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Reed, an advisor in LA, was telling me about his frustrations with a doctor-lawyer couple. He thought they were already his clients, but after leaving several messages for the husband to set up a time to meet with them, he had not gotten a response.

“I finally had a great conversation with his wife, and I told her I had been trying to reach him to schedule a time to see them,” he said. “But she told me that because of his schedule, I’d have to speak with him. So I was right back at square one.”

“These are clients who are obviously not jumping up and down at the idea of meeting with you,” I observed. “Do they know why you want to see them?”

“Well, no,” he responded.

“Then why should they want to see you?” I asked, “You don’t have a close relationship with them and it looks like they’re pretty busy.”

“But I have this great product I want to convert them to,” Reed explained.

“OK. That’s a good reason to see them. But they don’t know that, do they? And even if they did, why would they want to see you to buy another product you think is great?”

“I guess there’s no good reason,” he conceded. So, I pressed him a little more.

“Let me ask again, then: Why might they think your reason for wanting to see them is great?” After thinking about it for a few more seconds, Reed had some insight.

“This is one of the new policies that could add long-term care coverage to their existing life and disability insurance,” he said, “possibly without increasing their premiums.”

“Great! So what if you let them know that this is the reason you’ve been trying to reach them?” I asked. “Do you think they might be more responsive?” 

Reed now understood that he wasn’t getting the appointment because these clients assumed he wanted to see them to sell them something—a situation they probably wanted to avoid. He was making it about him and what was going on in his world. He hadn’t thought to tell them why he wanted to see them, because he assumed that since they were existing clients, they would be interested in seeing him “just because.”

But all sales—even the sale of an appointment—happen in the client’s world, not the advisor’s. If you haven’t maintained a very close relationship (and they happen to be very busy), they might not be interested in seeing you—especially if they don’t know why you’re reaching out.

If your clients aren’t responding, ask yourself how they might be viewing your efforts to meet. Why would they want to set up a time to see you?

Why would they be excited to talk with you about what you want to show them? Strive always to look at your approach from the client’s perspective.

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Sandy Schussel is a speaker, business trainer and coach who helps sales teams develop systems to win clients. He is the author of The High Diving Board and Become a Client Magnet. For more information, go to


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