The most difficult thing about our profession is getting appointments. Most people in our industry only run 2 to 5 appointments per week. When I ask what would happen to their careers if they were to double, triple or quadruple those appointments, they become giddy with excitement.

Even good agents yearn tell their stories to more people. They have great product knowledge, give great presentations and provide great service. But still they struggle to book more appointments.

Many agents think they are miles away from the success they strive for, when the truth is that most are only inches from the success they desire. To get there, you must adjust your perspective in two important ways.

First: Your competition is not other agents and advisors.

So many people are unprepared for what is coming. And so many people have never spoken with an advisor, let alone one who understands the coming financial danger. You can be of service to each of them. Even if you triple your appointments, you still cannot get in front of all the people who need to hear this message.

So change your perspective. You are working within this industry; and your real competition encompasses government, nursing homes and hospitals. Can you protect your clients’ money and keep it in the family, before it is eaten by higher taxes, reduced benefits and inflation? This will help you keep a service-oriented mindset.

Second: Telling people how much you know is not effective.

Your prospects and clients are smart, hardworking people; they just haven’t realized the magnitude of what is coming because they are busy. You need to help them realize how much they already know. I do this in two ways: by using spaced repetition and by asking questions.

Spaced repetition means that it is easier to remember something when you hear it repeated a few times spaced over a long time span. Think of the McDonald’s commercial for Big Macs from 35 years ago: two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions on a sesame seed bun. I bet you still knew every word.

When using this strategy with clients, you cannot overwhelm them with information. You may think that invoking lots of data makes you look good, but burying them in numbers does not work. Their eyes will glaze over; they won’t remember any of it.

Instead, pick one clear, simple message to convey. Past editions of this column have given you many options to choose from. After your appointment, your client will start to see and hear things that reinforce that message. And every time you visit that client again, repeat the message.

That message must be conveyed through amazing and powerful questions. This process keeps them engaged. And it helps people to become emotionally invested in the answers. 

I will fill next month’s column with questions. But there is one requirement before I share them with you: practice!

Asking questions must become second nature to you. You must know your questions instinctively and ask them in a conversational manner. This is key, because otherwise, you will be thinking of the next question when you should be listening to the answers.

Here is one amazing question to start with: “Do you want to be rich or would you like an absolute guarantee that you will never be poor?” Almost every time, they will say that they want the guarantee (and if not, then you have learned something important about your client).

Then I ask, “If I could show you a way that even if you ran out of money, you would never run out of income, would that be of interest to you?” They always say “yes.”

We advisors represent the only industry that sells products that can do that. But the American people do not know about them. We must ask our clients whether they would be interested in these benefits.

Asking questions helps me run 30 to 50 appointments per week, without spending money to obtain those appointments and leads. Next month, I will give you many more questions that will increase your appointments.