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The speed of trust (part 2)

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Last month I began talking about some of the strategies that New Hampshire producer Tom Brueckner uses to build the notion of “social proof,” instilling trust in his new clients. Here are some more observations.

There is some brilliant psychology in the way Brueckner handles his meetings. Within the first 10 minutes of an initial prospect meeting, Brueckner leaves for two minutes, excusing himself to talk to his assistant. Normally an advisor would never leave an appointment. Yet this allows the couple to get a sense of the room and who Brueckner is, without the distraction of the awkward first few minutes of conversation.

When Brueckner returns, the questions are always the same. The prospects say, “Who takes care of your plants? Is your son still in the military? Who is the couple on the wall to the right of us?” These are all references not only to the plants in Brueckner’s office, but also how proud he is of his Army son and his relationship with his clients. So the start of every meeting is an attempt by the client to get to know more about Brueckner. The next 20 minutes of the interview is not about annuities or analyzing a portfolio. It’s about Brueckner’s kids, his family and his prospects’ family.

The next part of the interview is focused on asking questions about their investments, losses, gains and their goals for the future. Once he has enough information to make a recommendation, he presents the product most appropriate to achieve the prospects’ goals. But here again is more magic. About 10 minutes before the end of the meeting, Brueckner again leaves the room for about three minutes, telling the prospects, “Gina, my assistant needs to see me. I’ll be right back.

When he returns, he looks at the couple and says, “OK, so where are we at?” 80 percent of the time the prospects say, “What do we have to do to get this started?” He closes by starting the paperwork and then books the second appointment to finish signing the application.

My coaching client Mark Sorenson is equally brilliant in his client meetings. He doesn’t mention a word about an annuity or any other product. But at every interview he does discuss the prospects’ fears and goals for the future. He then discusses the inherent conflict brokers have making money through trading an account whether or not the return justifies the fees or commissions.

At that point Mark asks to transfer all the money to his firm promising to allocate the assets later. Mark’s closing ratio is nearly 100 percent.

It’s not the product your prospects buy; it’s the relationship. It’s not just the financial solutions you impart; it’s also the social and emotional intelligence you apply. Next month, you will read how both Brueckner and Sorenson use seminars and client events to book appointments for nearly every seminar attendee.


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