Three Deal Breakers That Spoil Fact-Finding Meetings

Having completed 3,512 fact-finding meetings during my 12 years as an advisor, it's safe to say that I loved taking fact finders. It was one of my favorite parts of being a financial advisor.

While there are many aspects to conducting masterful fact-finding meetings, equally as important is avoiding the things that spoil them. Even experienced advisors sometimes fall into these traps.

Regardless of how eloquently you speak or how high your confidence level, these things will reduce your client’s experience of the fact-finding meeting to mediocre or worse. They’ll leave your clients thinking, “Why did I agree to this?” or “This person is just trying to sell me something...”

With this in mind, here are three deal breakers that spoil fact-finding meetings that you must avoid! Eliminate them and you’ll be amazed at how they transform the outcome of this critical meeting.

Deal Breaker #1: Trying To Move Your Client From Point A To Point B

One of the most important things you can do to improve your fact finders is this: Leave Your Needs At The Door.

The vast majority of advisors are honest and ethical. They have integrity. However, too many advisors, either consciously or subconsciously, enter a fact-finding meeting with a goal of moving a client from point A to point B.

They have a product or service to sell. The questions and language they use are designed to move the client towards those solutions.

If you can relate, you must stop this immediately. In a fact-finding meeting, your goal is not to sell or manipulate. The goal is to leave your client with three fundamental feelings:

  • This advisor truly understands me
  • This advisor genuinely cares about me
  • This advisor is knowledgeable about his or her profession

If these three boxes are checked when your client leaves the meeting, you’ll have created the right first impression. It will have been an experience that they will naturally want to continue.

Deal Breaker #2: Asking Token Questions That Generate Token Answers

Are your fact-finding meetings full of D.N.A.? In other words, are they are Different, New and Attractive?

People buy differences, not similarities. Yet, too many advisors ask token questions that generate token answers.

These are the questions that you can predict the client’s answer before you’ve even asked the question. They’ve been asked thousands of times and generate the same answer every time.

Q: “Where would you like to be financially ten years from today?”

A: “Well, I’d like to be more financially secure. I’ve got some credit card debt that I’d like to get paid off. I’d like to save more and start saving from my child’s education.”

Everyone’s answer will be very similar. By asking these questions you waste an opportunity to really learn anything about your potential client.

Compare this with a question such as, “If I were to look at your checking account and your calendar, what would I learn about you?”

You can learn a lot about someone from how they spend their money and how they spend their time. In my own case, my answer would be about spending money on travel, golfing, going out to eat with my family, and wine and cigars. This opens the door for all kinds of follow-up questions.

One of the most important things you can do to improve your fact finders is this: Leave Your Needs At The Door.

From my calendar, you’d learn about what I do for work as well as my hobbies and passions. It’s this information that gives great insight into your client’s story. Almost anyone could find some commonalities with my answer, creating an opportunity to build the foundation for a strong relationship.

Deal Breaker #3: Only Operating In A Logical Space

Many advisors deal with only the facts, numbers and balance sheets. These are important, but this business is not just a logical business! It’s also an emotional one. It’s your role to connect the emotional and logical aspects of the business so that they work together.

Imagine if someone has been overweight for ten years and decides to meet with a weight loss consultant. In the meeting, the consultant takes the individuals measurements, weighs them, and then tells them that in order to lose weight they need to diet and exercise. They outline a plan and then send them on their way. How successful do you think they’ll be?

Logically, everyone knows that the key to weight loss is diet and exercise! Just like everyone knows that they should save more money and have adequate insurance – yet most still don’t do it! What gets in the way are all the emotional elements.

In order to address the emotional elements, you need to get to know your clients beyond a surface level. For example, when asking questions about their career, don’t just learn their industry and work title. Ask them: “What does a typical day look like? Why did you choose this career? What do you love about it? If you could go back in time, would you pick the same career?”

Dive deep into questions about their family, career, hobbies and future plans. People love to talk about themselves. It’s rare that someone genuinely listens and asks interesting questions like these. They will help you better understand their story and demonstrate to them that you care. The more they feel you understand and care about them, the more likely they will be to sign on with you and take your advice seriously.

The Keys To Great Fact-Finding Meetings

The ideas above are fundamental to great fact-finding meetings, but they are also just the start.

Great fact-finding meetings open with powerful approach language that explains what you do, how you do it and the benefits of working with you. They close with a discovery agreement that summarizes the meeting and sets the expectation for the next steps. There’s a well-defined follow-up process for compiling any information you were unable to obtain during the meeting.

However, even if you do everything else right, the three deal breakers listed above will always dramatically reduce your effectiveness. Make sure to avoid them!

For my full fact-finding system, I highly recommend going through my fact-finding course on P2P Academy. This course will teach you step by step how to master your fact-finding meetings, and you’ll also have access to more than 200 training videos on all the other aspects of the sales cycle and monthly live virtual sessions with me.


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