Putting your prospects and yourself in a clear frame of mind
By Joseph J. Lukacs
It?s easy to close a sale when you?ve put your prospects in a relaxed, clear frame of mind. But you can?t do that unless you feel that way yourself. Here are 10 steps to follow to achieve both.
Step 1: Be prepared in writing. Write down your agenda before meeting your prospect so you won?t forget anything important.
How well you interview your prospect will determine your success, so bring a mental “toolbox” of questions. They should include: “What is your investment experience? What is most important to you in a financial advisor? How can I best serve you? How often should we get together? What are your greatest fears regarding your finances and investments?”
Bring a list of references and all the paperwork required to execute plans?you?re going to need it!
Step 2: Clear your mind. Ten minutes before the meeting, stop taking calls. Review your materials and take a few deep breaths. If you?re traveling, arrive early so you can have time to focus. Make a prospect who arrives early wait.
Step 3: Build rapport, the foundation of every relationship. Small talk puts your prospects at ease and shows you?re a real human being. Talk a little about yourself and ask questions about the prospect?s personal background. Look for common ground such as children, sports, lifestyle and hobbies. Try to find out something about your prospect beforehand, whether on the Internet or elsewhere.
If possible, offer a sincere compliment.
Now, transition into the meat of the appointment by asking permission to continue. “Is it okay if I ask you a couple of questions to help me to do my job today?” Show the prospect your agenda. He or she will appreciate your thoroughness.
Step 4: Probe; get clarity. Ask: “What are your goals? What would you like to accomplish today?” If a prospect is vague and says he wants to know more about you, ask more questions.
Investing is an emotional decision. Your questions, therefore, should be emotionally driven: “What will you do when you retire? Do you know how much money you’re going to need? Where do you want to live? What lifestyle do you want to have?”
Next, get more specific: “What are you doing to fund your retirement? How long have you been working with your current advisor? Have you had one or more advisors? What do you like best about them? What do you wish they could do better?”
The answer to these questions will elicit an issue. Bring out the pain so you can create an opening for yourself. Provide alternatives to their current situation and make your responses relevant.
With couples, don?t assume that one spouse makes the decisions. Give both the opportunity to answer your questions. Make sure both are in agreement and comfortable with your plan. When people are confused, they take no action. Make sure your prospects have clarity.
Step 5: Uncover motivation; break procrastination. People need strong motivation to act. They become motivated when they perceive a need, don’t want to be left out or are deeply dissatisfied. But even clients dissatisfied with their current advisor won?t automatically leave.