CollegePlannerPro Blog

7 Tips for Navigating the Initial Consultation

Posted by Lisa Davis on February 7, 2018
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The CollegePlannerPro team was recently joined by Raleigh-based IEC, Brooke Daly, for a webinar that focused on the IEC initial consultation with prospective clients. Owner of Advantage College Planning and The IEC Coach, Brooke has over 10 years of experience in the field of independent consulting. She credits much of the successful growth of her businesses to an engaging and tailored initial consultation with families. However, Brooke admits that she was not always the queen of consultations, and like most things, repetition and preparedness were the key to succeeding. During the hour-long webinar, Brooke shed light on what she's learned and what tactics continue to work well for her. Here are 7 of the top tips that we took away from Brooke's presentation.

View a Recording of the Full Webinar Here 

1. Understand and IdentifyYour Good Fit Families

Prior to meeting with families, you should have a strong understanding of who your ideal client is. When you are working with a group of your ideal clients, you'll be invigorated by the work you are doing and will present your best self to families. This in turn will lead to better outcomes and more referrals from happy clients!

2. Prepare Your Mindset and Be Confident

Before gaining significant experience by logging many hours of consultations, you'll want to focus more on your personal mindset when preparing for a consultation. By the time you walk into the consultation, you should feel confident about your services and take away points. Head into the meeting with a defined agenda and a very clear understanding of the message you want families to leave with.

To help guide and shape your mindset, Brooke recommends the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

3. Make it About the Family, Not Yourself

It is easy to get caught up in rattling off information about your services or the outcomes you've delivered. However, in order to best address the questions and concerns of the family, you need to first identify what those are. You should look at the initial consultation as your first chance to make a real connection with the family. Ask good questions, search for connections, and give the family a reason to feel empowered and excited by the potential future you are paving for them.

4. Present Solutions

After listening to the things that keep the parents up at night, be ready to present solutions when discussing your services. Remember, you are selling the solution to a problem, you are not selling the process. Brooke presents a few great examples of this in her webinar (Skip to 32:05 in the webinar recording).

5. Show, Don’t Tell

After spending the majority of your time speaking and connecting with the family, it is important to have professional looking deliverables that you can leave families with. Examples of these deliverables could include handouts or brochures that specifically detail your packages and pricing or samples of binders and worksheets that students receive when working with you.

CollegePlannerPro Members: A great way to showcase your services and deliverables to families is to create a sample student CustomCollegePlan account to show families during the initial consultation. We've created a guide to help you set up and get the most out of a sample student profile. Download Here.

6. Take Notes and Follow Up

You have now spent about an hour connecting with the family, explaining who you are and how you will help. Now it's time to use that information to customize a unique and valuable follow up with the family. Show the family that you were engaged in the meeting by using something specific from your conversation in your follow up. Go a step further and send something of value their way to address that specific point or concern.

7. Limitation Creates Value

Your time and capacity are limited, and you can't work with every student. The good news is, this limitation creates value. Even if you have not yet reached your capacity, by mentioning this to families you meet with, you will drive a sense of urgency. This will help you convert more prospective clients in a shorter period of time.


View a Recording of the Full Webinar Here 

Topics: Marketing, Sales, Best Practices