I am amazed at the number of
relationship-oriented advisors who do a formal factfinder as one of
the first things they do with a potential client. This is a logical
course of action. I was trained the same way. You sell the potential
client on the premise that you need all the facts in order to make
your expert recommendations.
The problem is that if you are
relationship-oriented, your first objective is to connect with the
client. The client is going to buy from you because he or she feels
you understand them, feels that you care about them, and that they can
trust you. A formal factfinder in the first meeting will not
likely accomplish any of these objectives.
Furthermore, doing a formal factfinder
in the first interview is a sterile procedure. I can't think of
anything more boring. And, put yourself in the client's shoes, do you
really want to give all the details of your financial situation to
someone you just met or would you like to get to know them a little?
I remember someone told me early in my
career that you develop rapport with the client as you go through the
formal factfinder. Okay, maybe a little, but not much.
Of course, you need information about
your client. Gathering information about your client never stops. But
you don't need to put them through the agony of a formal factfinder in
the first interview. There is a time when you need facts to complete
the process but rarely is it in the first interview.
One other approach that is totally
inappropriate for relationship-builders is to send the factfinder to
the client before the meeting to have them fill it out. Advisors tell
me they use this as a test to see if the prospect is really
interested. Most people are somewhat unconscious and even embarrassed
about what they are doing with their money. I wouldn't risk having
a potential client do anything on their own before I have had a chance
to find out their strengths and weaknesses; and most important, I want
every opportunity to build a relationship.
I am sure you are getting the idea. If
you are a relationship-builder, doing a formal factfinder in the first
interview is wasting a huge opportunity to guarantee a sale.
Which would you rather have after the first interview, a complete set
of facts or someone who will buy something nine out of ten times
because they feel you understand them and care about them?
So what do you do in the first
interview? You ask open-ended questions and listen. You want to
find out what the client has done with their money. What they like and
don't like about what has happened thus far. How sophisticated they
are about handling their money? Most important, what do they want that
they don't have? And, finally, are they willing to spend some time and
money to get what they want?
I have written extensively on this topic
which is all on my website,
www.SellingWithoutWrestling.com. If you are not already a member,
you can do a 7-day Free Trial and get lots of information on what to
do in the first interview. Start with the Introduction Webinar
so you know how the website is organized. And be sure to check out the
Teaching Interview in the Handout Archive and the
webinar on the Teaching Interview in the Supplemental
THE BOOK ABOUT LIFE INSURANCE that made the New York Times best-seller
list... If you missed my interview with Pamela Yellen,
author of Bank on Yourself, here is the replay link:
If you decide to apply for a relationship with
mention my name and someone will get back to you right away. They get
a ton of inquiries every day.
Have a productive September,
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