The Closing Appointment


Turning Seminar Attendees Into Clients

In the previous articles, I have covered how to fill up the seminar room and how to close appointments right at the seminar (see previous articles listed at seminar articles on marketing and appointment setting).

If you follow the plan, you have 20 appointments with qualified prospects. In the last article, I explained what I do on the first appointment. Today, I discuss the second appointment, the closing appointment.

With seniors, do not try and close at the first appointment, unless they ask for a specific product or solution and they are seeking to be closed. In my practice, that occasionally occurs, but I always seek to make the second appointment. It gives me time to make a compelling presentation and close for ALL of their money, not just some of it. At the second appointment, I will typically do the following: regarding their mutual funds, I print out a one-page Morningstar report for each of their funds. I will point out under-performance, excessive fees, duplication of holdings, inappropriate categories or other problems I see with their funds. I will show their average fund performance on a small spreadsheet in comparison to the money management strategy that I use (the Dow Dividend Strategy):

Janus Worldwide



Average of Your Funds

Dow 5

1 Year






5 Year






10 Year






15 Year






This hard evidence is usually sufficient to close the business and move the client funds under my management. Of course, if you do not want to sell performance, then develop your own hard evidence why you can do better for the prospect and put it on paper.

As to stocks, I subscribe to the Value System on CD-ROM, which allows me to print a nice graph of each stock relative to the S&P performance over the past 10 years. The prospect can easily see which stocks have under-performed the market and we can isolate candidates for sale. Again, I am showing the prospect some hard evidence from an independent source.

If you have been attempting to close with just a verbal explanation of your good ideas, you are losing sales. Put it on paper and show evidence for your recommendations.

If we are looking to get long-term care insurance, I show the prospect a list of the 10 largest insurers in the U.S. and then I show them quotes from three of these on a small spreadsheet. I also show them policy rankings from Consumer Reports. It’s easy to pick out the least-cost company and explain differences between the policies verbally. Most prospects will make their decision based on the Consumer Reports article and the cost. Having 3 companies side-by-side on one spreadsheet and the article makes closing the sale easy for me. Presenting this type of third-party hard evidence is a most convincing way to close business.

Similarly, if the situation calls for life insurance or other estate planning issues or any other financial issues (e.g. exchanging an existing annuity), I will put some comparison on paper.

I do not use any financial planning software as I have never found any program that caters to my clients, age 60 and over. So I use only an Excel spreadsheet and Word as my presentation software (along with Morningstar and Value Line reports as mentioned previously).