How many times have you been in conversation with a potential client and felt the unspoken ‘No’ before you’ve barely begun? They haven’t said it yet, but you can feel it hanging in the air between you.
What do you do when that happens? Most Advisors fall into either the ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ category.
If you tend to ‘fight’, you might find yourself talking louder or faster, or overwhelming your prospect with information. If you fall into the ‘flight’ category, you may find yourself using minimizing or defeatist language, avoiding questions that would challenge their thinking, and never asking for the sale.
Both approaches are defensive reactions to stress and neither approach is very effective!
So how do we get out of this binary trap and feel more in the driver’s seat of a sales conversation?
You can take the wheel by understanding your prospect’s fears and concerns, and making them more important than your own. When you do, you can respond, instead of react.
Let’s look at the most common unspoken questions and concerns your prospects have, and how to eliminate them before they even come up:
Am I safe?
This is a biological response that happens so quickly, most of us aren’t consciously aware of it. Your prospect may think they are making a ‘style choice’ when really, they just don’t feel safe. For instance, if needing to make a sale triggers a ‘fight’ response in you, and you have an aggressive manner, even if you are a person of deep integrity, some prospects will feel always on the defensive in conversations with you. On a biological level, that translates into not feeling safe, and you are unlikely to make the sale, regardless of the quality of your offering.
If you’ve experienced this reaction a number of times, here are some conversational adjustments you can make:
Speak slowly and ask open questions that allow them to talk more than you. But you can go further. Before you take the meeting, think about someone in your life that you love deeply and feel protective of. This will alter your approach without you having to try.
Are you credible?
Your prospect is making quick judgements on whether or not they can take you seriously as a professional. It’s not personal! Know this ahead of time and incorporate a couple of facts into your delivery that will dissolve these concerns. The more conversational, the more effective it is. Here are a couple examples:
Most of my clients have been with me for many years – I was at a client’s family wedding last month.
Or if you’re a new, young advisor: My degree in finance was the book side of things, but I learned at least as much working in the family business for most of my life.
In just one sentence you have helped to allay your prospect’s concerns without ever having to directly bring them up.
Are we a fit?
Some of this is a personality thing, but there are some universal qualities people look for that you can work to develop: superb listening skills, a commitment to excellence and diligent follow-through.
Many advisors are frustrated by this because they think ‘If they’d just give me a chance, they’d see that I have all those qualities and more!’
Your mission is to demonstrate those qualities during the sales process. Paraphrase their words back to them so they know they were heard and understood. Remember and make note of important people and priorities and bring them up in each communication. Purposely make a commitment to do something extra for them. This gives you an opportunity to demonstrate impeccable follow-through before they sign.
Can I trust you?
Because of a few bad eggs over billing, or advising based on commissions instead of a client’s best interests, or committing actual fraud, the rest of the financial industry has to carry the burden of that perception. Don’t take it personally. Instead, decide ahead of time what your processes are in addition to following the law. This way, when and if someone asks, you will respond with warmth and confidence.
Ie. That’s an important question. Thank you for bringing it up. In addition to Canada’s xx law which requires xx, we are committed to full transparency and have xx procedures in place. You will always know exactly what you are paying, how we are compensated for the work we do, and for the performance of all your accounts. We welcome your questions!
Will I get the outcome I want?
Your prospect wants a better life. A better financial situation. In the end, that’s why they take the meeting. And if they really believe you care and can deliver results, they’ll sign.
Ask questions to fully understand their goals and the why behind those goals.
Use clear, concise and strong language to explain how you will help them achieve those goals. Bring in specific examples to illustrate, ie. Using wise insurance strategies, we can give you the protection you need now, and potentially triple the value of your estate.
All of us – you, me, and every one of your prospects, have these common objections, questions and concerns running through our minds. The more comfortable and familiar you are with them as a normal screening process, the more you can handle those moments with poise, and close more business!
Thinking about how to do this is one thing. Doing it is another! If you’d like help mastering these and other prospecting skills, click here to book a complementary call with Kira to see if coaching is a fit for you.