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10 tips for making the most of your new-client appointments

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Want to sell more annuities? The first step is actually getting a prospect to meet with you in your office. Only then can you qualify prospects and gauge whether annuities are appropriate given a potential client’s financial situation.

But advisors only have a limited amount of time with each new prospect, and they must know how to optimize that time while earning trust and inspiring client confidence. Advisors aren’t likely to sell an annuity on the first outing. Still, a brief initial meeting is plenty of time to qualify a prospect, learn more about them – and their financial situation – demonstrate the advisor’s value, and book the next meeting.

The following steps can help you make the most of your first new client appointments.   

1. The first step is properly making the initial appointment. Don’t be afraid to get off the phone or out the door, says The Center for Sales Strategy. Ask the prospect what they hope to accomplish in the meeting.

2. Have an agenda and set aside enough time to get through it. You don’t want to run out of time before you can make all your goals for the meeting. Keep the agenda short and simple, and send it to the prospect in advance of your sit-down.

3. Develop thoughtful, open-ended questions. Make sure you ask questions that encourage your prospect to reveal enough of themselves that you can make a proper assessment. Questions like, “How have you addressed retirement savings up to now?” or “Ideally, how would you like to spend your retirement?” will help you get a handle on their retirement preparedness and goals.

4. Prioritize your questions. Make sure you cover the most important items first so if the meeting gets cut short or if you run out of time, you have the basic information you’ll need for your next appointment.

5. Make sure you’re on time. You won’t inspire confidence if you’re late.

6.  Find out the client’s motivation. Ask the prospect why they wanted to meet with you. You’ll uncover priceless insight into the client’s priorities and objectives by doing so.

7. Allot time for client questions. A client’s questions can give you an idea of their concerns and priorities — and your thoughtful responses will inspire their confidence.

8. Stick to the time you’ve set aside for the appointment. Show your clients that you respect their time and deliver on your commitments, says to sales consulting and training firm KLA Group. This will make prospects more likely to squeeze in future appointments, even if they have limited time.

9. Schedule the next meeting before the current meeting ends. It’s much easier to set up a meeting while you have the client’s ear than afterwards, when you may have to rely on phone calls and email to reach out.  If possible, schedule the next meeting in the near future so you can continue the momentum started in the first meeting.

10. Relax, but be professional. Even if you give great advice and inspire plenty of confidence, clients won’t be motivated to work with you if you seem too stiff and formal. Clients want to be able to relate to you as a person – so be yourself (within reason) and put your best foot forward. 


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