Look To Master Advisors Beliefs As Your Roadmap to Success

Your beliefs and strategies determine your success as a financial advisor. If you have defeatist beliefs or poor strategies, you wont reach your potential, no matter how smart and competent you are. If a buildings foundation isnt straight and solid, the building is going to tilt. Your beliefs are your foundation for success.

Ive worked with many top professionals I call “master advisors”the ones who both earn big dollars and enjoy a full personal life. Heres what we can learn from them.

Closing is not the key to successful selling. If you have to push hard to close, then you failed up front. You didnt uncover the prospects needs, motivations and “whys.” You did not create enough pain for them to want to take action. If you do all of these things, you wont have to struggle to close the sale. It will come naturally.

Eighty percent of success with clients is getting to “why.” Probe to get your clients to tell you why they need to do something. Why do they want better performance from investments? Why do they need to reduce risk? What are their goals? Do they want to retire early? Travel?

Once you get answers to these questions, you can link your recommendation to their big “why” and show how your recommendation fits. They will say yes to you because they are doing it for their own reasonsnot yours.

People dont buy based on their needs; they buy based on their “wants.” (What do they want from their relationship with you?) Therefore, your questions have to be “want-driven.” Selling is always a process of motivation. Uncover clients wants and then motivate them to fulfill those wants.

Have a compelling reason to give your best consistently. Many advisors lose out because they are not ready to take advantage of opportunities. They get an appointment with a prospect or client but prepare poorly for the meeting. They are not in the right mental or emotional state. They are tired or burnt out. To sell successfully, you have to be at your bestconsistently.

You have to find your motivation that lets you give your best. You will find your compelling reasons based on the personal goals to which you have committed. For example, “I need to double my results to move my family into a larger home.” Or, “I want to be financially independent by the age of 50.”

Make the most of any situation. Master advisors have a strong belief system. No matter what anyone throws at them, they can take it calmly and fire back with a question to keep things going. Often, the seemingly most difficult situations or clients turn out to be the most lucrative. Keep your cool and be flexible. This leads to the next point.

Influencing yourself is 80% of success. Influencing clients is only 20%. If you dont have your own head on straight, you cant influence clients. When you know how to influence yourself, talk to yourself right, instill positive attitudes and treat yourself well, influencing clients will be relatively easy.

Following a preparation strategy for client meetings is critical. Lets say you have a 4 p.m. meeting. At 3:50 you get a phone call and have a fight with your spouse. Now its 3:55, youre in a bad mood and panicking trying to get ready in five minutes. Master advisors know the time just before a meeting is sacred. They stop taking all calls, relax and get focused.

Building trust is essential. If the client does not trust you, you go nowhere.

Figuring out the clients “rules.” People base decisions and judgments on their own rules. For instance, all clients value service, but how does a particular client define it? What are, in other words, the clients “rules” for service? Does he or she value written reports? Frequent phone calls? E-mails? Getting clarity on rules makes for a productive, comfortable relationship.

Give the prospect proof to justify his or her buying decision. If you say something, prove it. You have to have a strategy for supplying proof or you will never meet client needs or wants.

Close minor commitments before closing a major commitment. A minor commitment might be, “If I can show you three ways to reduce your taxes, would you give them serious consideration?” Dont let clients renege: Top advisors have strategies for eliminating commitment reversal.

By leading the prospect through commitments, youre closing from the start. This goes back to the first point. When youve structured your sales presentation properly, closing the sale wont be hard. It will flow naturally from all the things youve done.

Go through the list in this article and rank yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 on how well you do on each item. This will show you your strengths and weaknesses and point you down the successful road traveled by the master advisors.

Joseph J. Lukacs, practice strategist and coach to advisors and agents, is the founder of International Performance Group LLC, Melbourne, Fla. He can be reached at jjl@ipgllc.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, December 30, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.