Many financial advisors I speak with approach prospect and client meetings without a formal written agenda. Gasp! I know, right. Not a good idea. Utilizing a written agenda relieves stress, worry, and anxiety for your prospects -- and you too! Having clarity about what to expect is necessary to relax and build trust. Both parties should have a clear understanding of the time, agenda, and desired outcome of the meeting.
It's very important to be clear about the amount of time your meeting will consume. Time is as valuable to your prospect as it is to you. Many professionals we coach were troubled by time spent during their first appointments. They wasted 2 or 3 times the industry average on their first appointments. Time would get away from them because they were not using an agenda to keep them on track. You can imagine how frustrating and confusing this might feel to their prospects who politely subject themselves to aimless conversation so as not to offend the other party. Wasted time and wasted opportunity are results of not using an agenda.
Your Agenda, Their Agenda
Your meeting agenda should be written down and visible during your meeting. Heck, if you going to go to the trouble to write it down why not make it look nice too? The agenda needs to clearly state what to expect. State your expectations of the meeting, as well as your prospect's expectations. What they want to accomplish, and what you want to accomplish. Using an agenda will ensure you don't miss any objectives. For your convenience, we've included a sample agenda like the one we use in our own Discovery Meetings, see below.
Define the intended outcome of the meeting. Start with why you are meeting in the first place and the purpose for coming together. Is it to see if you are both a good fit to work together? Is it to determine if your services or products will bring value to your prospect? Perhaps your prospect's agenda is to collect as much free information as you're willing to shell out without any commitment? Can you both live with the intended outcome? You had better determine this before you schedule precious time together.
Why Advisors Need Agendas
A written agenda should be a consistent part of your planning process. Using an agenda will allow you to maintain control and order on your first visit with a new prospect or your 20th visit with an existing client. It eliminates their stress, worry, and anxiety, and you will feel more confident in your ability to host a meaningful visit.
Too many financial professionals waste an enormous amount of money on marketing, websites, and printed materials that just don't work. Make your marketing easy for your prospects and clients to understand what you do.