There are critical conversations necessary to engage people in ways that predictably turn leads into prospects; prospects into clients; and clients into people who take action on your advice, happily pay you for planning and advice and refer you to their friends, family and colleagues.

These conversations are easy to understand but hard to master. Many FAs have a basic level of ability with these conversations, but this article is about elevating from basic ability to virtuoso skillfulness. Consider what could happen to the quality of your client service and the value of your business when you can artfully engage anyone, anytime and anywhere.

Critical Conversation #1: Mastery Of The First Conversation.
Every future ideal client relationship starts with a stranger. However you choose to prospect and market, your ability to engage strangers is critical to your success.

How do you engage a person or couple, in any situation or environment, in a way that inspires them to want to talk to you again without coming across like a schmucky financial salesperson trolling for business?

This skill is about asking the right questions; listening with empathy; hearing what’s most meaningful, important, significant and compelling to them; and then being able to make an offer to take a simple first step that’s relevant FOR THEM.

Let’s say you’re at a wedding. What’s the obvious first question when you meet someone new, in other words a stranger? “Are you a friend of the bride or the groom?” What’s the next question? “How do you know ______?” And the next question is what really separates the conversation virtuosos from most mortals with decent “social skills.” The typical person asks something superficial like, “What do you and ______ do for fun?” The virtuoso asks a question that’s more meaningful and emotional, like “You and ______ met at an important time in your lives. What did you learn from ______ that has helped you become a better human being?” Listen. Listen with empathy and ask, “And how has that impacted your life?” Continue to listen. Say, “Tell me more about that,” several times.

This critical conversation process can be implemented as part of any prospecting or marketing strategy and when you meet new people in your normal course of living—at dinner parties, for example, or on the golf course, after church, at a charity event, etc.

The conversation virtuoso has no trouble engaging strangers and not talking about himself or giving a tired FA “elevator pitch.”

How would mastering this critical conversation help you grow your business with ideal clients?