Three Things to Avoid in an Initial Consultation


November, 2019

Nancy A Hetrick

When a client comes in to meet with you for that initial consultation, this is your opportunity to really shine and build trust with a prospect so that they walk away confident and knowing that hiring you is the best decision they can make. There are several things to avoid however, in this initial consultation to ensure success.

Remember that the initial consultation is an opportunity for the client to get to know you, how you can best work with them, and whether you are the right fit for their situation. It is not intended to be a therapy session where the client tells you every sordid detail about the reasons for their divorce. So the first thing to avoid is spending a lot of time dwelling on all of the details and emotions that led them to seek you out. This is a delicate balance to strike however, as you want to be empathetic and gather enough of their story to understand the scope of the situation.


“The initial consultation is an opportunity for the client to get to know you.”

I typically begin my initial consultations by simply asking the client where they’re at in the process. That will usually get them giving me enough information that I can understand how we’re going to best be able to proceed. If the client begins to spiral into their story, I will actually raise my hand and say, “Could I interrupt and ask a few very specific questions so that I can get a better understanding of how I could best partner with you in your case?” My experience with this is the client actually experiences a sense of relief. They’ve been telling the same story for a very long time and it’s somewhat exhausting for them as well. they will typically welcome the opportunity to change the subject to something less emotional and more logical.

The second thing to avoid in your initial consultation is actually providing solutions. Remember they haven’t hired you yet. When the client begins asking you specific questions about their situation, you want to answer with something like, “Until I am better acquainted with your full situation, I wouldn’t want to guess at what that answer might be as it really depends on the big picture. But I’m confident that in working together I can get you the answers that you’re looking for. “

Be Sure to Follow Up

The last very common mistake that professionals make after the initial consultation is failure to follow up. It’s common knowledge in sales training that people rarely make a buying decision based on one meeting with a professional. Most of our decisions are made not even after 2 or 3. Statistics show that 80% of sales are made after 5 contacts! Divorce is an especially confusing time where decisions are even more difficult to make than usual. So follow-up is key and needs to be consistent.

When following up, avoid sounding like a salesperson hawking your wares and instead let them know you are simply checking in to see how they’re doing and how you can be of support.

If you’d like to get more information about the right things to do in an initial assessment meeting, stay tuned for a live webinar training coming in December! Details on Black Friday!


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