The Do’s & Don’ts of Successful Prospecting

Diane MacPhee |

There are a few do's and don'ts that go a long way to increase your odds of success. Let us tackle the don'ts first. You may shake your head and say yes, I already know this of course! Yet, these still seem to find their way into the meeting, perhaps by staff, if not by you.


Do not try too hard. Slow down and relax. 

Do not talk too fast or too loud.

Do not go on and on  no matter how intellectually superior you may believe yourself to be - rein in this tendency. If you are dominating the time together, the meeting is going south.

Do not let a prospect meeting run more than 45 minutes. Be disciplined on this point. There is always more time later at a "next" meeting as client.

Do not have more than two of you in the room - too overwhelming. Again, there is time later to bring your other staff into the mix.

Do not respond to a question about your fees at the very beginning. Explain that your fees will be covered later in the meeting- let us first learn about your situation.

Do not do any specific work or provide advice in this meeting no matter how many times they may try  to get you to "just take a look and tell me what you think" .

No, no, no.


Do take a few moments - take a few slow and deep breaths right before they arrive.

Do warmly shake their hand (regardless of gender).

Do look them in the eye at all times.

Do exchange pleasantries initially for five minutes or so to begin warmly.

Do offer them a beverage.

Do be friendly yet not too familiar or intrusive.

Do ask them (as a kickoff) - What is your greatest financial concern?

Do listen very intently. Though tempted, turn off any initial judgements of them.

Do get in the habit (but not overly so) of asking - Can you tell me more about that?

Do take notes or have someone take notes for you (second chair).

Do have them share for say 20-25 minutes or so.

Do share yourself on what you heard and how you can help for 15-20 minutes.

Do match the pain they shared with how you offer benefit (not features!) for that issue. Stay very laser focused on matching your work to what they need.

Do ask them when they are finished - Do you have any questions? 


Here is the key moment - when all is said and done - ask them:

How would you like to proceed?


Never let the meeting end on a flat note or on a discussion of your fees. 

Control the next step despite their offer to call you. Gently explain that it has been your experience that it is far easier and more efficient for your office to reach out in a week or so - "Would that be all right with you?" Typically most people will nod and say that is fine. If they still resist and wish to call you...that is not a good sign.


If the meeting went extremely well yet they still wish to think it over - consider:

"Of course, that is fine. I am curious (pause) - May I ask you where is the hesitation?" This is crucial to show confidence and no fear on your part. It is important to capture all elements of what has transpired in the meeting. Many chicken out on this recommendation. I promise that asking this simple question is one of the most effective steps you can take to understand where the prospect is and what are they thinking. When executed in a gentle and subtle manner - it goes over just fine. Do not be aggressive in your delivery of this last point.


I do believe when these meetings are conducted well, there is no reason why they would not be engaged and motivated to work with you. You must strive to create that delicate balance in the meeting that results in at least 75% or more who hire you. Keep in mind, I am not including those individuals who you deem not a fit for your firm. For my advisors, I consider a success rate of 75% as my baseline target goal for the ideal clients they wish to bring into the firm.


All prospect meetings with contact information as well should be immediately entered into the CRM pipeline, tracked well and all results recorded. At the end of each month, measure your results in your custom designed spreadsheet so that after six months or so you can spot patterns and assess your performance. 


If you use today's message as a quick and ready reference for you and/or your staff in your upcoming GA meetings - I have to believe your efforts will be rewarded. I wish you the very best of preparation (not luck). To your prosperity...


Always about inspiring,