How is a producer to deal with the hardest of prospects: those know-it-alls, do-it-yourselfers or independent thinkers who believe they can do without the expertise of a professional advisor? Answer: Probe their arguments for weaknesses and for a willingness to delegate responsibility. Then, if those efforts prove fruitless, cut and run.
This seems to be the consensus among producers contacted by National Underwriter, who say an explosion of financial information available via the Internet and other media is fueling a burgeoning class of these individuals. Buoying their confidence are the numerous do-it-yourself audio tapes, books and seminars on personal finance topics.
I call it financial pornography, says Paul Karasik, president of the Business Institute, Los Angeles, Calif. All this information artificially stimulates them to believe they can make rational, correct financial decisions. That’s ridiculous.
Adds Nigel Taylor, president of Taylor & Associates, Santa Monica, Calif: Theyre buying into a lot of hype.
The solution to dealing with such individuals, say advisors, is to probe them for weakness or blind spots in their thinking and to take the fear out of delegating responsibility for investment and long-term financial planning decisions.
Wilma Anderson, president of the LTC Coach, Littleton, Colo., says that approach works with the 20% to 25% of her prospects who fall into the know-it-all category. A key tactic for winning them over, she says, is to pose questions aimed at identifying hot button issues that might be sources of tension.
These include, for example, inquiring whether the prospect had previously had a bad experience with an agent and why; or, if the individual is determined to pursue a particular strategy, then to ask whether he or she has considered certain implications of, or alternatives to, that strategy.
Especially effective, says Anderson, is to applaud prospects’ research efforts, then to hand them a list of questions they can pose to other long term care advisors.
They often reply, I never thought about asking these questions, says Anderson. All of a sudden, the lion has turned into a lamb.
Other advisors say highly educated prospects are often not so easily assuagedor worth the effort.