The First Appointment


Turning Seminar Attendees Into Post Seminar Appointments — what to do at the first appointment

In the other articles, I have covered how to fill up the seminar room and how to set appointments right at the seminar.

If you follow the plan, you have 10-20 appointments with qualified prospects. What should you do at the first appointment?

To the appointment, get every prospect to bring a copy of their tax return and their list of investments. Tell them to bring these items at the close of the seminar and you will get 100% compliance. The structure of your first post-seminar appointment is as follows:

  • First 10 minutes—shmoozing, smiling, rapport building
  • How long have you lived in the area?
  • Do your children live nearby?
  • You have great tans, are you golfers?
  • Next, get down to business.

Give you a brief explanation of what you do (proceed to explain your services in 60 seconds—no jargon, explain benefits).

Say this early in your post seminar appointment: “So that I make sure we cover any questions or concerns you have in our hour together, let me jot them down so we won’t forget.” Most every prospect has two or three items they want to discuss because you told them at the seminar to jot down their questions or concerns. It’s amazing what people will do when you instruct them.

Then proceed in your post seminar appointment with fact-finding. Ask questions so that you can put together an income statement and balance sheet right on the yellow pad in front of you.

“Folks, tell me about your sources of income.

  • Are you receiving any pensions?
  • Social Security?
  • Rents?
  • Interest/Dividends?
  • Etc.

Now let’s take a look at your investments,” (they have brought in their statements or their balance sheet).

As you look these over you make some unsettling comments, if appropriate, about their investments. “Do you know what you’re really earning on these investments?

How long have you had them?

Do you know, off hand, your original investment?” (this will often be on their statement on in the records they brought to our meeting)

“How did you come to own these investments?” (the prospect reveals their un-systematic method of investing).

“Okay. Let me give you some helpful feedback.

You had two concerns that you mentioned in the beginning. Now that I know more about your circumstances, I can tell you this” ( proceed to provide some useful, but unspecific direction or advice). “We can get together some specific recommendations regarding those issues (e.g. a long term care quotation, analysis of an annuity, review of their trust, etc). With those specific recommendations, you will have precise answers to your questions.”

“Additionally, I would like to print you reports on each of your investments so that you can really see what’s going on. Some of these are fine, but some of these quite frankly, are clunkers.” (The prospect always agrees saying something like, “we know we should have sold some of these but…”).

“Folks, let me propose this. Let’s schedule a time to meet next week (same day and time). I want to put together some answers to your questions and let’s review the reports I will get on each of your investments (subscribe to Value Line and Morningstar on CD-ROM which gives you the reports you need). This is not a lot of work, but will take me three hours. My normal rate is $150 per hour, so if you think that $450 would be reasonable to isolate which investments you should sell and what you should do about (their two issues), then let’s meet next week.”

If they say they want to think about it, that’s great! Because you just learned NOT to waste your time with these people. If $450 is a barrier to proceeding, then goodbye! Ninety percent of the people want to meet again and will ask you, “should we pay you now?” These are the types of clients you want.

If you are in a situation where you cannot charge fees (i.e. not a Registered Investment Advisor or IAR), it is more difficult to test a prospect’s seriousness. All you can do is ask, “Mr. and Mrs. Jones, when we meet next week, if my recommendations make sense to you and you see that there are ways for you to do better financially, will their be anything that would stop us from doing business together?” I don’t like to ask this question as I find it presumptuous, but it’s better than spending three hours putting materials together and then finding out his brother works at Merrill Lynch!

Use the first post seminar appointment to fact-find. Be clear that the objective of the first appointment is to schedule a second appointment (assuming you want to work with the prospect). Do not try and close business at the first appointment. This system will result in larger accounts and doing more comprehensive business with new clients.