The views expressed in these posts are those of the authors and are current only through the date stated. These views are subject to change at any time based upon market or other conditions, and Eaton Vance disclaims any responsibility to update such views. These views may not be relied upon as investment advice and, because investment decisions for Eaton Vance are based on many factors, may not be relied upon as an indication of trading intent on behalf of any Eaton Vance fund. The discussion herein is general in nature and is provided for informational purposes only. There is no guarantee as to its accuracy or completeness. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.


Topic Category
The article below is presented as a single post. Click here to view all posts.

By David RichmanNational Director, Eaton Vance Advisor Institute and David GordonDirector, Eaton Vance Advisor Institute

All too many pipelines are like a daydream on a sunny day at the beach — hazy, blurred and don't live up to expectations. They are mushy and can lead to a devastating disease called the "mushy pipeline syndrome."

The seeds of a mushy pipeline are sown in a first meeting — too many are run in an unstructured way. Many advisors will admit to simply "winging it" in the first meeting based upon the direction the prospective client seems to want to take things.

Whether a first meeting occurs on the phone, video conference or in person, the same fundamentals apply when running purposeful, coordinated and conclusive first meetings. Let's look at the flow for an hour meeting:

  • Step 1. With the rarest exception, first meetings start with "small talk" — it gets things started and is especially important for establishing rapport in virtual meetings. Limit it to five minutes or less.
  • Step 2. Articulate the purpose of the meeting. This should take about two minutes; however, we suggest you allow for five as there's a good chance you'll run past five minutes of small talk. Just make sure that by the end of 10 minutes, you have finished the small talk, described the purpose of the first meeting and, importantly, achieved the prospective client's consent regarding the meeting's purpose.
  • Step 3. The client interview is the heart of a better first meeting and takes about 40 minutes. By the end of it, you should have developed a historical perspective and strong insights into how life and money intersect in the prospect's past, present and future.
  • Step 4. "Why us?" This should only take five minutes. This is the time to succinctly bring yourself to life in the prospective client's mind, to become relevant and necessary. Delivering this view eloquently allows prospective clients to start to understand and appreciate what you could mean in their lives.
  • Step 5. We are down to our last step — only five minutes to go or no go. This is the moment you say, "How do you feel about taking a next step?" Asking people how they feel about it takes them to another place — a deeper place. You will now learn whether they feel a strong connection to you.

Bottom line: The "close" in a better first meeting happens during the client interview by focusing on deep discovery, forging strong connectivity and developing great chemistry.