According to recent studies, meetings are one of the top-five time wasters. Although meetings are meant to be productive and educational, oftentimes, a clear message is not delivered. For financial advisors, a successful first meeting with a plan sponsor may seem to be hit or miss.
Success starts with an early arrival at your meeting. You want to make sure you can get into the room to set up your equipment, if you have any. This includes making sure your laptop, projector, etc. are up and running properly. You should give yourself enough time to review your notes to make sure that you are prepared to speak as soon as the meeting begins. Practice the first few sentences out of your mouth, so they sound nature.
The R-Factor Question™
A good way to start your meeting is to ask the R-Factor Question™:“If I were meeting here three years from today and you were to look back over those three years, what has to have happened during that period, both personally and professionally, for you to feel happy about your progress?” The answer to this question can give you great insight into the prospective client’s needs and desires for the immediate future.By uncovering this information, you can set the tone for the rest of the meeting. You can focus on what is relevant to the prospect and how you can help them achieve their goals. By following up with more specific questions, you can gain more foundational information that you can use later in the meeting.
The D.O.S.™ Process
The goal of every first meeting is to uncover your prospect’s Dangers, Opportunities and Strengths (D.O.S.™). This will enable you to demonstrate your skill and desire to work for their company as their pension consultant. You can also gather plan data from the sponsor to assess where the plan is and what it can achieve in the future. Using this process, you ask the prospect about three dangers thatneed to be eliminated, three opportunitiesto be leveragedand three strengths to maximize.
The dangers could include poor performance, high employee turnover, lack of prospect education,low participation, maxed-out employer contributions, etc. By identifying the areas that are hazardous, you can demonstrate how you can reduce or eliminate these problems as their plan consultant.
The opportunities could include employee retention within the plan, better plan performance, educational meetings, etc. These opportunities present easily attainable objectives for you to accomplish. You can then incorporate these objectives into your proposal.
Finally, the strengths can include a profitable company, profit-sharing contributions, good or competitive benefits, etc. Each answer the prospect gives can lead to a discussion that will reveal valuable information in a short period of time. All of the plan sponsors’D.O.S. answers can be highlighted in your proposal, proving how your unique services fit their needs.
After completing the R-Factor Question™ and the D.O.S.™process, you can then proceed with your presentation.This presentation should highlight your skill and credibility. Now you can now focus on the areas, which the plan sponsor has already discussed with you. Be sure to give your written materials to the prospect after your meeting is finished, so their attention will be on your presentation and not the handout. When you are finished, schedule a second meeting. In this meeting, you will need to provide additional analysis of the information you have gathered, including their plan, plus discuss your fees.
Your first meeting is a great opportunity that will set the tone for your relationship with the prospect. After a productive meeting, the prospect is much more likely to consider your services. By using a repeatable process, you increase your chances of success by impressing the prospect with your expertise, as well as with the creative solutions that you can provide to eliminate the dangers, leverage the opportunities and maximize the strengths.