How much detail is required for a first meeting is a question I am asked very often and one I always like to answer.
You would think there would be a hard and fast answer to that but it really does depend on each and every individual case. Let me qualify this by explaining a bit more.
Factors That Decide the Level of Detail for a First Meeting
Let the Prospect Decide
The level of detail that we should go into with an initial prospect should be akin to the amount of detail in which they will allow us to discuss their business.
Don’t Discuss Price
One of the details I would not discuss initially would be price. We do not know at this stage what the price is going to be. You can read more about How To Discuss Pricing here
It’s Not About Us
We also do not want to bore them rigid about the ins and outs of our practice. Initially, that is not what we are at the meeting to discuss. So I would dismiss those two areas initially.
If the question is learning about them and their business, there is no such thing as too much detail
Discuss Achievement and Impact
We can discuss in detail what we have achieved for other firms and the impact we have made on their businesses.
Get to Know the Prospect
We need to know what motivates and challenges the prospect in their own business. When we talk in these terms, there is no such thing as too much detail. The more we can learn about the prospective client, the better positioned we are to know whether we have a solution or not. When we come back for a second meeting to suggest working together, our proposed solution will be that much stronger.
The answer to this question is short and straightforward. If the prospective client asks about other issues, such as cost, we can avoid that at this stage. I go into those situations in more detail on a separate question.
The main focus is to find out about the prospect and what makes them and their business tick.
We do not need to know all the finer details about the staff that work in the prospect’s business and their various departments. Do not persue that kind of detail.
If the question is learning about them and their business, there is no such thing as too much detail.
For more guidance on how you can approach your meetings with prospects, consider the Addviser+ course Converting Leads into Clients, which is part of a three-part series in The Clients Masterplan Series, a road-tested set of strategies for accountants who want to turn new business opportunities into new fees.