Mediocre advisors try to sell clients their products and services.
Top advisors and sales professionals don’t do this. Their agenda going into a sales meeting is not focused on their favourite (or most profitable) product to sell. Instead, they are wholly focused on deeply understanding the prospect; getting a well-rounded picture of their lives, their priorities, and from there, their potential financial needs.
You may read this and think – okay yes, but how exactly, do I uncover a compelling need?
Good question. Getting into a sales conversation and peppering your prospective client with fact-finding questions is more likely to annoy, than interest them.
It is important to build a relationship while finding out what you need to know.
Here is a dependable, step-by-step process to accomplish both goals:
First, think in terms of the shape of a funnel. I’m not currently speaking of a sales funnel (many leads flowing into the top, a winnowing out process, a smaller percentage of sales coming out the bottom). In the sales conversation context, think of the funnel in terms of broad questions, slowly becoming more focused.
Broad questions invite your prospect or client to share a lot of information in a free-flowing, conversational manner. This builds comfort and trust while you uncover what you need to know. The right questions will also quickly tap into their most pressing concerns.
Get context first. Examples:
What brought you here today? Or Why did you decide to take this meeting?
Now you know where they are starting from. You’ve also demonstrated that the meeting will be about their needs, not yours.
You may want to follow up with: What financial concerns are most pressing right now?
This question order is not meant to be prescriptive. If this is a first meeting and your client hasn’t decided to trust you with their private financial information yet, you may need to spend more time on rapport. But assuming they are ready, the above questions will quickly paint a picture for you.
Now you are ready to get a little more focused.
Ask fairly open questions about their current circumstances.
I understand reorganizing your finances after your divorce is the biggest thing on your mind right now. Tell me what financial decisions you need to make in the next few weeks or months. What is most urgent?
Then you can narrow the focus even further, asking follow-up questions on each topic.
Tell me more about…
What assets are now in your name?
What are your priorities for a, b, and c asset?
NOTE: Remember, your goal is to get to know them, not quickly land on something you can sell them. To keep the focus on the relationship, once you’ve gotten some clear information about their current circumstances and what they believe they want to do about them, climb back up the funnel again.
Help your prospective client envision a realistic, but ideal outcome for themselves.
Ask future-based questions such as:
In an ideal world, what does the next year look like for you?
A year from now, how would you like to feel about your financial situation?
Then follow each of their answers with some narrower questions to flesh out that vision together.
As you can see, taking the time to understand your prospect or client more fully, leads to an ideal outcome for you! A relationship built on trust, where your client wants you to be their point person. Where they trust you to manage a full suite of services.
Much better than just selling them a Mutual Fund, wouldn’t you say?
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Kira Callahan is an expert sales conversation coach serving the financial industry. Her private clients typically experience 30% – 100% increase in appointments and business booked. Click here to find out more about Kira.