by Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA
How far will you go to make sure that you prospect during your meetings? If you are committed and prepared to make it happen, it’s time to make prospecting bullet proof. Here’s how:
Protect your prospecting Announce it with intention at the beginning of every meeting. Solidify your commitment by saying it verbally and also providing a paper copy of the agenda for you and your client. Hand your client a pen to encourage his or her engagement and participation.
Sample Fact Finder agenda: (ask the client to provide any changes or updates and write them down together) I. Overview & questions II. Goals & purpose III. Current financials IV. Planning V. About my practice (This is where you can verbally explain that you grow your practice through referrals only and mention that you will ask during the meeting.)
Produce a general agenda for every type of meeting—annual reviews, closes, etc and use one every time. Avoid putting names and dates on them so that you reduce room for error. Consider using a different color of paper for each type of meeting.
Conduct prospecting at any time except at the very end of the meeting. Let’s face it—life happens. Sometimes your client or QS is running late. Or maybe you’re running late. Or perhaps you or your client talks more than you had planned. Don’t risk having to cut prospecting from the meeting! Find a natural resting point and switch gears.
Sample language for prospecting in the middle of meetings: (to occur when it feels like a break would be welcome) - Thank you, client, for being so open and transparent with me. It will help me to prepare a very accurate plan and recommendations for you. - Let's pause for a moment. What are you feeling at this point in the meeting? [client answers] - What has been the most helpful part of the meeting so far? [client answers] - I'm so glad to hear that! Can I ask for your help? [client answers] - Who do you know and care about in your life that might enjoy this same conversation? Think about successful people you know who are busy climbing the ladder at work and also raising a family—much like you.
[Conduct conversational prospecting, include the collaborative teeing-up process!]
- Thank you so much for these referrals. They sound like great people. I'm really excited to meet them. We're in the home stretch of the meeting. Let's switch gears now and move on to [remaining items]. Sound good?
Go in to every meeting with a contingency plan The moment you know that you are going to run short on time in the meeting for prospecting, implement your pre-planned contingency plan immediately. What can you cut, and go back for later, to buy back 10-15 minutes? Write your own contingency plan to suit your methods.
Sample high level contingency plan for a Fact Finder meeting: - Cut back on one or more of these questions on page one of the Fact Finder (or ask the client “In one or two sentence, can you tell me…”): “Looking at the short term, what would you like to achieve or accomplish in the next 3 years?” and/or “In the next 4-10 years?” - Collect detailed client personal and family information later or via email - Shorten educational information - Edit any sections for which you can easily follow up with the client later
Sample high level contingency plan for a close:- Start with recommendations. - With each recommendation, ask the client for only how in-depth they would like you to go in order to feel comfortable moving forward with planning. Do not explain in greater depth than the client needs or wants.
Consistent prospecting can be the difference between making your goals and falling short. Build in the systems you need to make it happen—every single time!
Coaching Tip Consider having branded pens with your contact information made. Not only is it professional but the FRs who take this step tend to consistently engage their clients more and feel abundant. Handing someone a pen and a printed agenda is an invitation to participate.