Close Close
Popular Financial Topics Discover relevant content from across the suite of ALM legal publications From the Industry More content from ThinkAdvisor and select sponsors Investment Advisor Issue Gallery Read digital editions of Investment Advisor Magazine Tax Facts Get clear, current, and reliable answers to pressing tax questions
Luminaries Awards

Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

What do you know about your prospects?

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Do you know who your prospects are? Typically, we want to know if our prospects are capable of buying – and that’s pretty much it.

Are they capable of investing in what we have to sell? Are they healthy enough to qualify for insurance products? Then we go about selling them what we feel they need – what we think would help them reach their goals.

The only problem with this simple concept is that it causes us to lose sales because we don’t go deeply enough into what the prospect’s needs really are. What about their motivations? Motivations are what make us do what we do and affect the decisions we make. They also drive the intensity and steadfastness of our resolve. Our motivations are affected by our behavioral preferences.

When we first meet someone, they should feel comfortable with us right away. People who are just like us in their behavioral characteristics will like us right away. If we are not behaviorally compatible, there may be a connection problem. The good news is that we can bridge these gaps by first understanding the problem. Then we must focus on executing the solution.

Let’s take a look at an example. I am a personality that wants to see details. The analytical part of me wants to see illustrations and statistics before I make any type of decisions, especially financial decisions.

When I buy car, after I have a general idea of the quality I want to purchase, then it’s all in numbers for me. If all a salesman tells me is about the look and feel of this car, I will find another salesman. I want numbers to justify my purchase. Fourteen percent of the American population is just like that, meaning 86 percent is not.

When I try to sell a policy, my natural tendency is to illustrate and expect the prospect to be impressed. The only problem is that 86% of the people I sell to are not persuaded by an illustration alone. Eighteen percent of the population just want to know the outcome without a lot of detail. They just want to know the bottom line. They will say, “I like it, what does it cost?” They aren’t necessarily hagglers. I am.

Then we have 68 percent of the population who just want to feel good about the purchase. Budget is not the primary motivation for this segment. They want to leave your office feeling good about their decision. They just want to like it before they buy it.

My wife is a total “like it” person. She doesn’t care how much it costs as long as we have the money for it. If she likes it, she will buy it.

Here’s the hard part: Since we don’t like getting out of our comfort zone and we think everyone should be like us, we tend to give a prospect what we think they need. Then we go away puzzled and wondering what happened. After all, in my case, it makes perfect sense to buy what I’m selling. It’s logical. If my prospect doesn’t like it, they won’t buy it no matter how logical it is.

You certainly should know how to quickly determine the behavioral style of your prospects. You can find out by asking them simple questions. The questions should be designed to bring out those styles that are quite recognizable for us to follow.

Here’s a cautionary point: Don’t ask them what they do for a living. That may be deceiving. They may work at a career that is not compatible with their personal interests. They may be working for money, not satisfaction. Ask them what they do in their personal time. Ask about their interests and hobbies. You want to know how they are motivated.

The other part of the equation is to be willing to adapt. You must be willing to get out of your comfort zone to relate to others so that they will respond positively to your message.

This whole process seems difficult and complex but is very doable. As you learn to immediately adapt to other styles, your sales will follow.  


© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.