Every skilled Advisor and sales professional knows the value of good preparation. Top performers generally adhere to the 80-20 rule:
Successful sales meetings are 80% preparation and 20% execution.
What’s your meeting prep routine?
Common answers are:
I review their portfolio, anticipate what products they may need and make sure I’m up on all the product specs. Sometimes I’ll go onto their social media pages to find an area of interest that I can use to build rapport.
A few Advisors might add to that:
I’ll jot down a few questions to ask, so I don’t forget to probe for needs. Sometimes I’ll talk to an internal partner to get their perspective on what to watch for or how to pitch something I’m less familiar with.
These are all good elements of an effective preparation routine, but they are almost wholly product-focused.
There is an incredibly effective, yet underused strategy to deepen your relationships with clients. That is, to tailor your approach to each client’s:
Relationship Style Preference
Each of us has preferences and expectations about how we like to interact with people we do business with. Our needs fall on a continuum in two main areas
- How much connection or engagement we need
- How much data or information we need
Think about this in relation to your own preferences, first.
When you get a haircut, how much conversation do you like? Think about the barber or hairstylist you go to all the time. Why do you choose them? Sure, they make your hair look good, but perhaps even more importantly, the experience you have with them feels good. Maybe they’re great listeners or conversationalists and that satisfies your desire for connection. Or maybe you long for 30 minutes of blessed quiet in a busy day while someone looks after you.
On the information side, do you love getting lots of product and hair-care technique advice from your stylist? Maybe you would hate that. Maybe you don’t want any information unless you ask for it first, and then, just a recommendation with an explanation of why it’s relevant for your hair.
Wherever you fall on these two continuums is an indication of your Relationship Style Preferences. Your hair stylist’s ability to meet those is a big part of why you keep coming back.
Here’s how you can leverage this in your client meeting preparation:
Prepare a few Relationship Style Preference questions
To uncover their need for connection:
Ask how important it is that you get to know them and their family. Of course, we could argue that it’s always important, but the way they answer questions in this vein will help guide your approach. Find out if they envision your business relationship as a partnership with shared goals, or more as access to expertise when needed.
To uncover their need for data and information:
Find out how much information they like, and in how much detail. Ask if they value advice and suggestions or prefer to just receive answers to their questions.
Can you sense the power this information will give you?
Armed with their preferences, you can make simple adjustments to all your interactions with them.
High need for connection? Build more rapport questions about their personal life into each meeting. Make time for at least a quick personal check in, on even the most transactional phone call.
Low need for connection? Start each meeting respecting their time, outlining the purpose – and benefit to them – of the meeting, and asking them what else they’d like to address.
When delivering information, use their preferences to guide how you communicate it.
As you learn the Relationship Style Preferences of each of your clients, include that consistently in your meeting preparation.
Your clients will feel truly appreciated and understood by you. They will experience a sort of subliminal click that says: I always get exactly what I need. It feels good to do business with them. They get me.
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Kira Callahan is an expert sales conversation coach serving the financial industry. Her private clients typically experience 30% – 100% increase in appointments and business booked. Click here to find out more about Kira.