In a competitive financial industry, how do you differentiate yourself from all the other Advisors vying for affluent clients?
If you try to position your firm as different because of your x-step process you will quickly see their eyes glaze over. High net worth people don’t care! They assume you have a robust and effective structure, much the same as they assume the Mercedes, Porsche or Bentley sitting in their garage has a top-of-the-line engine. Its table stakes. They wouldn’t be sitting in front of you if they had any doubts about the basics, so don’t use them as a selling point.
How about your products and services? Nope, much the same situation. Although occasionally one financial firm gets the jump on another with an innovative strategy or product, the industry quickly catches up. The suite of services you offer differs slightly, but not significantly, from any other major player in the field.
So what’s going to make the difference?
You. Your ability to build trust – in you and your firm – and connect. More specifically, your ability to ask great questions and demonstrate superior listening skills will have a profound impact.
Not just any question will do. Here’s where you separate your consultative selling skills from 90% of other Advisors out there.
An amazing question you’ve never heard before: ‘What keeps you up at night?’ Obviously I’m kidding. This old trope is so overused it’s become almost meaningless.
Instead, here are three questions that go far beyond your garden variety ‘needs discovery’ exercise. Use them effectively, and discerning HNW prospects will be genuinely impressed.
1. What is happening in your life/business right now that nudged you to take this meeting?
This question immediately moves the focus from you to the prospect. Successful Advisors realize that it’s not about them! No matter how compelling your charm or credibility, people move out of inertia to take action because of their own needs, not because of you. Even if you’re the one who initiated contact, they decided to take the meeting because they see a potential benefit to them. This question demonstrates confidence and cuts through a lot of b.s.
2. How would you compare your different approaches to retirement planning/investing?
This is a powerful question for when you have a couple in front of you. It can’t help but engage them and create a juicy conversation. As you know, money issues hit people at a gut level. This question is provocative; it’s poking the bear. So be prepared to handle their emotions well. If you can respond with poise and make both parties feel heard and validated, you will have a new client.
3. When you think of your various financial concerns, what change would bring you the biggest feeling of relief and security?
Most people are wired to want immediate gratification. This question gets your prospect to think about what’s concerning them right now, but also to look deeper. Focusing them on a feeling of relief and security helps them prioritize longer term goals that will make a lasting impact on their lives, but with the immediate gratification of feeling better.
How often have you walked into a clothing store and been able to tell within seconds whether the sales clerk is killing time in a summer job or is someone who takes their job seriously, knows their stock and has knowledge and advice? It happens all the time.
Discerning professionals can tell the same thing when screening Advisors. Instead of wasting energy trying to prove you’ll be a great Advisor, use these thought-provoking questions to demonstrate the quality of expertise and advice they can expect from you. They’ll be lining up to say yes.