Engaging Advice Clients – The First Five Minutes – Part 1

What do you reckon?

Are those first five minutes of the advice conversation between adviser and client crucial?

Or is that the time for good old-fashioned rapport building?

In the past ‘advisers’ (or ‘product distributors’ or ‘salespeople’) focused those first five minutes in one of two places – either get the client to ‘like’ them, or differentiate the features of their products or services as primary means or the ‘hook’ to proceed to next step of engagement.

Will that work as well in the future?

I don’t believe so.

I reckon our future clients will be more discerning, future products will be more similar, new competition (& pricing) will be tougher,  and ‘old ways’ of establishing the potential advice relationship will just be harder.  

We’ve (i.e. my firm) made a study of those precious first five minutes in the client-adviser advice conversation.

Our conclusion – the words that are used in those first five minutes, how they are said, to whom they are said and who says them plays a significant role in the success or otherwise when engaging your advice clients, not just initially but every year.

What are the great advisers doing in those first five minutes?

A number of very specific things – This blog deals with the first of those.

First things First…

So, what is the very first thing they say?

Firstly – they grab control and set the context of their advice conversation.

Even if the adviser-client relationship has endured for years, the great advisers don’t just get ready for a ‘chat’.

They prepare.

Whether new or existing client, they follow a consistent process to ensure productive use of the time both for the clients and themselves.

Do they follow this process for every one of their client meetings regardless of the number of times they might meet with the same client in a year?

To a certain extent yes. However, for every ‘major’ annual meeting they will diligently follow a process like this:

So within the first couple of minutes, great advisers say something like:

Initially I’d like to ensure we both understand the context of the work we might do together this year…

Or said another way…

Before covering the traditional aspects of financial advice, we’d  like to examine and understand the fundamental reasons why a relationship between us might make sense for this coming year…

Or other wording that we’ve seen work for some advisers is…

Each and every year it’s important for us to go back to first principles that underpin the advice relationship we have with our advice clients. I’d like to start our conversation on those principles before proceeding onto other important issues…

We aren’t robo-advisers, so scripts presented here serve as a guide to make the engagement more productive, more engaging, more consistent than just leaving the first five minutes to personality, or how you’re feeling at the time, or just what you’ve always done, because it works for you.

What do you reckon – might this work as the first think you say to set the context in your important meetings with your advice clients?

I’ll cover the next steps in the next blog…

Photo: iStock – mizar_21984


About Jim Stackpool

For nearly 30 years Jim has influenced, coached, and consulted to advisory firms across Australia. As founder of Certainty Advice Group, he leads a like-minded team of professional advisory firms seeking to create greater certainty for their clients. As an author, blogger, columnist, and keynote speaker, Jim is regularly called upon for his professional insights into the advice industry. His latest book Seeking Certainty is available now.

WordPress Image Lightbox Plugin