A case study, an insight and an opportunity to brainstorm with your team to be better advisors.

I have been working with advisors assisting their transition from a reactive transactional mindset to one that has a proactive, relationship building focus.  It takes practice and awareness to balance knowing and focusing on the numbers, and wanting to talk about solutions, with the need to take the time to listen to the clients’ story – past, present and future – with genuine interest.  It takes a learned skill to take a client on a conversational journey, that goes way beyond the transaction.  It takes preparation to ask better questions so that you get better answers.  It is so important to be able to read the energy in a room, to be very much aware of the intangibles.

Sometimes you simply need to slow down to speed up – in order to add even more value.

As part of my insight into what is really going on in interviews, I arrange to have “debrief” sessions post interview with the prospect and with the advisors.


The case study

Let me share one of my stories… A prospect (Ann) met with an advisor (Richard) (it was her first meeting, they had not met before) to discuss how he might help her get her business back on track.  Ann had chosen Richard based on what she had read on his website and in particular because of the focus on business development advice.  This initial appointment was arranged for 1 hour – because Ann had to be back at her business for a meeting.

I have 5 questions for both the advisor and the prospect –

1.   To what extent did the meeting meet your expected outcomes?
2.  To what extend did the meeting meet the outcomes of the prospect/advisor?
3.  What did you learn about the Prospect/Advisor?
4.  How well do did you connect with Prospect/Advisor on an emotional level?
5.  What are the next steps?


So here is how it went…

1.  To what extent did the meeting meet your expected outcomes?

Ann said her expectations where that Richard would give her some indication of how he might help her grow her business and return it to profitability.  This didn’t happen and she was very disappointed.  He didn’t really discuss any of the services she had read about on his website.

Richard’s outcome was to bring a new client into the firm and he thought he could place an 80% probability on a subsequent sale.


2.  To what extent did the meeting meet the outcomes of the prospect/advisor?

Ann had no idea what Richard wanted to achieve and could only assume that he did meet his outcomes.

Richard thought Ann wanted to find a new advisor and he was pretty sure that she would want to do business with him, that she was impressed.


3.  What did you learn about the Prospect/Advisor?

Ann appeared to have heard Richard’s entire life story, his previous jobs and why he changed career, his family situation, his hobbies and interests, his views on politics, he drove a Mercedes of some sort.

Richard learned that Ann owned a recruitment business and wasn’t happy with her current accountant.  The business was located in the northern suburbs of Brisbane and she had employees (not sure how many).  She drove a Jeep!  Richard said he would have found out more if they had more time – the interview went for 1.5 hours.


4.  How well did you connect with Prospect/Advisor on an emotional level?

Ann said that he was friendly but she felt confused and the meeting seemed to be all about Richard.

Richard said Ann wasn’t very forthcoming with information and seemed to be a bit closed.


5.  What are the next steps?

Ann was not sure what the next steps would be – she thought he said he would be in touch.  The meeting finished in a bit of a rush because it had gone over time and Ann needed to get to going.

Richard said he would send her brochures and ask her to send him some financial statements and other information he would need to prepare a proposal.


The Insight

Now you might think that this is an extreme example – let me assure you that it is not.

In most cases, what’s lacking, is preparation, an agenda and the recognition that it is the advisor’s role to lead the discussion.  Winging it is a huge waste of everyone’s time and money.

Preparation begets opportunity.  Every meeting must have an agenda – that is a well established strategy for a more effective meeting.  Richard did not follow an agenda.  But equally as important is the pre-start checklist – that is, what should be done in preparation for this meeting.  A pre-start checklist and an agenda are non-negotiable.  No checklist or no agenda – no meeting!  It doesn’t matter how experienced you are.

Pre-start actions include:

1.  Research your prospect
2.  Research their industry
3.  Identify the value you will add at this meeting
4.  What is your desired outcome?
5.  What are your “must knows”?
6.  What are the key questions you must ask in order to take your prospect on a journey of discovery?  Past, present, future.
7.  What is your WHY – why do you do what you do?
8.  How is your state – how are you being?
9.  Meeting space on brand?
10.  How will you meet the human needs?
11.  Review the agenda

This is just a start and is not all inclusive.  Creating a pre-start checklist is an important part of the process of building an advisory business and an advisors’ mindset.


The Brainstorm

Go back to Ann and Richard’s case study – what should have been done differently do you think?  Work through this with your team.  As you go through the process of brainstorming – develop your pre-start checklist.

And then be clear on when it must be used – my recommendation is, in every instance and for everyone – no exceptions.

Get started knowing that it will be an organic process – you will add more items as you go.  And hold your own debriefs – what worked, what didn’t.


A Tip for the Agenda

The last item on your agenda should be BAMFAM – book a meeting from a meeting – when will the next point of contact be?  Remember you are leading this process – be the instigator.


And your post meeting checklist

Another great opportunity to involve the team in innovative thought – what must happen post meeting?

If you are interested in developing your advisors to enable them to be even more effective, let us know – we would love to talk to you about our ADVISING by DESIGN process.


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