How to Command and Maintain Control over Conversations with Prospects and Clients

How to Command and Maintain Control over Conversations with Prospects and Clients

How often have you been in a meeting with a client or prospect and felt like you lost control of the conversation? After starting on one subject, the other person goes off on tangents or takes the conversation in a new direction. Clients who are upset may launch into a rant with no particular point or one that isn’t related to the work you do with them. Or they simply want to talk about something other than the subject matter you broached with them.

Whatever the reason, when a client or prospect conversation goes off the rails, it’s incumbent upon you to steer it back in the right direction. Otherwise, your value to that person diminishes as long as you’re not in control. Taking control doesn’t mean taking over the conversation and dominating the talking space. Instead, it means getting it back on track, on the path to where it can achieve a productive or desired outcome. That can’t happen if you’re doing all the talking.

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How to Tell When a Prospect Is Ready to Become a Client

How to Tell When a Prospect is Ready to Become a Client

In their interactions with prospects, financial advisors reach a critical juncture when they must determine when or if a prospect is ready to become a client. If they make the wrong determination, it will likely result in a missed opportunity. Trying to close prospects before they are ready can push them away, while waiting too long can cause them to lose interest.

Wouldn’t it be nice if, when they are ready to buy, prospects would just pipe up and say, “I’d like to get started?” Unfortunately, it rarely happens that way. Your prospects are just as apprehensive about making a buying decision as you are asking them to buy. Most people need to be held by the hand and reassured that they’re making the right decision. Some may need a stronger nudge. But in almost every instance, financial advisors must know when the time is right and take the appropriate action.

If you bring a prospect far enough along in the process, it means you’ve probably done a lot of things right—built rapport, discovered their pain, explained your process and how you bring value, etc. Then it becomes a dance. Like that girl or boy you’ve been staring at across the dance floor, they will provide clues or buying signals when they’re ready to be asked. Here are a few such signals or clues.

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3 Soft Skills Advisors Need to Refine for an Immediate Connection with Prospects

3 Soft Skills Advisors Need to Refine for an Immediate Connection with Prospects

Not to diminish the hard work, effort, and time that goes into becoming a financial advisor—few professions are as demanding—but the essential skill advisors must acquire is the ability to sell. Perhaps a more acceptable term would be “the art of persuasion.” Whichever way you want to frame it, if you have difficulty persuading or convincing people to take action, you stand little chance of success.

Of course, that’s true of just about any profession that requires changing or influencing people’s behavior. It just happens to be more challenging when selling financial advice and expecting to get paid for it. Advisors must understand that buying an intangible service requiring people to trust that the advisor can deliver that intangible value is scary for most people. It’s far less threatening to stay with the status quo and do nothing.

The trouble is, if you can’t convince people to follow you or your advice, you aren’t accomplishing anything. To overcome the inherent trust deficit and open prospects’ minds, financial advisors must constantly refine three critical soft skills, or they will have fewer chances to demonstrate their highly trained competencies.

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How to Increase Your Life Insurance Sales Making Every Initial Meeting with a Prospect Successful

How to Increase Your Life Insurance Sales Making Every Initial Meeting with a Prospect Successful

When people meet with you for the first time, subconsciously they have four questions that need to be answered. They haven’t thought about these questions in advance but they cross their mind during that meeting. If they are answered, this will ensure that there is not only a second follow-up meeting, but also presents the immediate opportunity to develop a long-term relationship:

Do I like you?
Do I trust you?
Are you competent?
Are you the sort of person who will put my best interests before your own?

In addition to these four questions, I believe that a person would also have to be thinking to themselves “this adviser makes sense!” if there is going to be an ongoing relationship.

How to make every fact-finding meeting a success

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Mapping Out the Client Acquisition Timeline—How Long It Takes to Get a New Client

Mapping Out the Client Acquisition Timeline—How Long It Takes to Get a New Client

New clients are the lifeblood of a financial advisory practice, without which it could go into cardiac arrest. For newer financial advisors, acquiring new clients can’t happen fast enough. However, if obtaining clients was easy, anyone could be a successful financial advisor. Starting out, it’s an uphill battle that only the most determined can eventually win.

It also helps to have a systematic process for capturing leads, nurturing them through the sales funnel, and converting them into prospects, out of which a certain percentage become clients. That’s all laid out on a timeline that can vary significantly depending on the type of lead, where it came from, and how effective your process is for cultivating the lead. It could take anywhere from one month to a year for a lead to complete the journey through the funnel to becoming a new client.

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Authenticity: The Key to a Favorable First Impression

No doubt you’ve heard the old axiom, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” And it’s tough to fix a bad first impression, especially in a world where some clients are predisposed to not trusting financial advisors. That’s a high hurdle to overcome when first meeting potential clients who may be looking for any reason to walk away.

You’ve probably also heard that the human brain processes information about a person’s face and mannerisms within a matter of seconds, leading to a quick conclusion about their abilities. The hurdle just got higher.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you’ve been in the business. Potential clients instinctively weigh and measure you, not by your expertise, capabilities, or knowledge, but by how much they think they like you. They’re looking for someone they can trust, and most people can’t trust someone they don’t like.

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How to Increase Your Life Insurance Sales through Preparation

I am of the opinion that one of the major stumbling blocks for new (and, surprisingly, even more experienced) Financial Advisers in conducting successful initial meetings with prospective clients (as well as review meetings with existing clients) is the lack of proper preparation.

In recent years Dealer Groups have introduced a one-size-fits-all templated fact finder document to be used by their advisers in both initial and ongoing discussions with prospective or existing clients. In terms of compliance requirements, the dealer group needed to protect itself from possible future litigation down the road and therefore many participated in designing the questions that their advisers could ask.

From my experience, I believed that there were two problems with this approach.

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First Meeting Conversations You Need to Have with Prospective Clients

First Meeting Conversations You Need to Have with Prospective Clients

Let’s be honest. Many financial advisors view the first client meeting frettingly as an obstacle to overcome on their way to, hopefully, establishing a new client relationship. After all, the way you start a first client meeting sets the tone for how your relationship will develop—if it develops at all. Prospective clients don’t make it any easier, often approaching their first advisor meeting with an air of skepticism or apprehension. This creates an unnatural tension that crowds out trust-building. That tension must be broken at the outset, and the ball is in the advisor’s court.

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The 5 Essential Qualities Financial Advisors Need to Improve Cold Call Results

The 5 Essential Qualities Financial Advisors Need to Improve Cold Call Results

No one ever said cold calling was easy, but some people have an easier time of it than others. Skills have a lot to do with that. But sometimes, learning skills is not enough.

The most successful cold callers share certain qualities and traits that give them an edge over and above the skills they acquire. We’ve discussed some of these traits in past articles, including positivity, perseverance, tenacity, and resilience. These traits are critical because they can keep you in the game in the face of constant rejection. However, successful cold callers possess other essential qualities and attributes that help them up their game.

Let’s have a look at five such essential qualities and traits.

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How to Succeed at Giving Financial Advice

How to Succeed at Giving Financial Advice

So, you want to be in the business of giving financial advice. That’s understandable because not only can the career of a financial advisor be financially rewarding, it can also be very fulfilling. Through a relationship that can span a lifetime, you become the essential source of advice in one of the most important aspects of your clients’ lives. There’s just one problem. You don’t have any clients—yet.

As a new financial advisor, your number one job is to find new clients. That has always been advisors’ biggest challenge but more so today due to the trust deficit that exists in the financial services industry. According to a CFA Institute survey, only 57 percent of retail investors trust the financial services industry, which is up from a few years ago, but it’s still a wide chasm to overcome. The same survey found that retail investors listed “trust” as their top consideration when hiring an advisor. Prospective clients simply won’t work with an advisor they don’t trust.

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