I have seen a lot of studies in my
thirty plus years coaching financial advisors. The studies that ask
people what they want from their financial advisor always have similar
conclusions. Furthermore, it has always been interesting to me that
very few sales cultures ever pay any attention to these studies.
The top three things that
clients want from a psychological standpoint are: 1.
Trust (an advisor they can trust); 2. Focus on the client's
interests or talk about what is important to the client; and 3.
No sales pressure.
Trust is an interesting one. What is trust? Are you saying that you
want to be able to trust an advisor who is trying to sell you
something? Or, do you want an advisor who is going to show you the
issues you face, educate you on the options available to you, and then
let you pick the option that feels right to you? I would prefer the
latter myself. I don't trust anyone who is trying to sell me
something. I don't see how they can have my true interests at heart. I
want to work with an advisor who makes helping me get what I want,
whatever that is, more important than the commission. I have proven
you actually make a lot more money with this style approach, more than
double any other more aggressive style.
Letting the client talk about what is of most interest to him or
her is generally not taught. Everyone gets trained to pitch the
latest and greatest solution to peoples financial problems along with
telling people how wonderful your service and/or your company are. The
truth is no one pays much attention to what you have to offer until
you show people that you care about them. And I mean show people that
you care about them as people not as buying units. How do you do that?
You ask questions. You let your potential client talk. You listen. I
have always lived by Larry Wilson's line from Counselor Selling
of the 1970's, "People buy because they feel you understand them." I
don't think that's the first thought most advisors have going into an
initial meeting with a potential client. It should be!
Get rid of the sale pressure. This is one of my favorite things
to teach. It is so powerful. I have a rule that says the more room you
give people not to buy anything, the more they start looking for
things to buy. That is not a "take away" strategy, which has it's
place. What I am talking about is when you actually tell people they
don't have to buy anything for you to help them and for you to be
friends. When you tell people they don't have to buy anything and mean
it, the relationship dramatically changes.
This is different than saying to people, "I am not here to sell you
anything." I don't like that statement. It is a misrepresentation
to say you don't have anything to sell. What you say instead is, "Of
course I have a lot of products for sale but that is not a requirement
for me to help you and for you and I to be friends." Or another
favorite, which I made up for one of my top clients, "I'm so low-key
you'll have to let me know if you want to buy something." The guy who
uses that line is one of the biggest players in the game and he sold
more than ever when he started using that phrase.
Try this approach on for size. Show people the financial issues
they are going to face. Find out which issues they care enough about
to invest some time and money to create a better situation. Educate
them enough so they understand their options and can make some sound
decisions. Finally, as a team, create a couple of strategies that will
improve their situation and then let them pick the one they like the
most. In other words, get them to take some action based on what they
said they wanted. This is the approach of the most successful
(relationship-oriented) advisors in the financial services business.
Interestingly, most advisors don't start out with this approach.
However, this is the approach that emerges for the super stars after a
lot of trial and error. If this is where you are going to end up
anyway, why not embrace the power of this approach today! Yes, it's
different. It's easier. It's way more profitable. Your clients will
love you and refer you. And it's a lot more fun than pushing people to
buy. You get to chose how you approach this business (which is why I
coach financial advisors). What feels right to you?
Have a productive October,
(424) 228-5575 (Los Angeles, California)
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