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5 Signs It’s Time to Move On from a Prospect

Have you ever had a high net worth prospect who seemed semi-interested in working with you but you just couldn’t quite get them off the fence? You’ve called several times; maybe you’ve even met with them and offered recommendations, but something is holding them back from taking that final step to becoming a client. Then, your prospecting efforts become unreturned voicemails or vague replies to your emails. If this sounds familiar, maybe it’s time to acknowledge the signs and realize it’s time to move on.

Following is a brief overview of what I tell my clients to look for and how to know when to let go.

Sign No. 1: A Family Member in the Business

Most experienced advisers and agents know that when a prospect says, “I have a brother in-law in the business but I’d be interested in hearing what you have to say,” it probably means that they don’t completely trust their relative, however it doesn’t guarantee that they’d change anything. Instead, they most likely will consider your recommendations, talk it over with their relative and still not end up working with you. The reason is because relatives are just too awkward to walk away from when it comes to business dealings.

If you run across this type of prospect, qualify them right away by saying something like this, “If we identify some need for changes in your portfolio, are you in a position to do business with me?” This will help you identify how serious they are about working with you.

Sign No. 2: Wanting to Split their Business

Some prospects may like your recommendations but not want to sever ties with their current adviser or agent. The reason is simple, it’s because they are familiar and have established trust with that person. They don’t know you but they might consider working with you on a trial basis.

Unfortunately, many times they are doing this with the caveat that they can compare results and then let go of the adviser/agent that doesn’t do as well for them. If this scenario is offered—working with you to “see what happens”—it’s important for you to reply like this, “I’m sorry but the clients I work with need to provide reasonable time for my process and recommendations to come to fruition.” When you stand by your value, you may lose a prospect now and again but you maintain your self-respect. As a result, you also build a better client base.

Sign No. 3: They Took Your Recommendations and Bought Online

Years ago, I had a prospect take several of my recommendations and purchase them in an online account. He felt there was nothing wrong with it since it saved him money. I on the other hand believe that if the relationship starts off on the wrong foot, it will end up remaining that way. This type of prospect is merely showing you that they don’t value your services. If this happens, you need to be ready to walk away.

Sign No. 4: You are Chasing a Ghost

At some point, you will have a prospect that needs to “think about it” or “review things.” When you follow-up they may not return your calls. The reason is because they didn’t see the value in your recommendations in the first place.

There may have been a concern or objection that you didn’t address. If this happens, simply leave a message like this, “Hi ______, this is _______ with _______. I have a quick question that only you can answer. Could you please call me when you hear this? My number is _________.” This is what I refer to as the “curiosity message.” If they aren’t curious enough to call you back, they really aren’t interested in doing business with you. If they do call, you need to ask them something directly like, “Are you still interested in (insert three benefits here).” If they are, then set another appointment with them to do the paperwork.

Sign No. 5: You Just Don’t Like the Prospect

If you find yourself dreading any type of communication with a specific prospect (email, phone call or appointments) then you certainly do not want to work with them. No matter how much business you think they can provide, inform them that you might not be an appropriate fit and they could be better served by someone who could provide more of what they are looking for.

Why Watching for Warning Signs is Important

This is not an easy business but when you make a conscious choice to work with people who want to work with you, you can make things much easier on yourself. That’s why it is so important to watch for warning signs that it’s time to move on from a prospect. Life is too short to chase those who don’t see your value.

If you are ready to take your business to the next level, schedule a complimentary 30-minute coaching session with me by emailing Melissa Denham, director of client servicing.

Dan Finley
 Daniel C. Finley is the president and co-founder of Advisor Solutions, a business consulting and coaching service dedicated to helping advisers build a better business.

 

 


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Explain What You Do So People Will Immediately Want to Work With You

When you meet a prospective client, are you able to introduce yourself so that they immediately want to work with you? If you know how to speak their language, you’ll be able to clearly communicate what you do so that they can understand.

When I say “language,” I’m not talking about their native tongue—I mean the language of results.

If you can craft an introduction that’s focused on the results that your prospects are looking for, you’ll be able to get people interested in what you do.

When I first started as an adviser, I’d usually just tell people that I’m a financial planner. I quickly found out that it wasn’t the best way to introduce myself if I wanted to get people interested in what I do. The reason why this didn’t work was because so many people hear the term financial planner and their guard immediately goes up.

As I figured this out I’d then try to explain in more detail and ended up just getting confused looks. But once I learned how to speak the language of results, I was able to become more compelling and get more people interested in how I help people.

When you’re able to do this you’ll be able to introduce yourself in a way that’s compelling and People will begin to become very interested in what you have to offer. Remember these two things:

1.) Be Specific. Don’t worry about excluding people. If you have multiple “types” of people that you help, you have the advantage of tailoring your answer to the person you’re talking to. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

2.) Focus on Results. When you meet someone for the first time, they don’t really care about your services, your process or your credentials. If you want to hook people and get them interested in you, you have to focus on how you help people. What are the problems you solve for people?

Ways to Introduce Yourself

There are two great ways to explain what you do. Both are non-salesy and will clearly communicate how you help people.

Way No. 1. This is where you give a two-sentence answer that communicates the problem, the solution and the reward.

Communicate the problem first. You don’t want to start the conversation with what you do. You want to start it by focusing on them and the thing they are thinking most about. What problem does your ideal prospect have? What pain is causing them to seek out an adviser?

Then communicate the solution. Ask yourself, “What do you do that solves that problem?” and “How do you make the pain go away?”

Finally, communicate the reward. Ask yourself, “What’s their life like after your solution?” and “What are the good feelings they’ll experience after working with you?”

Here are some examples of things to say:

“Most people don’t feel 100 percent confident about their financial future. We give them a road map so they know exactly where they’re going and so they can make the right decisions along the way.”

“As a lot of people get close to retirement they’re not sure if they’re making the right decisions. We take them through a three-step process to help them get clear on their financial future.”

Way No. 2. This is a one-sentence introduction that takes fewer than 10 seconds and will communicate three things: what you do, who you help and how you help them.

Here’s the script: “I’m a financial planner and I help (specific person) (with a problem) by (solution). Here are a few more specific examples:

“I’m a financial planner and I help people who are five years out from retirement create a plan they can feel good about.”

“I’m a financial planner and I help retirees who want to leave a legacy create a plan to efficiently pass on not only their assets and their wisdom to future generations.”

“I’m a financial planner and I help busy professionals who want to make good financial decisions by giving them a one-page financial plan.”

What’s Next?

Write down your own version of how you would introduce yourself to the next prospective client you meet.

To learn more about how to explain what you do so people will immediately want to work with you, sign up for this online mini-course.

dave-zoller
Dave Zoller, CFP®, is a financial planner who teaches other financial planners how to grow their practice so that they can help more clients. He runs Streamline My Practice, a consulting company for advisers.