Not long ago I set out to choose a new financial advisor for myself and for my sales training company. Once I narrowed the field to three candidates from three different independent broker-dealers (one was referred by a friend; I selected the others via online research) I interviewed them. Their approaches were wildly different and greatly influenced my final choice.
Mike Shultz is the director of the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research and the president of RAIN Group.
Here's how it played out.
Advisor No. 1 walked me through a pitch deck on his firm's funds, products and services and provided me with data on how their IBD had beaten the market year after year. He also gave me additional information about the firm's offerings. At the end of the meeting I had a very clear sense of the firm's services and offerings; less clear was how — or even if — those services would benefit me and my business.
Advisor No. 2 arrived at our meeting having done some online research about me and my company. She used our time to ask questions about my current portfolio, investments and goals. Although she asked great questions and we discussed relevant solutions, she didn't provide any new ideas. We had a nice conversation, but our discussion didn't advance as far as I'd hoped.
Advisor No. 3 came into the meeting having previously emailed me a series of questions to get a broad sense of my financial picture and goals. At the meeting, he offered a few ideas and asked follow-up questions based on my answers. Thanks to the advisor's preparation we were able to use our time to discuss the merits of the ideas. It felt more like a working meeting than a pitch for my business.
The decision: I was impressed that Advisor No. 3 did some extra footwork before our meeting and provided valuable ideas over and above a rundown on the firm's services. The advisor's dedication to finding me the right solution even before our initial meeting made me want to speak with him more. Ultimately, he got my business.
You entered financial services for one of several reasons. Maybe you like working with numbers. Perhaps you're a people person who wants to help others achieve their financial goals. Maybe you've always been drawn to the stock market and love the thrill of investing. Whatever the reason, chances are you didn't enter the profession to be in sales.
But to be successful as an advisor you need to generate conversations with potential clients, lead valuable prospect meetings and bring value and continue to grow business with clients once you have them. At its core, success in financial services is all about selling your valuable advice to buyers. As an expert in your field, you already have much of the knowledge you need. But buyers want more than just expertise: they want you to educate them, they want to feel confident you know what you're talking about and they want you to lead them and provide your opinion on mistakes they may be making.
Yet prospective buyers say only 42% of their sales meetings are valuable. This means most financial advisors aren't delivering in their meetings — certainly the case when I was looking for a new advisor.
If you want to secure new clients, focus on the value you can deliver, work with them collaboratively and bring ideas that will make a difference to them. Make sure that anything you share is 100% specific to their situation.
Selling financial services doesn't have to be overly complicated. At initial meetings, leave the pitch deck at the office, display your expertise and, importantly, treat prospects as if they were already clients. Ask them important questions and provide actionable advice. Seek to understand why they're in their current investments and, when warranted, challenge their assumptions. Get specific: weigh in on areas where they may be over and under invested.
Investors that get this kind of value on a first meeting will want to speak with you again and you'll have a much greater chance of turning them into loyal clients.
A lucrative deduction for luxury vehicles used at least half the time for business will start tapering come 2023.
MORE FROM FINANCIAL PLANNING
Undefined Undercounted Underserved
Lacking any formal codification or an accurate count of customers, the planning profession is struggling with some fundamental questions.
Follow Us In Real Time