Contrary to the messages coming out of some media outlets and governments, heavy job losses in the blue collar sector aren’t all due to off-shoring (although this is an effect). They are mostly due to automation.
And if you google ‘are robots going to take my job?’, you’ll find quite a few reports and articles forecasting a massive shift to AI-assisted services that will replace white collar jobs as well. These changes are coming, and we have to adapt.
This article is not to inspire anxiety. Instead, I want highlight a distinctly human advantage that we have – emotional intelligence. Our ability to care is something a robot cannot do. And so it’s more critical than ever, that we increase our ability to demonstrate caring to our clients; to thoroughly review our sales and services processes and make sure that we prioritize an experience of caring.
Here are some tips to immediately increase the EQ in your sales interactions:
Adjust your meeting agenda. Re-order your meeting agenda to put personal connection first. Ask open questions to get to know your prospect or client on a personal level. Share a laugh. Find something in common. Get a sense of their emotional state. Do all this before talking about yourself and your company. When you anchor your meeting in a good-feeling place of trust and connection, your prospect or client will then view the whole experience from that place.
‘I may not remember everything you said, but I will never forget how you made me feel.’
George Bernard Shaw
Curate their emotional journey. Financial decisions can be some of the most anxiety-inducing decisions we have to make in life, which is a powerful reason that people avoid them. Since we know that doing a thorough review of their financial situation is likely to stir up emotions, we can prepare for this!
As you walk them through questions on liquidity, retirement, living benefits and estate planning, include some reassurance and congratulations phrases such as:
‘Congratulations! You’ve already got a few good pieces in place. This is a great foundation to build on.’
‘Some of these questions can be challenging, but the peace of mind you will feel once we’ve sorted this out is really profound.’
‘You’re doing great. ‘
‘I’ll be here every step of the way.’
Keep their eye on the prize. Make sure you understand what their deepest priorities are. Be present and listen so that you don’t make the mistake of staying too attached to your idea of the perfect plan, or to anticipated commissions or fees. Once you’ve uncovered a number of needs, get them to prioritize. From that moment on, as their motivation waxes and wanes, keep reminding them how this will help them to achieve their desired result.
Always repeat their goals in the personal context they described them, for example ‘…so that little David and Anna will be taken care of, no matter what happens’ or ‘…so that you and your partner can travel in style, without worrying about the bills being paid’.
Make their follow up as easy as possible. I hear often from Advisors ‘they started off really keen, but it was next to impossible to book a follow up meeting’ or ‘it’s like pulling teeth to get them to gather all the necessary documents!’ Sound familiar?
Keep in mind that your prospective client may hit an emotional wall several times before they see you again. Picture them going into the basement, digging through files to find the right document; or combing through thousands of disorganized emails hoping to remember a subject line. Or, God help them, suffering through the hell that is a governmental ‘service’ line waiting to talk to a human being.
Wouldn’t any one of these exasperating tasks make you reevaluate just how much you want that plan?
If you want fewer cancellations and more complete profiles to work with, take charge of making their follow up easier.
Create a friendly one-page ‘Nearing the Finish Line’ Check-list. Include all the relevant phone numbers and website URLs so they don’t have to hunt for them. Put their goals at the top of the document to help keep them motivated.
Keep their eye on the prize – Part 2. Before your follow up appointment, send your client a friendly, encouraging email reminding them that you’re looking forward to helping them reach their [insert specific] goal. Let them know that you’re available to answer any questions that come up. Add in a piece of good news, if you’ve got it, for instance: additional coverage for the same dollars, or an extra tax advantage that your preliminary research has uncovered.
Taking these steps to care for your prospect or client’s emotional needs throughout the process will raise their experience far above what most Advisors offer. This, along with your expertise, will clearly demonstrate the difference and advantage of working with you, instead of attempting to go it alone with a robo-advisor. No contest!