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Practice Management > Building Your Business

Why prospects say 'no' to your plan

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When it comes to presenting your offer, no matter what it is, you eventually will hear the famous word “NO.” This is never a fun experience, especially when you have put in time, effort, and money to generate a prospect for your services. It is worse when you are three, four, or even five meetings into the sales process and you believe that you have established a new client. Why does this happen? I want to share with you what I have learned throughout my career from sales experts, training seminars, one-on-one coaching, literature, and just good old personal experience. As advisors have applied this advice and experience, they have seen countless “NO”s turn into “YES!”

Below are five key reasons why you might hear “NO,” as well as suggestions for how to respond. Considering these issues can help you to reevaluate your sales presentation and win more clients.

1. Not earning the buyer’s trust

This is the No. 1 reason why someone will not do business with you. Two necessary components must exist at all times for trust to be present and maintained: knowledge and transparency. Everything you do in your practice must constantly be investing into these two areas.

2. Not understanding what the prospect really wants

I have learned that what prospects want and what they need can sometimes be entirely two different things. Wants are more emotional than logical. Imagine that a prospect needs a hammer and wants to buy it from Lowe’s not Home Depot because he likes Lowe’s better for whatever reason. His want and his need are two very different things.

Prospects will engage you for their financial services if you guide them to what they need while paying close attention to what they want. How can you determine what your prospect wants? By asking great questions! Take the time to craft your questions before you walk into each meeting, and watch your connection naturally grow.

3. Focusing solely on selling “product”

When you sit down with the prospect, your conversation should not be about the great features and benefits your product has to offer. There is a proper time to discuss the vehicles to help execute your plan, but there is a process. Your efforts on the front side should solely be focused on getting clients to talk about their problems and why they are in your office. They are there for a reason; they want to know how you will help them fix a problem. If you are spending more time on pitching a product, you will miss what they are trying to tell you.

This relates back to phrasing the right questions so you can uncover the pain in their financial life. If your questions are good, you may uncover potential pain they may not have realized is there. Keep this in mind, too: A recent study suggests you are more successful when you are talking only 30 percent of the time and spending the other 70 percent of your time just listening to what your prospect has to say.

4. Hiding behind marketing collateral

If there is one thing our industry is good at, it is producing brochures and marketing materials. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because you do need support material to help explain how certain products work. The key here is that the material is “support,” not the centerpiece of the conversation. You need to have a deep understanding of the solution you have for your prospects. The collateral material should support your statements when necessary, but it will not make the sale.

5. Being afraid to hear “NO”

Hearing “NO” is something we try to avoid, which can lead to the mistake of accepting “Maybe” or “Let me think about it” and other phrases that are different ways of saying no. “Maybe” is a nice way of saying no to your offer.

As an advisor, I want to know up front the answers to two key questions. I often ask these questions in my first meeting to let the prospect know what my goal is: 1. Can I help you? and 2. Do you want to be helped? For instance, I might say, “Mr. Prospect, my goal today is to understand your situation and what brings you in, to see if our firm can help solve your concerns and if you would like for us to help you fix them.” I would rather know earlier in the sales process whether there is a fit. If you are afraid to hear “No,” you will waste too much of your valuable time with prospects who are never planning to work with you.

As always, I look forward to continuing to share different strategies that will help you grow your practice!


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