Should I continue with this $1m prospect?

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bluestar's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-14

I have an ad in a paper advertising asset management service.  Last week I received a phone call from a prospect, who asked me to meet her at a coffee shop near her house.
I met her on Friday 10 am at starbucks.  She's an 60 year old lady.  Once in the coffee shop, naturally I bought coffee for both of us.  This woman ordered the biggest cup of some exotic coffee drink, asked for hot water and other stuff, needing a tray to carry all her stuff.
Once we sat down, she pulled out a Fidelity statement.  On it she had highlighted the balance number, and ask me to read the number to her, which is $1.2 mil.  I guess she was trying to make sure I get it that it is a $1million+ acct.
She started talking about herself, telling me how many investments her family has, and that she had never worked a day in her life, and that she married well and raised 3 good children who are doctors and lawyer, etc.
In between talking about herself we briefly touched about investments but she was very unfocused.
Suddenly she said she forgot some document at her doctors office and asked if I can drive her there.  I did.
Then when we got out of the doctor's office, she said if you still have time now we can talk about investments; let's find a place.  I said OK and she suggested going to Pasta Pamadoro for some "salad".
Once there, she went into a ordering spree again.  She ordered soup, then Salmon salad with an extra piece of salmon, separate plate of spinach, two glasses of red wine.  She barely could eat half the food and asked for boxes to take food home. 
We were not done yet, she needed dissert and coffee.  The bill came out to be $70, with my portion costing just $13.  This is not an outrageous amount when it comes to wining and dining in our industry, but she was so obviously abusing the courtesy and shamelessly doing so too.
Again, in between talking about herself we talked about investments here and there, but she's still very unfocused.
Before we parted she asked me to meet her again on Wednesday, and tell her what I allocation I would suggest for a $1 mil portfolio that will generate 8%-10% annual return.  "Oh, by the way" she said, "I need to go to the bank first on Wednesday".
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Do you think this is a serious lead?  She is obviously abusing my time and my T&E budget, no question there.  I just can't determine whether she is genuinely considering my service, or has no such intention at all.
I do have some clients who from time to time treat me like their chauffeur and expect me to treat them to lunch, but they feel comfortable about it since they have given me business.
I have never met a PROSPECT who are so bold.  But on the flip side, maybe that boldness indicates she's serious.... I don't know. 
What do you think?
 

AllREIT's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-16

That statement is probably fake, and she has obvious problems that will preclude a good working relationship.

She is behaving like someone who wants to abuse your T&E budget,
not like somone who needs financial advice. Do you know people with
serious money who act like she does?

Usually doing 1on1 meetings screens out the platelickers, since most
people don't have the balls (ovaries) to invite a personal meeting
unless they are serious. You got a chance to meet one of the few people
who will do it.
I would not have driven her to the doctors office, that's her
problem and its not for you to get involved. Very obvious red flag,
among other signs (including the display of the statement, obviously
intended to push your buttons.) .

Morphius's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-21

I think you know very well the answer to your own question, you just are hoping it isn't so.  Hope, as we know, is no plan.Tell her your next meeting is IN YOUR OFFICE, or no where.  Remind her you help people manage their money, and you only have initial 'get to know you' meetings (like your first one) outside your office.  And you certainly do not provide free portfolio recommendations to anyone who asks for them.In other words, lay down the law of how you work and how things will be if she wants to work with you.  Then follow through, either way.  Either you will have a decent client who knows and is willing to respect your professionalism, or you will avoid wasting more time and money on someone who would not be a worthwhile client ANYWAY - even IF she has a million plus in her portfolio.  Not every prospect with a million dollars is a client you want - or should want.And finally, once the issue with this particular prospect is resolved, resolve in your own mind what your process is and who you are willing to work with.You're NOT a prostitute who will do anything for money, and you do not give away your expertise, so be clear up front with prospects and clients alike EXACTLY what you willing to do.  Then stick to that, no matter how attractive a prospect.That will both preserve your sanity AND improve your business.  People want to do business with successful, confident advisers who are not desperate.  Then watch how this change in your attitutude improves how prospects respond to you.

Cowboy93's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-10

I agree with the above responses. However, I wouldn't count her out
yet...if you can make the subtle change to tell her you need to get down
to business, you may be able to make it work. Just give her an allocation
(if she meets w/you in your office or some place where you stay in one
place) with no specifics...ex: 10% small growth (but not the fund/ETF
you'll use). If this craziness of driving her around and buying multiple
meals occurred once a year or less, it may be worth the annoyance. For
the FA that already has a $100mil book, maybe not, but for those of us
still working towards that....just have to decide at some point if it is worth
the time and trouble.

But it is very true that you will be treated how you act and allow people to
treat you. Make sure any future meetings have an agenda that you both
understand will be followed. After a second meeting, I DO think you'll be
able to tell her "this is how I do things, and I'd love to work with you if
______, _____, and ______."

By the way, I don't think it is that bad that she didn't talk about
investments, only herself...that means she wants YOU or someone else to
manage the $, and hopefully she'll think you gave a damn about her.

aldo63's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-11

the other problem, if this account is not an ira is capital gains. if you start selling off funds she may have owned for 20 years, that would not be good. maybe she could do a wrap account???

bluestar's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-14

I also thought about the possibility that she has fake statement.  But is it possible someone would do that just to scam meals??!!  I can't imagine someone has the balls to do that....
But I do have a hunch she set the 2nd meeting to coincide with her need to go to the bank.  In San Francisco some people don't have a car and parking is a bitch.  We'll see.
I'm inclined to give it one more chance, but with a plan to cut things off.  Here is my plan:
9:30 am on Wednesday am I meet her.  She asks me to drive her to the bank.  Fine, my morning is shot anyway.
10:30 am she's done with the bank, we find a starbucks to sit down; she wants the biggest latte and whatever.  Fine, How much can she spend in Starbucks, right? 
Then I present the allocation she's asking for and see how she responds.  If she continues to dance around, drag things out, and suggests we go to lunch, that will be when I cut things off.
Does that sound like an adequate plan?
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A separate question I have been thinking about...... If I am to cut things off at that point, what attitude should I do it with?
Should I still be as polite as possible and do it with respect? "Ms. xyz, I have to get back to office by.... and cannot do lunch.  If you want to continue this discussion you'll have to go to my office."
Should I be stern and just leave the door slightly ajar? "Ms. xyz, I'm getting the feeling that I won't be the right financial advisor for you.  I'm a professional money manager, I can't drive people around all day long.  If that's really what you are looking for, come down to my office where we can focus on money management."
Or should I tell her I know what she's up to and I don't want her as a client?
 

YHWY's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-18

bluestar, Are you a very new broker who is taking any client he can get? This is the question. Even if the answer is in the affirmative, remember that YOU choose with whom you do business. My experience tells me that poorly behaved clients only get more so. This woman's priority with you is NOT to tend to her investments.  Even if you succeed in moving all $1.2mm into new investments and score a windfall ticket(s) is it going to be worth this woman insisting on meeting you for breakfast, lunch and dinner to answer every question she has (and imagine her demands once you've gotten paid by her??) That being said, how desperate are you for new clients?????? The ball's in your court. No one here can call this one for you.

Morphius's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-21

There's an old joke that details a man asking a young, single woman if she'd sleep with him if he paid her $100.  Appalled, she said NO!  He persisted: how about for $10MM dollars?  She struggled with the idea but finally figured, what the heck - for that much money she'd be nuts to turn down this crazy offer - so she said yes.The guy then asked, "OK, would you sleep with me for $1,000?" to which she replied, "hell no, what do you think I am?"His response: "Since you were willing to sleep with me for money we know WHAT you are, the only thing we don't know is what your PRICE is."Really, bluestar, chauffeur people around and buy them coffee and lunch while giving away asset allocation advice all you want and  tell yourself whatever you want about being an adviser.  But your actions will speak louder than words.  In the end she'll know exactly what you are and all that will be left to be determined is what your price is.Re-read what I said earlier.  I did NOT say don't give her another chance.  I said give her a chance to be a real client and come into the office.  If she won't do that, you're losing NOTHING but your delusions instead of your time, energy, pride and money.  It's up to you.  Either she'll be trying to determine what you are, or she'll be trying to determine what your price is.So - what's your price?

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

Since she found you through an advertisement, and not by referral from an existing client, there is an extra chance you are being scammed, even if it is just an innocent personality flaw.
Offer one more professional meeting at the office, only, for one hour, with a follow up meeting, if she wants. Call and reschedule to this arrangement, if needed, saving face by citing pressing work load concerns. If you can shape her behaviour and expectations a little, she might be a worthy client.

granuja's picture
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Joined: 2007-08-29

Deadwood and the others have given you good advice.  This woman is abusing your time and you look cheap and as if you have nothing better to do.  If she was a real prospect the fact that you are willing to be her chauffeur and grovel in front of her doesn't look good.
Stress to her that you are busy and have other client appointments and would be willing to set aside an hour of your time for a review IN YOUR OFFICE.  If she isn't willing to do this, then advise her that this is not how you do business and she should look for another advisor.
 

PWM365's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-04

Would your doctor, lawyer, CPA, etc.. drive you around for your daily errands? Would you feel confident that they were qualified professionals if they did? Come on bluestar, have a little respect for yourself and our profession.
Offer her your time at your office. If she doesn't want to come and visit with you there, she isn't serious. Forget about her and move on. One million dollar accounts are nice; but are really just a small part of whats necessary to get a business up and running. The bay area has plenty of money, you'll find other million dollar accounts that actually want financial advise.

deekay's picture
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Joined: 2007-05-15

I still can't decide whether to believe you ran this woman all over town.  Either your pipeline is not full and you feel the need to woo this prospect OR you are ignorant because you truly feel this is an actual prospect.  Either way, not a good situation for you.  If she won't meet at your office, cross her off your list and move on.

troll's picture
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Good points. And PWM, the difference is that because this is about money, clients do want a more personal relationship than with some other professionals. So the advisor need not feel unprofessional about having invested some personal time, now it's time to reel in the line and see if the hook will hold and if the fish is a keeper.
Bluestar, in my not so humble opinion, only invest personal time with good clients, through appreciation events and so on, and they will send you a lot of referrals. You have been around, what say you? The one million is probably wacky money, but be nice and see if it jumps into the boat, if you indeed want to let it jump in with you.
 

Morphius's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-21

Quincy Teacher wrote:Million dollar accounts are not easy to find, in spite of what the collective wisdom of more than 39 months in the business have been saying.
The largest account I had used to routinely call and ask me to do something for him--just to see if I would do it.  He did not think less of me for having been cooperative with him, and I didn't think less of him for pushing buttons.
The question I have is why this woman doesn't have her own car?  If there is a logical reason for not having one then asking somebody who she will be hiring to shuttle her around a bit isn't that big a deal.
This is a sales business and in sales there is a saying worth remembering.  "The customer is always right."
If the customer wants you to stand on your head and whistle Dixie out of your butt you thank them for the opportunity to do something for them and comply.
I'm not saying you should do that for a $10,000 IRA rollover--but this woman is $1,200,000 at Fidelity plus who knows what else.I can't remember the last time I read such a load of B.S.  With insight like that, I cannot even believe that you are in the business, Quincy Teacher.All that information, and the question you have is why doesn't she have her own car?!?!  Your brilliance is blinding!If my clients (I have no customers as you do) were always right, they would not be paying me to advise them, and if I let them do whatever they wanted I would be either a useless whore or a Quincy Teacher.Go pick up the dry cleaning and get a pack of cigarettes for you 'customer' who routinely has you run errands for him, and leave the serious business to those of us actually IN the business.Enjoy the errand business.  You've finally found your niche in life.

troll's picture
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If the customer wants you to stand on your head and whistle Dixie out of your butt you thank them for the opportunity to do something for them and comply.
Who knows if she is whacky or could be a decent client. I have learned to invest a little time and try to learn from situations as well as gather assets. If you do a really good job with everything you touch, enough will stick over the years such that you will be doing only service and collecting the trails and referrals. There will come a day when there will be no chasing. Until then, go with your instincts, think for yourself.

granuja's picture
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The largest account I had used to routinely call and ask me to do something for him--just to see if I would do it.  He did not think less of me for having been cooperative with him, and I didn't think less of him for pushing buttons
Yes, he did think less of you and you should have thought less of him.  This is the worst advice I have ever heard.  I have good clients that I will go the extra mile for.....but I draw the line at being their go-fer and errand boy.  I'm a professional financial advisor not some flunky door man or whipping post.
The other main difference is that this is NOT a client yet or ever.

bluestar's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-14

First, thank you for all your input.  Let me answer a few questions here:
1. Yes I did drive her to dr's office (shame on me).  But it was just 20 blocks away and in total a 30 min senic tour.  This request did not bother me because I do have a couple other clients of about same size acct that did this to me.  What's surprising to me is, those are CLIENTS and this woman is a PROSPECT who I met for the first time.
2. Living in SF without a car is not unique, especially for older people, since everything is rather close and parking is such a hassle.
3. I'm not new to business but I can always use an additional $1 m acct any time.  If driving her around once a month can get me this acct, I'd do it myself or send a car service.
I'm not concerned about the monetary and time investment I have to make to acquire this or any other account; I'm more concerned about the sick feeling I'd have if it turns out she is scamming me from the very beginning.
4. I agree even if she becomes a client this has potential to be a continuous headache down the road, but I figure it's too soon to make that assumption.
--------------------------------
One little detail I forgot to mention but that can be important.  At the end of our meeting she asked me to drive her home; I'm also to pick her up at her home for next meeting, so she was not afraid to let me know where she lives.  Does this detail mean anything?

troll's picture
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Every situation is unique.
Go with your instincts and learn. Be persistant in this career, always do the right thing for the client. Respect yourself.
Let us know what happens, maybe we'll all learn something.

Cowboy93's picture
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Ditto above...great case study in trying to read people.

troll's picture
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I have several 1m+ accounts where the client is a little quirky. In fact, a high % of quirky clients have 1m+. Not that you want to fill your book with them, it is always about the marketing mix.
In this business, you get a shot at certain opportunites. Not all of them pan out for gold. If you don't recognize each unique opportunity, you may not accrete enough residue to pay the fixed costs and break through to profitability.
Over time, all of this needs to come in through recurring revenues, which is why you need an intelligent marketing mix - small accounts and large, conventional and quirky. At least, this is one forumula for success. There are many paths.

PWM365's picture
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Bluestar, you've had coffee with this woman, taken her to lunch and acted as her driver for the day. Where has this all lead? Has she made any type of commitment to you? Do you feel that you have used your precious time wisely?
Being nice is great but you need to also be viewed as a true professional in what you do. All good relationships are built on mutual respect and without it you will have a miserable future with this client. Earn her respect by being the best adviser possible, not by being her servant. Otherwise when the market plummets, an investment choice goes south, etc.. you will be forever be in the position of trying to justify your value and expertise.
If someone has a legitimate reason for not coming to your office (medical problem, etc) then fine; otherwise she has no reason not to come in. This isn't a power play on your part; it's because you are busy and have other clients that need you. You need to explain that you're there for your clients just as she would want you available for her if she becomes a client (and you decide to accept her). Best of luck on this; I've been through similiar situations and more often than not they were a waste of time.

troll's picture
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Telling a prospect that you don't have time for them is not a way to win their business.

troll's picture
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To the original poster.... If you were asked to drop someone off somewhere, after a meeting, and that somewhere was on your way to wherever you were going, ok, I could see that.
Otherwise, you and your prospect need to decide whether you are being hired/interviewed/whatever, as a Financial Advisor, or a Personal Concierge.
I understand the pull of a potential million dollar client as well as anyone, but you really need to be smart about it. Dont get into a relationship that so obviously will render you subservient. Thats what this is all about.

troll's picture
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This is pimping for new business as we say at amp.  You should have a certain way of doing business and this shouldn't be one of them: at the mercy of the clients.
At the get go, you should have said, "excuse me, I have other client meetings and we'll have to meet at a more convenient time.  Give me a call when you have more time to discuss your finances.  May I call you a cab?  Have a nice afternoon."

madabroker's picture
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It would be interesting to see the response if you simply told her you can't give her an "asset allocation" without knowing her entire financial picture (which you know you can't, anyway), that you'd also need to see copies of her last two years' of tax returns, and then went into a "how is your health" conversation. If she lives in SF and owns her own place, AND has $1mm in taxable account, AND money is coming from somewhere else, she has an estate planning issue. The next step would be some preliminary life insurance qualifiers - getting her to sign some forms! That would be her "tell" - she'll either see you as something other than a stock jockey or not. Can you charge fees?

bspears's picture
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How about the French Laundry, Julie's Kitchen and Fresco lunch with tour at Robert Mondavi's.  Wine tasting at Coppola's...mud bath and massage at Calistoga. Tasting at Berringers, Don Chandon...We stayed at Villagio in Yountville.  This was nice, but not as nice as the Heritage House.  All in all, great food, great wine (and some not to my liking)...oh and Charles Krug, Sterling, Grgich....but now it is over and back to work.  We also had a picnic lunch at....hell, I can't remember...  

troll's picture
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Quincy Teacher wrote:
Gosh Mike, I'm flattered that you pay so much attention to me.
 
Imagine how we feel, with you spending so much attention on us.
BTW, your story about what you claim to have done doesn't change the fact that you posted here throughout the weekend....

Anonymous's picture
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bspears wrote:We also had a picnic lunch at....hell, I can't remember...  
V. Sattui

bspears's picture
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Ah..yes V Sattui....and it was packed.  Great time...will definately go back to try more of the 400 wineries in the area.

bluestar's picture
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OK here is what happened during the second meeting.
Met prospect at her home at 9:30 am.  She said let's find a coffee shop to sit down.  Went to starbucks and went thru same routine; $6 and change.  She said she has very good impressioin of me from last time.  Some small talks ensued, but the conversaton could not stay on investments.
She had said lat time that she would invite her brother who is a big executive at some firm.  So I asked her where she is.  She gave me some story that he's not back from a biz trip yet.  By then I kind of decided she's phony; but I was curious about her lunch plan.
At 10 am she said I need to stop by the bank, let's continue afterwards.  Took her to the bank which is 10 blocks away.  When she came out it was close to 10:50 am.  I suggest going back to starbucks, but she suggested we go to Olive Garden for some very good salad.  Looks like she's eating healthy these days.
At that point I told her (polite through the end), Ms. XYZ, this initial getting-to-know-you process is both for you to see if we are good enough for you, as well as for us to see whether we can serve you.  I don't think we can serve you.
My only "retaliation" was having her sit in my car after that message, as I took her home.
So folks, the biggest lesson I learned from this episode is that, yes, a person of $1 mil networth CAN risk that embarrassment just for a free salad.
Anyone want her phone number?

YHWY's picture
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Anyone want her phone number? No, but I'll take yours. I might have some money to invest and I'm hungry.

Morphius's picture
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Good for you, bluestar.  Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.You learned a lesson, and you didn't allow yourself to become an eternal errand boy.  Learn from this going forward and it will have been a reasonable investment.  Ignore it and repeat the same mistake and it will be shame on you.Dust off your shoes, turn your back on her and begin again.  There is a sea of deserving clients waiting for your help.  Go find them.

AllREIT's picture
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bluestar wrote:So folks, the biggest lesson I learned from
this episode is that, yes, a person of $1 mil networth CAN
risk that embarrassment just for a free salad.

Did you think HNW people are different than you and me?

troll's picture
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AllREIT wrote:bluestar wrote:So folks, the biggest lesson I learned from this episode is that, yes, a person of $1 mil networth CAN risk that embarrassment just for a free salad.Did you think HNW people are different than you and me?
 
Are you saying you'd do what she did? Personally I think the woman has a screw loose, and in that regard, people with money are just as  suspectible to lunacy as people without.

troll's picture
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bluestar wrote:
I have an ad in a paper advertising asset management service.  Last week I received a phone call from a prospect, who asked me to meet her at a coffee shop near her house.
I met her on Friday 10 am at starbucks.  She's an 60 year old lady.  Once in the coffee shop, naturally I bought coffee for both of us.  This woman ordered the biggest cup of some exotic coffee drink, asked for hot water and other stuff, needing a tray to carry all her stuff.
Once we sat down, she pulled out a Fidelity statement.  On it she had highlighted the balance number, and ask me to read the number to her, which is $1.2 mil.  I guess she was trying to make sure I get it that it is a $1million+ acct.
She started talking about herself, telling me how many investments her family has, and that she had never worked a day in her life, and that she married well and raised 3 good children who are doctors and lawyer, etc.
In between talking about herself we briefly touched about investments but she was very unfocused.
Suddenly she said she forgot some document at her doctors office and asked if I can drive her there.  I did.
Then when we got out of the doctor's office, she said if you still have time now we can talk about investments; let's find a place.  I said OK and she suggested going to Pasta Pamadoro for some "salad".
Once there, she went into a ordering spree again.  She ordered soup, then Salmon salad with an extra piece of salmon, separate plate of spinach, two glasses of red wine.  She barely could eat half the food and asked for boxes to take food home. 
We were not done yet, she needed dissert and coffee.  The bill came out to be $70, with my portion costing just $13.  This is not an outrageous amount when it comes to wining and dining in our industry, but she was so obviously abusing the courtesy and shamelessly doing so too.
Again, in between talking about herself we talked about investments here and there, but she's still very unfocused.
Before we parted she asked me to meet her again on Wednesday, and tell her what I allocation I would suggest for a $1 mil portfolio that will generate 8%-10% annual return.  "Oh, by the way" she said, "I need to go to the bank first on Wednesday".
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Do you think this is a serious lead?  She is obviously abusing my time and my T&E budget, no question there.  I just can't determine whether she is genuinely considering my service, or has no such intention at all.
I do have some clients who from time to time treat me like their chauffeur and expect me to treat them to lunch, but they feel comfortable about it since they have given me business.
I have never met a PROSPECT who are so bold.  But on the flip side, maybe that boldness indicates she's serious.... I don't know. 
What do you think?
 

Are you an indy?  Either way, doesn't your company have a proposed way to "doing business"?
I disagreee with the above suggestion, you don't "assume" you have her business.
With this type of client who wants to abuse your time, it would be best setting up a specific time in your office to discuss her finances.  After the first cup of coffee, I would have said, "we're going 'dutch".
I'm curious to at what lengths brokers go to in getting a client!!!
 

troll's picture
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#1You should have given her an "If then" close, "Sure, I'll drive you to the bank, but then we're going to my office so we can get your accounts open and switched over from Charlie Schwab." Not a question, a statement of fact, an assumed close.
#2If she balked, then you say, "Well, if when you decide that I'm the guy that you want to provide you with all the great services that my firm offer, then I'll be more than happy to work with and for you. I'll be glad to drop you off at the bank, but then I NEED  to go to my office to deal with my existing clients." (I can't believe you waited 50 minutes for her and then blew her off.)
#3If she balks further, then close for DNC exemption, "Well, Ms Jones, I'll be happy to keep you in my tickler file, and when I have some ideas I think will help you, if it's ok with you I'll give you a call." 
Good points, though.  Just disagree with the assumption outlined in #1 above.  You obviously need to brushup on your Opening and closing techniques.  Don't let the client abuse your time.  Little old ladies in sixty year old range like the attention of being catered to but doesn't mean they will give your their business as you obviously shown here.

YHWY's picture
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bluestar,
 Pay no attention to whomit. He's the guy who thinks he can close anyone. (And he's right, as long as it's an imaginary sale hypothetically conducted on an internet forum.)
 In the real world, it will serve you well to be honest when identifying a Qualified Prosepect. A Qualified Posepect is one who A) Has money to invest AND B) Has the desire and ability to invest.
 Yourwoman may or may not have had A, but she ABSOLUTELY lacked B.

troll's picture
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What lengths should he go to, though to get business?  bluest needs to have his processes standardized without having someone abuse his time, wouldn't you agree?  Suggest preliminary questions first to ensure client isn't bs'ing you.  Tell the client you ain't running no escort service.  We know about people getting the free lunches at ameriprizesux (it ain't no prize! to work there) but you should be able to easily tell when you are being swindled.  The customer is always right but they have to be your customer first!

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

YHWY,
He closed, we all close all the time. The question is what we close for.
Bluestar closed for his ego, but not for his business.
He closed the door, and he burned his bridge behind him. More than burning the bridge, he made an enemy out of somebody, which may be ok on an internet forum, but it's just not a smart way to do business. This woman now has a story to tell all of her friends, and Bluestar is the villian in that telling, Ms Jones is Sweet Polly Purebreed. Dumb Dumb Dumb!
Never forget that you don't know who knows whom!

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Whomit. If blue's post is all true, this woman had no desire to do business and may not even have had any investable assets. Yes, a deal was closed, a free-lunch looser was sent packing. Victory: bluestar.
 You keep on thinking you can will people not only to deal with you, but to have the assets to do so. It's just not a practical theory to share. Not every person willing to speak to you is a legitimate prospect. Only newbies and failures waste time dealing with those identified as the non-qualified.

bluestar's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-14

Having assessed the two meetings in totality, I came to the conclusion that this prospect is not worth converting to client.  It was unclear how much more time needs to be invested before conversion, and it was clear she's gonna be a pain to service in the future.  So I cut loss. 
Others might make a different call for the same situation, but my call was to cut loss.
We are "boutique" enough not to need a rigid standardized procedure.  Every prospect and client is different and we do our best to accomodate (this woman does not drive, for example, so insisting her to come to my office would nix any meeting from the beginning).  It's just that this prospect went beyond our ability to accomodate.

troll's picture
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ameriprizesux wrote:
#1You should have given her an "If then" close, "Sure, I'll drive you to the bank, but then we're going to my office so we can get your accounts open and switched over from Charlie Schwab." Not a question, a statement of fact, an assumed close.
#2If she balked, then you say, "Well, if when you decide that I'm the guy that you want to provide you with all the great services that my firm offer, then I'll be more than happy to work with and for you. I'll be glad to drop you off at the bank, but then I NEED  to go to my office to deal with my existing clients." (I can't believe you waited 50 minutes for her and then blew her off.)
#3If she balks further, then close for DNC exemption, "Well, Ms Jones, I'll be happy to keep you in my tickler file, and when I have some ideas I think will help you, if it's ok with you I'll give you a call." 
Good points, though.  Just disagree with the assumption outlined in #1 above.  You obviously need to brushup on your Opening and closing techniques.  Don't let the client abuse your time.  Little old ladies in sixty year old range like the attention of being catered to but doesn't mean they will give your their business as you obviously shown here.

And you need to go back to client school and know what's happening.
You say to Ms Jones 'If this then that.' she still has every right and ability to say "No!" and in Blewitstar's case a "No" is as good as a "Yes". But the important thing is to not give her the oppening to say "Okay, no!" If she's going to say no, she has to say it on her own, not because he suggested it.
This is very much like the "Is there anything else?" close which goes essentially:
Pitch idea, then comes Q&A.
"Well, what's the street consensus forward earnings on this company?"
"That's a very good question Mr. Jones, but before I answer it, let me ask you this, Is there anything other than the forward earnings that are standing in the way of this investment?"
If "No"
Then "Great, actually the forward earnings is what attracts me to this idea in the first place, they're looking for $2.00 this year and $3.00 next year, that's 50% growth trading at a 12 P/E, Let's pick up 3,000 shares."
If "Yes"
Then "Great, what else is standing in the way?" 

bluestar's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-14

In my experience, birds of a feather flock together; cheapskates tend to associate with cheapskates.  I would have to think twice if she were to ask me to meet with her friends.
SF bay area is flooded with wealthy people.  $1 mil acct, while nice to have, really is just average, maybe even slightly below.  A few of our peer firms don't even take accts below $1 mil.
Whomitmayconcer wrote:
YHWY,
He closed, we all close all the time. The question is what we close for.
Bluestar closed for his ego, but not for his business.
He closed the door, and he burned his bridge behind him. More than burning the bridge, he made an enemy out of somebody, which may be ok on an internet forum, but it's just not a smart way to do business. This woman now has a story to tell all of her friends, and Bluestar is the villian in that telling, Ms Jones is Sweet Polly Purebreed. Dumb Dumb Dumb!
Never forget that you don't know who knows whom!

YHWY's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-18

Whom, Bluestar made the correct decision, despite your advice.

granuja's picture
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Joined: 2007-08-29

This woman now has a story to tell all of her friends, and Bluestar is the villian in that telling, Ms Jones is Sweet Polly Purebreed. Dumb Dumb Dumb!
I wouldn't worry about it.  If this woman actually HAD any friends, THEY would be carting her around town and going to lunch with her instead of her freeloading off of a newbie broker that she knew was desperate for her so called million dollar account.
She was scamming you.  Live and learn.

YHWY's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-18

bluestar, go rent Boiler Room and Glenngary Glen Ross. You'll get all of whomitmay's cliches AND be entertained.
 Whomit, I coulda sworn you took your ball and went home a few months back, vowing never to return.

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

granuja wrote:
This woman now has a story to tell all of her friends, and Bluestar is the villian in that telling, Ms Jones is Sweet Polly Purebreed. Dumb Dumb Dumb!
I wouldn't worry about it.  If this woman actually HAD any friends, THEY would be carting her around town and going to lunch with her instead of her freeloading off of a newbie broker that she knew was desperate for her so called million dollar account.
She was scamming you.  Live and learn.

Project much?
What could possibly be better than having introduction to a pile of millionaire "friends" who were used to being submissive?
Everybody has friends. Even I have friends! Stop loading all of your rationalizations on this character.
 

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

YHWY wrote:
bluestar, go rent Boiler Room and Glenngary Glen Ross. You'll get all of whomitmay's cliches AND be entertained.
 Whomit, I coulda sworn you took your ball and went home a few months back, vowing never to return.

You only got introduced to AIDA in a movie which you probably don't understand anyway?
I think I was 8 years old when I first read AIDA in a sales training book.
Of the two of us, Whom's advice is the one bluestar should be taking.
As to my balls: Chin. 

bluestar's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-14

Gentlemen,
Her blatant abuse in the first meeting caught me off guard, but for the second meeting I did prepare a few questions to test her (similar to all the good stuff proposed here).  I don't want to do a transcript but the bottomline is she was obvious dancing around the topic, to the point I felt I've done my due diligence.
If anyone else feel like taking a shot, I'm not kidding, I'm willing to share her phone number (just take me out to a $70 Pasta Pomodoro lunch when you convert).
Is it OK to post number here?
ameriprizesux wrote:Whomitmayconcer wrote:YHWY wrote:
Whomit. If blue's post is all true, this woman had no desire to do business and may not even have had any investable assets. Yes, a deal was closed, a free-lunch looser was sent packing. Victory: bluestar.
 You keep on thinking you can will people not only to deal with you, but to have the assets to do so. It's just not a practical theory to share. Not every person willing to speak to you is a legitimate prospect. Only newbies and failures waste time dealing with those identified as the non-qualified.

First off, that's a gigantic "IF".
The rest of your blather is just that, speculation and bluster.
Was she a leech? Yeah, probably. But that doesn't mean that blowing her off was the smart way to go. It was only that Blewitstar didn't have the ballz to close before her drove her to the bank (when he had any at all leverage in the relationship) That he sat out in the car for 50 minutes with nothing but a whiff of a chance of taking control of the situation and then not even having the hairs to say, yeah, we'll go to lunch AFTER we go to the office and open the accounts tells me that, probably, Blewitstar's post is probably not the truth that the truth really was.
It was the truth that comforted Bluestar's ego.

Reread bluestar's posts.
She had the funds.  She showed you a legit statement.
Bluestar, you lacked the ballz to stay in control of this prospect who was leading you by the ballz.
Small talk at first meeting: Parking is really really a hassle in this town - so Ms. Waste of Time, how do you normally get around if you don't drive, take a cab?
I have no problem with taking you to the bank since I understand that yuo don't drive - how do you normally get your errands done, I don't recall what you said before?  Do you normally take a cab?
Ms. Waste of Time, let me propose this:  "When your brother is in town, why don't you have him drive you to my office and I can discuss doing business with both of you?  I find that I and my clients can focus much better in my office.  By the way, I also make good Starbucks coffee and have several varieties of tea available, too.  We can call a delivery service for lunch if we want?  Sound like a plan!"
Look forward to doing business with you ...and maybe your brother, too!
You lost out on an opportunity.
You blew it.  Always be closing.  A good less for "next time".  Don't let the client lead you by the ballz, have th balls to "lead" them instead.
.....If you like challenges, you could call and redeem yourself and say, we can try discussing business again at my office, when should I swing by and pick you up?  (..... Mind going with me while I run a few erands, cleaners...stop off at my bank first...) I'll pick up a couple of coffees and salads to go on the way over. 
Always be closing.

YHWY's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-18

Whom, Maybe if you stopped wasting so much time chasing unqalified prosepcts (or at least telling others to) you wouldn't be so angry.
 It's funny that you use terms like "Bluster" and "Projection" when addressing others, as you have obvious insecurity issues.
Have you met Putsy? I think you guys would really hit it off!

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

Is it ok to post a prospect's name and number here?
What are you? Desirous of being in a different business?
Sure go ahead and post it, and then when she gets abusively cold called by fifty or sixty people, I'll give her a call and tell her why it's been happening. Then she'll call you manager and you'll be so far out the door so fast it'll make her attorney break a sweat chasing after you!
Don't be stupid!
Amerinancy,
Don't!

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