When you started your practice, most likely you were instructed to start building your book by prospecting your warm market.
Seems like a no-brainer, right? After all, these people know you and there’s some comfort and trust, which means a big sales hurdle is automatically avoided…or is it?
Money touches every part of our lives and it is a serious, sometimes sensitive topic for most people.
If the conversation feels awkward when you bring it up, you may be dealing with one or more unspoken objections. Often, they will have nothing at all to do with you. When you understand what may be going on underneath, you can pick up on the clues, deal with the concern and win them as a client.
Sometimes the concern is you, and in that case, of course your friend or relation will be loathe to bring this up for fear of hurting your feelings or disappointing you.
Let’s take a look at these unspoken concerns and how to deal with them!
Status. Right now your relationship has a certain equilibrium; you both know ‘where you stand’. Each of you has a certain status in the relationship. Your connection may fear that if you got a full picture of their finances you would think differently about them. (Is the fact that they inherited a big chunk of money going to change the dynamic when you go out to dinner? Are they going to lose face by showing you that they can’t actually afford the lifestyle they’ve displayed?) There’s also an inequality in the process – you get to see their finances but they don’t get to see yours.
Investopedia definition of ‘Chinese Wall’:
The ethical barrier between different divisions of a financial (or other) institution
To avoid conflict of interest.
Serving family and friends can be delicate. All members of your warm market should feel absolutely confident that you can be trusted with their private information, especially within your network of common connections. Explain to them your core beliefs and processes in this respect.
When you are sharing client stories to illustrate a concept always speak in respectful terms and shield the details enough so it is not possible for anyone to guess who you are speaking about. Once they observe this high level of integrity, they will be more apt to trust your discretion and professionalism.
Referral Partner. Develop a strong referral relationship with another Advisor you think highly of. When members of your warm market need some planning support but don’t feel comfortable revealing their finances to you, refer them to your colleague. And make yourself available to serve the other Advisor’s nearest and dearest when they face the same situation with members of their warm market.
When it is you. What’s your reputation with the person you’re approaching? Have they always known you as the party guy or gal? Have you changed careers 5 times in the last 5 years? Do you have habits of lateness or not responding to their communications? Are you a gossip?
Any of these behaviours/qualities may be forgivable as a friend but a liability as a financial advisor. In order to overcome them you’ll need to make an observable and permanent change in your old habits.
What if you’re responsible and respected but just really young. When you know that’s an unspoken concern in your prospect’s mind, bring it out into the open and deal with it.
You can say something like:
‘How do you feel about my age?’ Let them respond and then say ‘I respect your opinion and you should take this decision seriously. We’re talking about your financial well-being. I’ve given my best to every major challenge in life (graduated with honours, promoted at xx job, etc…), and I take my chosen career very seriously.
I am professionally accredited to help you with x and y services. In addition to that, I am being mentored by a top advisor and all my financial decisions are overseen for the first xx years. I care about you and your financial success more than a stranger would. Will you consider sitting down with me?
Some people in your warm market have no concerns and will happily sit down with you. For the ones who hesitate, use the above tips to allay their concerns. You’ll get more yeses and be able to show them by experience that they made the right decision!
Kira Callahan is an expert sales conversation coach for the financial industry. Her private clients typically experience 30% – 100% increase in appointments and business. Click here to find out more about Kira.