Presenting the Strategy Paper to Turn Prospects into Clients

Presenting the Strategy Paper to Turn Prospects into Clients

In my previous guest blog post, I explained how I dissected the confirmed file note by dividing it into four separate quadrants in order to create a strategy to take to my next meeting – the Strategy Paper Meeting (SPM), It should lead to a “yes”, the prospect agreeing to do business with me.

In summary, the primary purpose of the SPM is to highlight a problem; get their agreement to the problem; that they want to solve it; and then involve them in the decision-making process. That way the decision becomes theirs and all I had to do was the numbers based on their ability to pay. In relation to the latter, I found the best time to do that was after I had proceeded through the strategy paper up to the point of discussing the shortfall with them. More on that later. Now let’s focus on the strategy paper itself.

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5 Things Prospects Need to Know About You from the First Meeting

5 Things Prospects Need to Know About You from the First Meeting

Every initial meeting with a prospect is crucial. It took a lot to get them to finally agree to meet with you, and, in most cases, you only have one shot at making the right impression. If a prospect leaves the meeting still wanting critical information, you will not likely see them again. So, you carefully craft your initial meeting to ensure you check all the boxes, including:

– Your background and experience
– Understand your prospect’s needs and concerns
– Your process
– Your firm’s strengths and why you’re different
– Customer service expectations
– How you get paid
– Next Steps

As far as key information your prospect needs, that covers all the bases. It should also give you plenty of opportunities to demonstrate your competence and capacity to address your prospect’s needs and concerns.

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Agenda for the Strategy Paper Meeting (SPM): What Is It and How to Prepare It

Agenda for the Strategy Paper Meeting SPM - What Is It and How to Prepare It

By now you should be familiar with the concept of the File Note and how it helped me increase my closing rate to 9 out of 10 in life insurance sales. I found that the reaction to my file notes was one of people looking forward to our next meeting and how I was planning to deal with their particular situation. I called that meeting my Strategy Paper Meeting (SPM.)

Within the file note that they had previously confirmed, were a number of answers to my questions that highlighted problems to which they were not even aware existed at that time. My dissection process was to draw attention to those questions and their answers in such a simple format that would allow for frank discussion.

So, generally, the format for the SPM would look like this:

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The Importance of a Post-meeting Checklist

The Importance of a Post-meeting Checklist

Nailing that initial prospect meeting is crucial if you are to have any chance at starting a relationship. If you follow your first meeting preparation checklist to a T, you’ve established good rapport, shown your authentic self, listened more than talked, and pinpointed the person’s pain points. You mapped out the initial steps to address their biggest concerns and got agreement to forge ahead. What comes next?

In many respects, your follow-up to that first meeting is just as crucial as it will either reinforce your prospect’s positive feelings about you and the experience, or it could raise red flags triggering remorse. The initial meeting follow-up is your opportunity to showcase your commitment to excellent client service and set the tone for the new relationship.

Too often, advisors allow critical things to fall through the cracks, creating a perception of incompetence or not caring. That’s why a post-meeting checklist is just as essential as a meeting prep checklist culminating with a well-crafted follow-up email or letter setting the stage for the next step. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy checklist but completing the items on a timely basis is critical.

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The File Note: How to Increase Your Closing Rates to 9 out of 10 in Life Insurance Sales

The File Note - How to Increase Your Closing Rates to 9 out of 10 in Life Insurance Sales

At the conclusion of my previous guest post – “Making Every Initial Meeting with a Prospect Successful” – I mentioned that if I could point to one thing that increased my closing rate to 9 out of 10, it was the file note. This in effect acted as a pre-presentation vehicle and I believe it motivated people to really look forward to our next meeting and my eventual recommendations.

Here’s how to start using the file note to increase your life insurance sales.

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How to Increase Your Life Insurance Sales Making Every Initial Meeting with a Prospect Successful

How to Increase Your Life Insurance Sales Making Every Initial Meeting with a Prospect Successful

When people meet with you for the first time, subconsciously they have four questions that need to be answered. They haven’t thought about these questions in advance but they cross their mind during that meeting. If they are answered, this will ensure that there is not only a second follow-up meeting, but also presents the immediate opportunity to develop a long-term relationship:

Do I like you?
Do I trust you?
Are you competent?
Are you the sort of person who will put my best interests before your own?

In addition to these four questions, I believe that a person would also have to be thinking to themselves “this adviser makes sense!” if there is going to be an ongoing relationship.

How to make every fact-finding meeting a success

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How to Increase Your Life Insurance Sales through Preparation

I am of the opinion that one of the major stumbling blocks for new (and, surprisingly, even more experienced) Financial Advisers in conducting successful initial meetings with prospective clients (as well as review meetings with existing clients) is the lack of proper preparation.

In recent years Dealer Groups have introduced a one-size-fits-all templated fact finder document to be used by their advisers in both initial and ongoing discussions with prospective or existing clients. In terms of compliance requirements, the dealer group needed to protect itself from possible future litigation down the road and therefore many participated in designing the questions that their advisers could ask.

From my experience, I believed that there were two problems with this approach.

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Prospect Objections Are Often a Cry for Help. Your Job Is to Help Them.

Prospect Objections Are Often a Cry for Help. Your Job Is to Help Them.

As a financial advisor, you are valued for your expert knowledge, but you are only as effective as your ability to get your prospects and clients to act on your recommendations. If you can’t, their situations won’t improve, and neither will yours. Many financial advisors in that situation might chalk it up to them being “bad” prospects and move on, but aren’t they abdicating their role as an advisor?

Certainly, advisors shouldn’t use strongarm tactics to turn their prospects around, but shouldn’t they at least understand the reason behind the objection? Could they learn some valuable insights that would help resolve the issue, if not for the prospect in front of them, but for similar situations they encounter in the future?

In the financial advisory business, objections come with the territory. They’re often just knee-jerk reactions from clients hesitant to make a change. Prospects often don’t understand the real reason behind their objection—they’re just not comfortable moving forward. As an advisor, your job is to help them acknowledge the real reason so they can place it in the context of what you have offered them.

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To Get to “Yes” Financial Advisors Must First Get to “Why” and Stir Up Emotions

To Get to Yes Financial Advisors Must First Get to Why and Stir Up Emotions

What if, in every initial client meeting, your prospects would just come right out and tell you what’s important to them and what it would mean to them if you could help them? Indeed, it would make your job much easier, but then anyone could do it. The challenge is most people don’t think that way, and it’s your job as a financial advisor to help them uncover their most important issues.

But even that doesn’t go far enough because all you’ve done is uncover the “what.” People don’t act on the “what.” They act on the “why.” When fully revealed, the “why” becomes the key motivating factor. It contains the emotions that drive people to act. Your value as a financial advisor is to get people to take the actions you know will help them. If you can’t trigger the emotions behind what’s important to them, they are not likely to take action.

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Getting Clients to Talk about Money

Getting Clients to Talk about Money

As financial advisors we’re comfortable talking about money, it’s what we’re trained to do. But for everyone else it’s a different story. Most people feel uncomfortable talking about money, so you need to consider how to introduce the topic in a relaxed way.

Don’t dive into the numbers at the initial meeting. Instead focus on building rapport with clients; then ask them what it is they want money for. The goals must come first – then the money. Once you understand your client’s vision of the future you can start doing the math on how to get there.

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