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We had an online meeting with a prospective client and here’s how one part of the conversation about our representation agreement went (and I paraphrase).

Client: Your fees are 25% higher than the other people we talked with.

Me: So… (pause), Okay… You’ve told us we’re more capable and professional than the others, so what’s the issue?

Client: Okay, the fee is fine. Let’s discuss the other subjects.

The key to the above is what happened in all the other meetings and calls as we built credibility. I’ve come to realize I do very little talking in meetings with prospective clients. I ask a lot of questions and let them talk. I also tell a lot of stories (because stories sell).

When coaching other advisors, I found there was a tendency to want to tell, tell, tell. It’s like the widget salesperson who expounds profusely on how great the company’s widget is only to find out the potential customer doesn’t use widgets they use gizmos. 

In the above example, prior to the outlined call, we had:

  • Done a mini due diligence to understand the business.
  • Given insights on their market of prospective buyers and how the process works.
  • Shared concerns buyers might have (and how to overcome them).
  • Gave tips on actions they should take and not take at this time.

A successful ending is what it’s all about. I’ve seen business buyers negotiate a .125% interest rate change while ignoring other loan details and, especially, what’s it like working with the bank post-close. Stay focused on the big picture and build credibility through knowledge and providing value not bragging.

“Opportunities come infrequently. When it rains gold, put out the bucket, not the thimble.” Warren Buffett

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