First Meeting Mistakes: The Round Up

Summertime Selling Skills

Over the last 9 weeks we’ve covered the biggest mistakes advisers make at first meetings. Whilst each one on its own is a clanger, the key is trying to eliminate all of them to create a really powerful first meeting experience, both for you and the prospective client.

Therefore, for the final week of my Summertime Selling Skills series, I give you a checklist of no-nos as we to do a quick refresh.


Mistake 1: Talking Too Much

  • You have two ears and one mouth. Use them in that proportion.
  • If you say it, the prospective client can disbelieve you. If they say it, it’s true.
  • One of the basic skills of selling anything is to control the meeting with (searching and interesting) questions.

Mistake 2: Using A Fact Finder

  • Remember that first date analogy? Asking a formal set of questions might be thorough, but if you did that on a first date it would probably be your last!
  • Have your best questions in front of you if you must, but don’t try to fill in your compliance approved fact finder.
  • Let the meeting flow, and be a conversation.

Mistake 3: Going For The Jugular

  • Don’t be a vampire adviser by asking just one or two questions, then diving right in there telling clients how to solve whatever it is they’ve mentioned.
  • Hold fire and ask more great questions.
  • Step out of your ‘selling comfort zone’ and open up a broader, higher value discussion around the client’s real life goals.

Mistake 4: Not Giving Enough At The Right Time

  • Whilst remembering that ‘telling is not selling,’ it is important to dangle a few ideas, wins or strategies to show the client they’ve come to the right place.
  • Don’t go into too much detail, but show the client a hint of the potential value you will add.
  • It’s important to give a little something back so when you tell them the cost of the work the client knows:
  1. you listened
  2. you understood
  3. you can help
  4. you are a genuine professional

Mistake 5: Fluffing The Fee Discussion

  • If you have asked good questions, listened well and dangled your value the simple next step is telling the client your fee.
  • Don’t waffle.
  • Keep it simple: “It will cost £xxx for the initial planning work.”

Mistake 6: Committing The Client To All Three Phases

  • Make it clear to the client that they are only committing to the first fee (the planning fee) at this stage of the process.
  • Remember the skydiving analogy? You may put too much pressure on the client too soon if you need them to commit to all three phases up front.

Mistake 7: Not Asking Searching & Interesting Questions

  • An important part of an adviser’s job is to help clients remember what is important to them.
  • Check out some of the gurus (Bachrach, Kinder, Sullivan, Nemeth) or contact me for some quick and dirty first meeting skills training.
  • Don’t tell people how good you are, show them by asking questions that help clients see their bigger issues.

Mistake 8: Not Dealing With The Answers (A Mistake In Two Parts)

1: Not Listening

  • You start asking great questions and your brain gets so caught up in what you are going to ask next, you miss the client’s answer. So listen up and really pay attention to what the client is saying.
  • Record the meeting so you can listen again later.

2: Not Recognising The Significance

  • This is a killer! It’s no good asking great questions, listening and even noting down the client’s answer if you fail to recognise the significance of the answers in the bigger scheme of things.
  • Ask yourself “what can I do to help this client start to live their dream right now?”

Mistake 9: Doing The Perfect First Meeting…To Only One Person

  • When working with a couple, make sure you don’t hold the first meeting with only one half of the couple.
  • Two outcomes are likely if you do a great first meeting to only one half of the couple:
  1. they don’t come back (because the person who attended the meeting can’t communicate your value as well as you can)
  2. the person who attended the meeting comes back with their partner and you have to do the first meeting again
  • Don’t be fooled by the person who claims they take care of the “money stuff” in the household. Whilst it might be true, you and I know the first meeting isn’t a discussion about “money stuff.” It’s a discussion about how-you-want-to-live-your-life stuff.

Mistake 10: Juggling All Of The Above

  • There is a lot to think about! The key to a great first meeting is to have a simple, but effective and repeatable process.
  • Make a video or an audio recording of your first meetings, so you can pick up which of the above habits you have, and start to eliminate them!
  • Role play with colleagues, and help each other.
  • Good luck. You can do this!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the Summertime Selling Skills series and that it has reminded you of some of the basics of good communication at the first meeting.

Next week we kick off the new Autumn Review Series.

By Brett Davidson


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