I need to be efficient with my time.
I don’t want to waste time with people that aren’t going to go anywhere.
Those are two statements I hear from financial pros when they’re talking about their selling efforts and sales process.
In this installment of the 3 Reasons You’re Not Converting like you should series, I share the first reason that you’re not converting at your desired level.
Specifically, we’ll focus on the conversion from that first meeting to the next step because, in my opinion, that is where one of the biggest gaps is in getting those ideal clients moving forward to work with you.
The Reason You’re Not Converting: Your Misuse of Time
Ready? The first of the 3 Reasons You’re Not Converting is a misuse of time.
Financial pros often tell me that they have 15- or 20-minute intro meetings, and when I ask what happens during those meetings, they usually respond that they use that time to meet the prospect, make a quick connection, tell the prospect their story, and explain how they would work together.
This reflects the advisor’s typical objective for a first meeting: to qualify the prospect quickly before investing any more time in them.
Okay, but I usually ask some clarifying questions at this point:
- What are the questions you’re asking?
- What are you learning about them?
- What are they getting (in terms of information, connection, and an experience) to walk away with so that they confidently commit to the next step?
And that is where I notice the misuse of time.
A Poor Information Exchange Wastes Everyone’s Time
Advisors rush that first meeting thinking that they’re being efficient, and yet they’re not. They could be wasting time by not facilitating an exchange of the right information. And what is the right information? For the advisor it’s the info needed to qualify the prospect. But what about the prospect? What information needs to be exchanges so they get what they really need to make that next step for a commitment? If both people aren’t getting what they need from the exchange, it wastes everyone’s time.
That is where the time misalignment is.
Your process doesn’t matter much at this point. Their process for making this decision matters more.
Prospects Need Hope – and Some Information
In that first meeting what prospects need is hope and some information—but not a ton of data and details.
They need hope that you’re the person who can help them with their situation. That you can help them tackle a problem, capture an opportunity, or address a specific want or need. That’s what they need to make the commitment to spend more time and share more information. They need hope, and some information, that they’re in the right place talking to the right person.
So, stop rushing that first meeting. I don’t know if your first meeting should be 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour. It all depends on what needs to be accomplished during that time—for you and Them.
Then how do you know how long to plan for your first meeting?
Start with the end in mind.
Plan Your Meeting by Knowing Your Objective
First identify the objective of your time together. What information needs to be exchanged for each party to willingly commit to taking that next step together?
The focus on what they need to not only learn but to feel confident in that next decision should be part of the objective. Additionally, a focus on what you need to find out to qualify them to make sure that you can help them with their situation and that they are someone you would want to work with.
You each need to qualify, but the emphasis must be on their experience.
Here are some key considerations when planning the duration for your first conversation:
- What is the objective?
- What information needs to be discovered for you?
- What information needs to be surfaced and felt during this time for the prospective client?
- What questions need to be asked and answered for that to happen?
- How will you quickly reach a shared agenda and earn the right for a productive information exchange?
- How will you end the meeting with clear, specific next steps?
- How many people will be in the conversation? Are you talking to one person or two people?
Once you’ve gained clarity on those key points, you can identify how much time is needed to accomplish them.
Don’t be Afraid to Adjust Your Process
One advisor started with 15-minute first meetings. Then when she discovered she wasn’t completing a full conversation, she adjusted to 30 minutes. As she kept measuring, she realized that 45 minutes is her sweet spot. If she identifies they aren’t qualified, she’s able to end the meeting early. By giving herself, and the prospect, more valuable time she finds she gathers better information, and more prospects commit to the next step because they’re confident she can help them, and they feel heard.
So, while I don’t know how long your first meeting needs to be, the key is to use your time wisely. Don’t shortcut that first meeting because the time you invest early will pay off in the long run.
Stay tuned for the next installment where I’ll cover the second reason why you’re not converting at the level you should.
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