Oftentimes, I find that my clients need a bit of encouragement before having a meeting with a prospect. All their knowledge and wisdom and confidence about themselves and their businesses seem to fade away when confronted with having to “sell themselves” and make a deal.

In one particular case, my client was especially apprehensive about an upcoming meeting, so I asked him to give me some history regarding the work he had done with his prospect. You can imagine my shock when my client advised me the upcoming meeting would be the fourth and that he had invested a whopping 15 hours to date!

Sparing you the details about how doubts about his worthiness were contributing to my client giving and giving and giving without ever asking for the business, here is what I recommended my client do to ask for the business and thus get the sale:

1. In advance of the meeting prepare a clear, written understanding of the:

  • Improvements the prospect wants to make in respect to dealing with her existing financial advisor and financial plan.
  • Challenges the prospect is having with her existing financial advisor and financial plan.

2. Take charge of the meeting right away by asking the prospect what his expectations are for the meeting. Write down these expectations to form the basis for an agenda.

3. Confirm the amount of time that the prospect has available for the meeting so she doesn’t run out the door before everything has been finalized.

4. Explain what your outcomes are for the meeting and add them to the written agenda.

5. Recap your understanding of the challenges your prospect is facing as well as the improvements he wants to make.“Mr. and Mrs. Prospect, when we first started our work together you advised me that you wanted to create the following improvements and that I wanted to eliminate the following challenges with respect to dealing with your existing financial advisor and financial plan.”

6. Review the progress made since you began working with the prospect by going through each improvement and challenge.

7. Then say “Based on the work we’ve done so far, have I been able to demonstrate that I am able to satisfy you? The answer is either yes or no. There is no maybe.

8. If the client says no, reply with “In respect to XYZ improvement or challenge, what else do I need to do to be able to satisfy your concerns?”

9. At the end of the list, conclude with “We now have invested ___ appointments together during which I invested about ___ hours into creating a financial plan for you. We’ve reviewed your challenges and the improvements you want to make. Based on the experience you’ve had so far, will you give me the opportunity to be your financial advisor?”

10. Explain your client-engagement process before doing any more work.

Following this outline will surely prove that you are capable, knowledgeable and unwilling to give away your services for free.

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Simon Reilly of Leading Advisor Inc. is a financial advisor coach, speaker and writer. Simon writes a daily blog and can be reached at www.leadingadvisor.com/blog.