You just walked out of what you considered a successful first meeting. Now what? There are many things you can do to improve your odds of closing the deal, but having a consistent plan of action in place can ensure a higher success rate.There are five easy steps that you can use as the basis for your post meeting strategy.
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1. Memorialize the Meeting
Your first priority should be your notes from your meeting. As the minutes pass, you are likely to forget important details that could make all the difference when attempting to convert the prospect to a client. The best time to memorialize your notes is right after the meeting. Today, with all the available technology, it is easier than ever before to create a digital memory of the meeting.
Services such as copytalk.com will transcribe voice mail messages. You can also use a dictaphone and have your dictation transcribed. An even easier way is to use voice-recognition software, such as Dragon Naturally Speaking, that turns your speech into text on your computer. Whatever you choose to use, speed is of utmost importance since, as research has shown, responsiveness is one of the top reasons why a company selects one professional over another. These notes can then be turned into a proposal or used to answer the sponsor’s questions and sent to the prospect.
2. Develop the Value Proposition Letter
Plan to send a letter to the plan sponsor that outlines your value proposition. This letter should include a summary of your experience, your capabilities and the tools that you can provide, as well as your value-added services. Using your notes, you can also show how your unique services can reduce or even eliminate the plan sponsor’s current weaknesses and complement their strengths.
3. Thank the Referral Source
The second letter that you should send out is to the person who referred the prospect to you. Strong and consistent referral sources are the best way to keep your prospect pipeline flowing. If you work with the prospect’s CPA, TPA or other professionals, you want to build a strong relationship with them that will benefit your client. One way to accomplish this is by sending them a message about the meeting. They will be more likely to refer you business if they are kept in the loop about what’s happening with their client.
4. Evaluate the Meeting
The next step is to evaluate the first meeting and improve your process in the future. Whether the meeting was successful or not, self-evaluation of your performance is critical in moving towards a better overall process. Begin by creating a summary of your experience at the meeting, including where you’d like to improve. Ask yourself if you would do anything differently. By conducting this exercise, you can create a better experience for the next prospect.
5. Drip on the Prospect When No Second Meeting
Time may pass without another appointment with the plan sponsor, and there are many reasons why this happens. However, it does not necessarily mean that you are out of the running. The plan sponsor, as well as all your other prospects, should be added to your database. This way, you can continuously “drip” your marketing campaigns on the prospect. As research has shown, it takes approximately eight contacts to turn a prospect into a client. By maintaining a consistent flow of information to the plan sponsor, you can increase your closing ratio.
A lot of time and energy goes into planning and executing a successful first meeting, but this is not your only chance to shine. Even after the spotlight is off of you, you should work behind the scenes to continue to impress your prospect. By staying consistently in the plan sponsor’s mind and having a post meeting strategy in place, you can increase your conversion rate and your success.
Charlie Epstein, CLU, ChFC, AIF® is the founder of The 401k Coach® Program, which offers expert training for financial professionals to develop the skills, systems and processes necessary to excel in the 401(k) industry and facilitate successful retirement outcomes for plan sponsors and participants. Charlie Epstein has frequently been named to 401kWire’s Top 100 Most Influential People in the 401(k) Industry List and Top 300 Most Influential DC Advisor List. He was recently named to the Legg Mason Retirement Advisory Council.