By now you’re most likely consuming every bit of information on how to run your business from home. But how much of this information pertains to you, and your practice, as a financial advisor? General advice doesn’t always suffice, especially when the blogger or source is missing crucial information about our industry in general.
We’ve been working hard on creating content that actually relates to how a financial advisor’s business works and have been adapting our best material for the “virtual space”. For more of those articles, sign up for alerts on this page, or take some time to peruse our latest updates.
One of those crucial pieces of advice we often relay is about the appointment process. We also realize your appointments right now probably look a lot different. If you need help with how to run virtual appointments, check out our whitepaper on becoming a Virtual Advisor. Or if you prefer something a little more down to business, here’s our Communications Checklist.
In the past we’ve created material around the appointment process, including do’s and don’ts, questions to ask and more. Those rules still apply but may take on a different tone considering the virtual interface. While I’m sure you’re fearful that a video conference lacks the same intimacy as an in-person meeting, that’s simply not the case. A video conference still allows you to see facial expressions and body language, in addition to hearing tone of voice. This is what’s necessary to form that bond with a prospect, and all are accomplished in a video format.
So how do you run a virtual appointment? The answer is – a lot like how you run an in-person appointment. You want to make a good first impression, and a lot of that has to do with how you prepare for the first appointment. We always suggest running a “test” appointment with an employee or even family member if available so you can knock out any kinks that may pop up. But if you’re appointment process was struggling while you had an office to meet prospects, then keep reading. A video screen won’t correct for a bad first appointment.
Send an agenda and digital welcome packet.
Having an agenda ready helps your prospect formulate questions before the meeting as well as gives them an opportunity to see how long this appointment is expected to take. It’s easier right now for people to take a lunch break meeting due to being at home, with the added benefit of not needing to commute to your office. Take advantage by giving them a succinct first appointment. A digital welcome packet prior to the meeting also helps them become familiar with the discussion that’s going to take place and you won’t need to explain little details if those materials are sent before the appointment. Get your prospect in the headspace for this first appointment by supplying them with questions to think about.
Include spouses in the meeting
Encourage married prospects to include their spouse in the meeting, and make sure you set a time so both can attend. Ask this question prior to the meeting and make sure to reach out to both of them with the necessary welcome materials. You want both partners involved in the process as they tend to have different financial goals. You don’t want to help a client with a plan only to discover much later that their spouse isn’t on board. Include in your welcome packet something like this: Conditions of Satisfaction Survey. This will help clients start thinking about their planning priorities. We always ask clients to complete it independently – without their spouse. This way you’ll get each partner’s interpretation of the questions, their goals, and expectations. This will help you plan a tailored solution to meet those goals.
Have the Right Questions Prepared
What you’re trying to do during your first appointment is figure out what expectations the prospect has, the opportunities they have for growth, and gauging their risk tolerance. This is incredibly challenging as you’re asking a prospect to trust you with some very personal information, and they may not feel comfortable giving it to you at first. That said, the way to discover their expectations, risk tolerance and opportunities for growth means getting to know them with questions tailored for the information you need in order to proceed with formulating a personalized plan. Here’s where Kinder’s Three Questions comes into play. Fill out the form on that page to receive the document.
Don’t be afraid to schedule in 5 to 10 minutes of general getting-to-know you questions, or a space to talk about what’s currently affecting the market. Let your prospect vent to you, and make sure you listen! Noting personal details like sports teams they’re missing out on, how many children they have and whether or not they’re in need of assistance can help you build a relationship. Even if now is a bad time for them to transfer assets, they’re more likely to leave the meeting feeling heard if you leave space for them to speak freely. They’re also more likely to remember the interaction as pleasant, which is also a plus.
Please click on the linked material in this post as a lot of the resources are incredibly valuable – especially for that first appointment. This post is meant as a bird’s eye view of the appointment process, and the related attachments get into details that are imperative for a successful first appointment. Remember: the same rules apply for virtual meetings. The only difference is the screen between you and your prospect. If you’re having difficulty setting first appointments right now, check out our post on prospecting while remote. This should help you get aligned for running a digital business.