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5 Things You Should Be Doing in Your First Meetings to Increase Close Rate

December 06, 20234 min read

As a financial advisor, your first meeting with a client is an opportunity to establish a rapport and build trust. Unfortunately, many clients find this first meeting intimidating and overwhelming, which can make it difficult for them to open up about their financial concerns and goals. In this blog post, we’ll explore some simple changes you can make in the way you speak to clients in the first meeting to help them feel more comfortable, trusting, and in control.

1. Focus on Building a Relationship

The first meeting with a client is not the time to start talking about investment options or financial plans. Instead, focus on building a relationship with the client. Ask questions that show you’re interested in understanding their values, priorities, and goals, and listen carefully to their responses. Make eye contact, use active listening techniques, and pay close attention to nonverbal communication. This can be made more difficult when doing virtual appointments but it can be achieved by politely asking the client to turn on their camera if they’re able. It can also be beneficial to explain that you’re asking this of them to better connect face-to-face instead of face-to-black screen. By making this connection, you’ll help the client feel more comfortable and willing to open up about their financial concerns.

2. Use Simple, Accessible Language

One of the biggest barriers to effective communication between clients and financial advisors is the use of complex financial jargon. Clients may feel embarrassed or intimidated if they don’t understand the terminology used in financial planning. As a financial advisor, it’s your job to communicate complex financial concepts in simple, accessible language that the client can understand. Use visual aids, analogies, and real-world examples to help illustrate your points. Additionally, certain questions you may ask could be excluding. For example, “Do you have kids?” or “Are you married?” could be hard to answer for certain clients who may have lost a loved one or are recently divorced. These are hard subjects to talk about (especially when first meeting someone), instead try asking “Tell me about your family.” This way the client can decide what personal information they are comfortable sharing and avoid any awkward interactions.

3. Encourage Questions and Feedback

Encourage clients to ask questions and give feedback during the first meeting. Let them know that you value their input and that you’re there to help them make informed financial decisions. If a client appears uncertain or confused about something, take the time to explain it in greater detail. Giving clients the opportunity to ask questions and share their thoughts can help them feel more in control of the financial planning process. Again, asking questions may be embarrassing or intimidating for certain clients. To encourage them, we recommend stopping at intervals during the meeting to ask them if they have any questions about what was just gone over. Be sure to do so in an inclusive manner such as “I know what we just discussed can be confusing. People usually have some questions about it, is there anything I can clarify you?” Recognizing that it’s not easy to understand and that others may struggle with it as well can make the client feel more comfortable with their own uncertainty and more willing to ask for help.

4. Be Transparent About Fees and Services

Clients want to know what they’re paying for and what services they’ll receive in return. Being transparent about fees and services from the outset can help establish trust and avoid misunderstandings down the line. If the client has concerns about fees, take the time to explain how they’re calculated and what they cover. But, remember that you should not include a sales pitch of any kind in the first meeting! These clients are still deciding if they want to work with you and pitching them can be off putting. The difference between fee transparency and a sales pitch should be mastered. This will increase client trust and (hopefully) your closing rate.

5. Follow Up Promptly

After the first meeting, be sure to follow up promptly with the client. This could involve sending them a summary of the meeting or scheduling the next meeting to discuss financial planning options. In fact, we recommend scheduling the second meeting before you even finish the first. Your value is fresh in mind and they are more likely to agree to a second meeting. Another tip is to not schedule more than 2 weeks out (we find it lowers show rate for second appointment). It’s still important to continue with follow-up to ensure they attend the second meeting. Maintaining good communication throughout the financial planning process can help clients feel more comfortable and reassured that their financial goals are being taken seriously. 

By making simple changes in the way you communicate with clients during the first meeting, you can make a significant difference in how they feel about the financial planning process. If you have any questions or would like to know more about our marketing for financial advisors, go here!

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