Top Tips for Your First Client Meeting

When meeting someone for the first time, those first impressions are undoubtedly important. And it’s no different when meeting a client for the first time –  however, across the financial services sector, we don’t have a great reputation. Only 39% of adults trust advisers to act in their best interest according to the FCA*.

On a lighter note, (and the reason why first impressions are so important) 92% of those who went to see an adviser returned to the same one after their initial meeting. That’s a massive increase over the last few years!

At Apricity we like to look at the bigger picture, and not just how we can help you with your advice process, but your business as a whole. But let’s not get carried away. How can you make a good first impression with a client? Keep reading for some helpful hints and tips…

Meeting time

Arrange the meeting around a time that is convenient for the client. We know that your schedule may be hectic – but if the customer feels they have been accommodated to instead of having to adjust their errands, they will appreciate that little touch.

Preparation is key

This is for you and the customer. Make sure you know how you want the meeting to go as preparation really is key. For the customers benefit, provide them with clear instructions on where they need to go, if disabled parking is available, what they need to bring with them (if anything), what they can expect from the meeting and what you will be discussing. If a customer hasn’t received financial advice before, they won’t know what to expect. Having an agenda will take the mystery away.

Make small talk

It may sound silly but talking about your finances is not something that everyone feels comfortable doing – so break the ice and try and find something in common, you may be surprised!

Tell them about yourself and the business

Customers want to know who they are dealing with. Tell them your name, position, contact details and provide them with a copy of your business card. Customers are more likely to be honest and open if they know who they are talking to.

Supply them with your Initial Disclosure Document (IDD)

You could call this your Client Agreement, T.O.B, Service Agreement, (the list of possibilities continues)…  but whatever you call it, this will help you to tell the client more about your firm; if you are independent or restricted, what exactly it is you advise on, the process of giving that advice, the timescales involved etc.

Talk to them about costs

From an affordability point of view, we all want to know how much something is going to cost – so you need to be clear. This is why costs are best put in your IDD, see below for examples of good and bad practice.

Bad practice:

The overall cost of our services will depend on the complexity of the advice and the value of the investment.

  • Up to £100,000 – maximum 2%
  • £100,000 – £500,000 – maximum 1.5%
  • £500,000 – maximum 1%
Good practice:

The overall cost of our services will depend on the value of the investment.

  • Up to £100,000 – 2%
  • £100,000 – £500,000 – 1.5%
  • £5000,000 – 1%

Example 1: If we arrange an investment for you for £75,000, our initial fee would be £1,500.

Example 2: If we arrange an investment for you for £250,000, our initial fee would be £5,000. £100,000 will be charged at 2% which is £2,000. The remaining £150,000 would be charged at 1.5% which is £3,000.

Ask, ask and ask some more

Use a variation of closed and open questions to help you get to know your client. What goals do they have? Are they realistic? What knowledge and experience do they have? What type of risk-taker are they? It’s important to know as much as you can about your customer.

Spot the signs of vulnerability

Identifying a vulnerable customer as early as possible will help with the advice process. You should be thinking about how you can improve this experience for them and what additional services you might need to rely upon. Watch our TALK: Vulnerable Customer webinar for more detail on this.

These are just some of the steps that you can take to ace your first meeting with a customer. After all, if they have a good experience, they are more likely to be a repeat client, and who doesn’t want that?

*Key findings from the FCA’S Financial Lives Survey 2017

Hannah Scott – Adviser Support