Maximize the First Meeting with a Sample Advisor Script
• Joe Buhrmann • January 26, 2023
Something I’ve learned over many years in this industry is this: Clients will choose you based on the questions you ask, not the answers you give.
What does that mean? Well, it means the days of showing clients your sheet of top 10 stocks or telling them what they need before you get to know them are long gone. It’s really crucial to be asking questions that can not only help you understand the client, but also help the client better understand what they want from the process. You may even help uncover the “goal behind the goal,” the unspoken wish they’ve yet to find the words to say.
In service of that, I’ve developed a financial advisor first meeting script and agenda that you can use in an initial meeting with a prospect. The sample dialog is there to show how a question and follow-up sequence might play out.
First Meeting Agenda for Financial Planners
The meeting with this prospective client begins long before the actual event time. Their perception of how the meeting will go begins to take shape in their mind from the moment they’ve agreed to it. That’s why you should be intentional and use clear communication to set expectations with an agenda. After all, most people are not comfortable talking about money with a stranger. Whatever you can do to smooth the path for them, you should do it.
Here’s a sample of a first meeting agenda you might send in a meeting invite; tailor it as necessary to work for your purposes.
Meeting Invite Subject Line: Introductory Call with [advisor or practice name]
First Meeting Agenda
1. Your key questions, concerns, and goals for financial planning
2. How we’ll work with you to solve for your ideal future
3. Any follow-up questions you may have
4. Next steps
Advisor First Meeting Script
Start by establishing a personal connection if possible: how the prospect found you, who referred the prospect, and how you both know them—anything you might have in common based on the information you have about the person. A quick search of Facebook or LinkedIn may provide insight into their profession, favorite hobbies, and more.
Advisor: Good morning! Thank you [prospect name] for taking the time to meet with me. We last spoke at the charity golf tournament. Such a great cause. I hear they broke their fundraising record this year.
Client: I heard that! Yeah, that was a fun event.
Opening question (focused on discovering the immediate needs)
Advisor: So, what brings you in today—what’s your most pressing financial concern right now?
Client: I’m not sure how to invest my 401(k) ahead of retirement, or how to best use it to replace my paycheck. With the markets the way they are, I don’t know if I will have enough to retire on the date I’ve been thinking of.
While walking through your planning platform and explaining your client experience “cookie recipe” so to speak, you might also show them the client portal or client vault they’ll receive. Once you’ve learned what they’re looking to solve, you have several options for illustrating to the client that you can help solve their issue. You can use a storytelling approach, making a comparison to a client you’ve helped who was in a similar position, or use sample client data in your financial planning platform to show one way to solve their issue, or some combination of both. Stories and visuals are both powerful ways to communicate with the client.
Advisor: I completely understand. A lot of people worry about draining their portfolio prematurely in retirement. You’ve come to the right place because I help clients create streams of income and protect themselves against swings in the market. Let me show you how that might look in my financial planning tool.
Client: Sounds great. Let’s take a look.
Once you’ve demonstrated how your capabilities can help in their situation, it’s time to refocus on the client. You can ask questions that reveal their expectations for the relationship, as well as ones that explore their general money mindset.
Exploring overall expectations
Advisor: Describe your ideal financial future—if you worked with me, what would be the desired outcome?
Client: Well, I’d really like to have enough money to really enjoy my retirement.
Advisor: Tell me more. What are you retiring to? Paint me a picture of what retirement looks like for you.
Client: Well, I have this goal to visit all the pro hockey stadiums in North America, for example. So, I guess the ideal thing would be to have the freedom to travel and see things I’ve always wanted to see.
Discovering client service expectations
Advisor: Tell me about your experience with other advisors or financial professionals.
Client: Well, I was working with this one advisor. I went back to managing my portfolio myself because he never responded to my calls.
Advisor: I’m sorry to hear that. Responsive communication is so important. We make it a priority in my practice, with regular calls and a monthly newsletter to keep everyone on the same page.
Getting clues to the client’s money mindset
Advisor: Tell me about your experiences with money that stand out.
Client: My grandparents scraped by through the Great Depression, so I come from a long line of savers who make the most of their resources. It’s been ingrained in me.
Advisor: I can relate to that. And many of my clients are “super savers.”
Uncovering any lingering concerns
Advisor: Thanks for walking me through your main goals for financial planning at this time. Are there any questions I can answer about the process, our fees, or how we’ll work together?
Client: Can you explain your fee structure, how that would work?
This might be where you share a letter of engagement. Be transparent about your fee structure, regardless of what format it takes. Your client will appreciate your honesty and transparency when it comes to how they’ll pay for services. This is also the ideal time to highlight what they’ll receive in exchange for the fee, such as client portals, aggregation, vault, initial planning and ongoing reviews, access to client events, etc.
Advisor: If you’re ready to get started, the next step would be for the team to email you the initial paperwork and then we can set a time for our next meeting. How does that sound?
Client: Sounds great. Let’s get started.
Staying Focused on the Ultimate Goal
This simplified framework keeps everything focused on the goal of the meeting—to move the client forward in the process. It’s focused on connecting with that person.
That’s because whether a prospect will decide to work with you is a result of how understood they feel, and whether you were able to build rapport in the meeting. Solving their exact issues will come later. For now, it’s enough that you have connected with them and demonstrated that you are the right person to guide them along in their journey.
Gaining More Prospects
If you’re looking to find more prospects to book meetings with, I recommend reading 6 Effective Financial Professional Prospecting Tactics. It can help you gain insight into your ideal clients, where to find them, and how to get the conversation started.
DISCLAIMER: The eMoney Advisor Blog is meant as an educational and informative resource for financial professionals and individuals alike. It is not meant to be, and should not be taken as financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. Those seeking professional advice may do so by consulting with a professional advisor. eMoney Advisor will not be liable for any actions you may take based on the content of this blog.
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