Get Involved in Your Clients’ Decision-Making Process
To win new business, earn loyalty and get referrals, you need to focus on what your prospects and clients are thinking. We all have our own particular ‘mental model’ or way we see the world, based on our beliefs and experiences. According to classic consumer behavior theory we tend to follow similar thought processes when we make a decision whether to purchase a certain product or service.
By understanding this consumer behavior, you can tap into your prospects’ thought processes early on and influence decisions in your favor.
Prospects go through several mental stages before they decide to buy your services
According to consumer behavioral theorists your clients will go through at least some of the following mental stages as they decide whether to place their business with you. Here’s a rundown – along with advice on how you can influence potential clients at each stage.
1. People first need to recognize a need to seek financial advice.
People need to be persuaded that they need financial assistance before they become prospects for your services. You can influence even this early stage in the decision-making process – reach out indirectly to your future prospects through their friends and relatives already on your client list. When you feel comfortable, ask your existing clients if they are happy with their decision to appoint you as their financial advisor? If so, wouldn’t they like their friends or family to benefit from similar financial advice? This could instigate conversations, and maybe calls, from people who have newly recognized a need for financial help.
2. The need for more information
Once people have identified the need to act and seek financial advice, they may look for information, e.g. on the internet. They may also ask a friend or colleague for help in finding a financial advisor. Here again, you can be involved in the decision-making process.
If you have provided an existing client with excellent service, they will be happy to refer you to any acquaintances on the lookout for an advisor – putting you firmly on their radar.
3. Evaluation of alternatives
Here, people will be making an assessment of the type of financial advice that suits them best in terms of addressing their particular financial requirements. They will ask themselves how do they want to receive financial advice? How much risk they are willing to take? And, do they want more or less control of their finances?
If you make the shortlist as an option, ensure you get across the benefits of opting for an impartial professional advisor in comparison to going it alone – or using the internet.
4. The purchase decision
This is the crucial part of the decision-making process and where you need to come across as likeable and trustworthy to prospects in order to secure their business. To get prospects to act you should use stories, especially a ‘who I am’ story to let prospects see your human side. The decision to commence an investment journey with you will rest on your personality, rather than on any facts and figures you may throw at prospects.
5. Post-purchase, clients will be looking at the service they’ve received
Once you’ve acquired a new client, if you provide premium service you will retain them for the long term and they will refer you. Clients will assess their expectations of what you have provided in terms of service to see if it matches those expectations. . This will determine whether they are likely to recommend you to others.
This is a critical stage since it feeds right back into the initial stages of the decision-making process and can help create new prospects for you. Ensure you get this right by getting heavily involved in the post-purchase process by providing stellar service in your dealings with clients.
By identifying the various stages in the decision-making process you’ll be able to determine how to approach prospects to ensure they see you as their preferred option. Take the time to understand how your prospects and clients think and it will pay you dividends in terms of influencing their decisions, winning new business and turning them into brand advocates.