The first conversation you have with a potential client sets the tone for everything that comes afterwards.
Therefore, it is essential to make it a great conversation, meaning that the person feels listened to, understood, and completely trusts you.
This matters whether they become a client or not because people talk. I have had referrals from people I have had conversations with but who did not become a client themselves.
There seems to be plenty of information available on the content or process of a first conversation. Whilst this is fine it leaves out the most significant factor of all.
Rule number one for great first conversations
Your inner orientation is everything.
A useful way to understand this is by looking at the three levels of relationship you can create with another person.
At level one the relationship is all about all about me and what I am getting out of it. Therefore, it is a relationship based upon taking.
At level two the relationship is about what we are both getting out of it. So, it is a relationship based upon give and take.
At the level the relationship is completely about meeting your needs. So, it is a relationship based upon giving.
To have a powerful, positive impact upon someone, where you are conveying absolute trust then the only way you can do this is from level three.
Stop trying to ‘come across’
One of the biggest barriers that I had to learn to overcome was my concern with how I was coming across.
What I discovered was that, paradoxically, the more concern I have about how I am coming across the worse I come across.
So, it is better to not be concerned with how I am coming across at all. This means dropping all thoughts about myself (click here for a short video from teacher Michael Neill).
One of the problems that prescriptive behavioural advice can create is that it turns your attention onto yourself and what you are doing.
As an example, a few weeks ago I wrote a post on ‘Why elevator pitches don’t work‘. I was pointing out that any form of pitching to a client (about you, your firm, your experience, etc.) falls into trying to manipulate how you are coming across.
The exception to this is if you are invited to or ask permission to deliver information because this is an appropriate context.
Success is all about relationships
Ultimately, financial planning is a relationship business and exceptional relationships are built on human connection, rapport, and trust. This begins with the very first conversation.
What gets in the way is ego thinking. The ego is only ever concerned with its own gain, and this is why, if we allow it to, it will contaminate a relationship.
How you get past this is through greater awareness of your thinking and orientating yourself towards healthy feelings. In turn, this helps you to bring out the best in your client and naturally leads to the behaviours that best serve your client.
PS. What many people think is that to have better meetings you need more tools. This is very rarely the case, if ever. What will improve any and every meeting is increasing the quality of your presence and attention. Want to know more? Click here to read, ‘The little understood power of the present moment.’