See if you've ever experienced this before: Everything goes great in the sales process with a new prospect. They are thrilled to be working with you and to be implementing the plan that you've created. You go forward with the paperwork, the clients are looking forward to working with you, they leave your office and you're now just waiting for funds. Everything looks great.
A week later, those same prospects call you, seemingly distraught, not wanting to go forward with the plan after all. You're completely baffled. What went wrong? What has changed since last week? You thought everyone was on the same page?
Frequently, the problem is the "silent killer"-the incumbent advisor. He or she may have shown your prospects "all the problems with annuities" and explained to them that they were making a huge mistake and should leave their money where it was. The prospects may have been coached to stop the transfer and cease communication with you at this point. Now you are sick. Most of the time, you can't even get another meeting to discuss the issue any further with them.
I've heard this story many times. Yet a simple discussion at the end of your closing meeting will generally stop this whole problem from happening in the first place as well enhance your own credibility.
Start by letting them know that the ""easy part" is now over. Inform them that it's now time to discuss "the hard part." Explain to them that the other advisor is not going to be happy with their decision. When he or she finds out this is taking place, in " your experience" there are two common reactions the other advisor most likely to have:
- "I can do this, too."
- "This is bad."
Ask your prospects how they would feel if their existing advisor said "I can do this, too" upon seeing your recommendations. If he or she knew this plan would be good for you, why didn't he or she bring it up to you in the first place? Is it because he or she didn't know or didn't care enough to take the time to do it?
With regard to the possibility of the incumbent bringing down your plan, telling your prospects how bad it is for them or asking them to implement the plan with him or her instead of you, simply ask them this question:
"Mr. Client, I've got to ask you. What is the goal of the advisor with either of these two declarations?
The client will almost always say, "To keep the money."
"Right. So now you are prepared and know why your advisor is responding the way he or she is responding. Remember, this isn't your current advisor's money, this isn't my money, this is..."
Motion to the client, who will almost always say, "My money."
By explaining in a clear way what is probably going to happen following your meeting with the prospects, and by illuminating the other advisor's intentions, you help prepare your prospects. Oftentimes, they will even come back to you and say, "He said exactly what you said he would say," making you even more credible in your new clients' eyes. Give this a try in your next closing appointment, and let's remove the silent killer. For good
For more on closing a sale, see:
- Advisor reminder: The fortune's in the follow up
- 'Always be closing' and other lame sales advice
- 7 things salespeople should never stop doing
Shawn Sparks is an annuity consultant with Advisors Excel. He can be reached at www.shawncsparks.com.