Prospect like a pro

Practice Management

Prospect like a pro

Conduct effective meetings with prospective clients with these four steps.

Prospect like a pro

Your existing clients can be helped to refer more by reminding them you are looking for referrals, helping them understand the problems you can solve for their friends and making it easy for them to connect you with their referrals.

When you and your client have discussed a prospect they think you can help, it’s time to connect with them. In some cases the client may agree to call and invite the prospect to a meeting or event; other times you may just have a name. Advisors often start on a social footing to help the prospect feel comfortable (meal, social event, etc.) before moving to the business conversation.

If you do progress into these conversations, use the steps below to maximize the productivity of your prospect meetings.

1. Learn about the referred prospect – Depending on the depth of the relationships involved, you may be able to learn essential information from the referrer. How did your name come up in conversation? Was there anything specific that caused the prospect to raise the issue? Does your client have a sense of what the friend is looking for? What is the current situation, prospect’s personality type or names of other potential decision makers involved? How did your client and the prospect leave it?

2. Decide the goal of the meeting – If the referring client and prospect have already talked and the prospect wants to have a business conversation with you, that’s a completely different meeting than you pursuing a prospect that doesn’t even see a need to know you. In this situation, you can set up an introduction meeting – such as a lunch or golf – which is strictly for getting to know each other with no business discussed. You’ll likely find that more than one may be required before business is discussed.

3. Identify your strengths relative to the prospect’s situation – What is the basis for you to suggest a meeting in the first place? How do you propose to add value for the prospect? This will often come out in your conversation with the referring client. Other times you may need to do some research or rely on the introduction meeting to uncover this.

4. Identify your weaknesses relative to the prospect’s situation – If you do get the opportunity for a conversation, what barriers might you run into? Does the prospect have needs you are ill-equipped to handle? Have they had bad experiences with other advisors? Conversely, do they have a strong relationship with their current advisor?

Prospecting can be like dating. It can be quick and easy if someone already likes you because their friend likes you. Or it can take a lot of work if that person is already going steady with someone else. 

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