38 – Why you need to host the first meeting
When we say you, we mean the practice principal. The boss. The owner. La Presidenta herself.
Often, practices will allow a more junior member of staff to first meet with clients. The logic is that doing this lets the practice ‘optimise the principal’s time,’ as that principal can be introduced later in the process (if required).
The idea is that having more junior staff conduct the first client meeting allows the principal’s time to be leveraged.
We can’t help but think that it is also a way of unconsciously massaging the owner’s ego. “I am too busy to meet with you…”
This is the wrong way around. The best way to leverage the owner’s time is for that owner to host the first meeting. Have the junior present, but make sure that it is the principal who the client thinks they are meeting with.
There are many good reasons for this. Firstly, hosting the first meeting yourself lets the client know that they are important to you. Most financial planning businesses, at least after the initial burst of activity, rely on word-of-mouth referrals to bring in new work. Chances are, if someone is wanting to come to your practice, they are looking for you.
Secondly, if your fee is higher than that of your junior staff, then test the client’s willingness to pay that fee from the very beginning.
Thirdly, hosting a meeting with junior staff present is a great way to train those junior staff. They get to see and hear exactly how you do things.
And, of course, you get to hear what the junior staff are saying as well.
What if your junior staff are not so junior anymore and they really can do it all themselves? Well, in that case you probably want to be especially careful. You do not want to give such staff too free a rein with your clients. If your staff move on, and especially if they start their own practice, your clients will be much less likely to move with them if they see you, not your staff, as their principal adviser.
But if the junior is the one who they have always dealt with… whose client do they think they are anyway?