Right Fit. Everyone needs to know that you both have to qualify. Are they the right kind of client for you? Can we help them? Are you the right kind of advisor for them? You want to tell them that that's what's happening. You quite literally want to say, "The goal here today is to see if there's a right fit between us. Am I the right advisor for you? And are you the kind of client where we can do our best work?" Again, this creates parity between you rather than being in a position of applying for the job. You're both applying.
Now, next we move to the Efficient Meeting Plan. Share that you have a meeting plan and this meeting will end with some decisions for both parties. The meeting plan has three steps: you, me, decisions. So you'd say, "I really have a simple meeting plan here. I want to find out a bit about you. I'd like to share about me and my team, and then we'd like to have some decisions to make together." So for you, this is where you'll ask to learn more about them and do a prospect interview. Guess what we introduce here? The Planning Horizon®. You'll say, "I want to understand more about you." And to do that, we use a simple tool called The Planning Horizon®. You'll draw the line and start into the interview. We gave you some example questions in Lesson 1, but it's usually handy to think about the five main categories: risk, living benefits, wealth, estate planning, and The Planning Table. Those aren't in a particular order, but you'll want to touch on each.
As a quick recap, you might find it useful to ask questions like: for risk, "Let's talk about how you're protected from an insurance standpoint. Do you have insurance in place? Are you confident that it's protecting you and your family and your business in the way you want to?"
For living benefits, "Do you have longterm care, disability or critical illness protection?"
For wealth, "Let's talk about your job, your income, the benefits. How are you invested today? What are your current qualified, non-qualified assets?" And so on.
For estate planning, "Tell me about your family. Do you have children, grandchildren? Have you given thought to if or how you'd like to provide for them? Is there a special organization or cause that's important to you that you might want to support in the future?"
And finally, The Planning Table, "Let's start by telling me who's advising you today. Do you have an accountant you work with? How would you describe what they do for you?" And check in on lawyers, investment advisors, insurance advisors, and so on.
Here's an action task for you. Write down some of the questions you would ask a prospect to learn more about them. And as a tip, you can take a look at the Approach Talk script if you need a little bit of inspiration.
Now, once you've completed the You section, it's time to move to Me. Share a bit about yourself. Point to your capabilities to support them. Elements you might want to highlight when you're talking about your firm could include the size of your team, how long you've been in business, the kinds of clients you work with or specialize, credentials, industry awards, contributions you've made to industry groups, maybe special areas of expertise. So unique process, key industry affiliations. Again, this isn't a complete list, but it's designed to get your wheels turning on items that you can share. And again, for more details, take a look at the Approach Talk script.
Something for you to do right now. You can write down the points you want to highlight when you're talking about yourself and your team.
Now the last part and the point of all of this is Decisions. Your goal is to get and create clear expectations on how you'll work together. You need to decide how you might engage in the future. So, if today you determine that it's a right fit, you want to make sure that we take them to a decision, engage or not. If they engage, is it a planning engagement or a tactical engagement? You want to make sure you get confirmation before you move forward so everyone is on the same page about what's going to happen next.
For a tactical engagement, this would be to solve an immediate need that the client has or some pressing issue that's keeping them up at 2:00 AM and they can't think beyond it. So you need to step in and serve that. To address it, you could say something like, "Based on our discussion today, my sense is your top priority is this for this reason. And as I mentioned earlier, we're happy to help solve this immediate need and we can dig into it right away. I also want you to keep in mind that from a long-term perspective, we want to provide our full capacity of value to our clients by looking at their financial security in a whole way. So we would want to revisit some planning work together later. In the meantime, though, let me explain how we can get started solving this immediate need and away you go."
You'll want to make sure you get confirmation or agreement that they see it the same way before you move forward so that their minds are clear on what's going to happen next. You'd also provide them with a tactical engagement letter and we'll cover that in an upcoming lesson.
For planning engagement, if the prospect does not have an immediate need, but has a few things that are going on and it requires a more comprehensive view, we recommend taking your Approach Talk one step further and introducing the Wealth Optimization System™. We'll show you that in the next lesson, and it'll really dial in how you can help them achieve the results they want.
Now we're often asked, how long does all this take? The Approach Talk process from present talk all the way through to decisions should take about 60 minutes. And that should probably be in line with the time you're currently spending in prospect meetings. Here's a breakdown of it. Five minutes for the present talk. Five minutes for Appreciate and Bridge Talk™. 30 minutes for You. 15 minutes for Me. Five minutes for Decisions. These times will flex a little, but here's the key. More than half the time is spent on them, finding out what matters to them, what they've done or are thinking about doing and demonstrating your difference. The spotlight needs to be on them, not you.
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