In my private coaching sessions with Advisors, I provide a realistic arena for them to practice sales conversations. Instead of ‘practicing on your prospects’ which carries the risk of burning leads, you get to have real sales conversations with a coach as your client. You then get immediate feedback on what won or lost you the sale, and how to fix it. We practice the new approach to help you build confidence and muscle memory. This is a rapid, highly effective method to improve your batting average.
Here’s a pattern I’ve noticed in beginner and mid-career Advisors:
During networking conversations, the Advisor pounces on the very first sign of a possible need, with an ‘I can do that for you – why don’t we book an appointment’ or ‘You need a financial plan’ or ‘I’ve got a product that can help you with that’. The prospective client who was just making an off-hand comment is now fully in retreat.
If you’ve crossed that ‘So, what do you do?’ threshold, and they are casually musing about financial subjects, you have indeed uncovered a potential client. This is a critical moment.
Drop the old, ineffective approach of pouncing and replace it with this formula:
Attract + Nudge + Invite
People don’t do business with you because you want them to, or – to state the obvious – because you need the sale. They do business with you because they have a need, and they have a certain degree of personal and professional comfort with you. This doesn’t happen at the snap of a finger. But you can be more in the driver’s seat of attracting a client at a networking event.
Once you’ve picked up on a hint that they may have an interest or need for financial planning, say nothing about what you do, but instead ask questions to help them explore that need.
Why do you feel you need to start planning? What’s going on?
What comes to mind when you think about financial planning?
How much financial planning have you done?
This gives your prospects the space to figure out for themselves that this should move from the back burner to the front.
When you’ve helped them come to their own realization that they could benefit from expert advice, nudge them by dialing up the volume on the importance of taking action:
That sounds important! What’s gotten in the way of you taking action on this?
Remind them in a detached way that time flies quickly. It’s common for people to get busy with life and put these decisions off, but it can make a huge difference in your quality of life. Share a short, real-life story at this point, if you’ve got a powerful one.
Finally, make a warm, non-attached invitation to meet, that positions your expertise:
There are several things to consider when you want to [insert their goal]. I can show you some strategies and things to look out for. Why don’t we sit down and discuss it, and then you can decide what’s right for you.
One of the biggest challenges for any sales professional is to manage your own emotions. Before you attend a networking event, review these steps. Practice the questions out loud a few times so they will be there even if you’re feeling excited or nervous.
As you focus more on attracting and less on pouncing, more prospects will move in your direction and you’ll close more business!