoming super-referable — so that you get referrals without asking and you have receptive clients when you do ask for referrals — is to create engaged clients.
There are two qualities of an engaged client.
First, they are engaged with your value. They like the questions you ask, the things you teach, the perspectives you share and your responsive service.
Second, they like who you are — as a person. You’ve made a human connection with them. One of the fastest ways to make this human connection is to share your client-focused why — why you believe in your value. There is often a short story (keep it short) associated with your client-focused why. People listen to stories differently. If you’re asking your clients to give you influence over their current and future financial lives, they want to know who you are as a person. Share your why in the very first appointment with your prospect.
The Perfect Meeting Starts Before The Actual Meeting
Creating the perfect client meeting — a meeting that creates a strong value connection and strong human connection with your client and that allows you to leverage those connections for introductions to others — starts before you’re even in front of the client. It starts in your meeting preparation.
Just like a baseball player has a pre-game routine before each game, so can you use a pre-appointment routine to increase your chances of success. Here are the four bases you want to cover.
1. Create an agenda
You will run more efficient and more effective meetings if you operate from an agenda. Your clients will appreciate your preparation and organization. And you’ll have more time to cover the important topics.
On your agenda (usually the next-to-last item) put Value Discussion. The Value Discussion — checking in with your clients to make sure they feel good about your value — is the first step in asking for introductions. (See Sidebar.)
2. Who do you know; who do they know?
The easiest and most comfortable way to ask for introductions is to ask for an introduction to a specific person you know that your client knows — someone your client has mentioned in a previous meeting, such as friends, family members and/or colleagues.
“George — I know your sister and brother-in-law are in the area. How do you feel about introducing me to them? Can we explore an approach that would feel comfortable to everyone and that might pique their interest in knowing about me?”
If you don’t know of anyone specific in your client’s life, then you can move to categories of life events and money in motion. The goal is to keep the focus narrow, so your client can begin to picture people in their mind’s eye.
3. Practice your approach
Until you feel super confident and fluid with your conversation about introductions, I highly recommend that you write out your basic script (or at least some bullet points) and practice. Practice with a colleague, or practice in your car as you’re driving to the appointment.
4. Activate your awareness
I’ve found that many financial professionals become so immersed in running their meetings, they lose awareness of some important things that can happen in a meeting. Right before every client meeting, go through this checklist to activate your awareness, so you’ll notice:
» What has changed in your client’s life?
» What can you discuss about their family, friends and/or other interests to keep the human connection strong?
» What value-recognizing statements do they make? These are statements of thanks and appreciation to you for the good work you are doing with them.
» Who do they know? Be genuinely curious about other people they mention (such as a couple with whom they spend time or family members that they mention). Genuine curiosity about your clients’ lives makes for good conversation and will help you build an “inventory” of possible introductions. I’m not suggesting you “pounce” on those mentions right at that moment. Perhaps later in the meeting or during a future meeting, you can suggest that person for a possible introduction.
Keeping your awareness relaxed and open during your meetings will help you see the ever-present opportunities to add value and leverage that value for introductions. Having the confidence to act on what you see will produce the results you want