One of the greatest values a financial advisor or insurance professional brings to the client relationship is their encouragement to take action or “pull the trigger.”
Whether you sell life insurance that protects purchasers against death, annuities that protect purchasers against running out of cash, or health insurance that protects purchasers against pain and misery, clients have a tendency to put off doing what would be in their own best interest.
(Related: Top 15 Excuses Why I’m Not Prospecting Today)
Many clients want to ponder, or to wait for reasons that make sense to them.
How can you make the case for clients to act now?
The Wrong Way
As an advisor, you are on the client’s side.
You want to help them reach their goals.
Too many movies like Glengarry, Glen Ross position people in sales as manipulators. You don’t want to bully or intimidate someone into making a decision; you want to provide logical reasons to act now.
You want to acknowledge their concerns and meet them in the middle.
Here are four ideas about how to do that.
1. Post April 15th
April 15th is approaching. It’s tax day. Many people work with an accountant who prepares their taxes. They are a fresh set of eyes, often providing the client with useful, objective advice. They might tell them they are overpaying in fees relative to the returns they received. More likely, they will provide some broad financial planning advice. Let’s assume almost everyone has insufficient assets put aside for retirement. Their accountant likely pointed this out.
Approach: When talking with your prospect you might ask: “Has your accountant prepared your tax return yet? Did they give you any advice about managing your money? Did they say anything about saving for retirement?”
Rationale: Once people see their tax bill, they are often motivated to take action to minimize it next year if they can. This also applies to following their accountant’s advice in areas like retirement savings.
2. The Tax Return Check
Prospects don’t usually sit around with bulging bank accounts waiting for opportunities. They are short of cash. Investing often happens when an event occurs that puts money in their pocket. Year-end bonuses are one example. Tax refunds are another.
Approach: Ask if they are getting a refund this year. “This is an ideal opportunity to put that money to work. Weren’t we talking about college savings plans for your children?” This might tie into the retirement planning conversation.
Logic: If you asked: “What did you do with last year’s refund?” they might not have a clue. Using this as an investment opportunity puts the money to work instead.
3. Horses at the Starting Gate
Ever have that problem when the market is up substantially and clients say: “Why aren’t I up that much?” The reason might be they invested mid-year, while the averages measure year-to-date (YTD) returns. This strategy makes logical sense in November and December.
Approach: “When you hear about stock market returns on TV, it’s often expressed as year-to-date. Why don’t we get your investment account fully invested just before December 31? This way, when they talk about year to date returns and you look to see how you are doing, it’s an apples to apples comparison.”
Logic: Most people compare their performance v. market averages. This simplifies the comparison.
4. Time As a River
Prospects are concerned about world events, the economy, midterm elections, you name it.
If they wait on purchasing an equity-linked product, and the market jumps in the meantime, they complain, “It’s too late. I missed the move.”
Consider dollar cost averaging.
Approach: Determine an amount of money the prospect would feel is small enough for them to be comfortable. Suggest they invest that amount every month, creating a stream of payments. Their 401(k) contributions are probably invested the same way. “If the market goes up, we got in at a lower price. If the market goes down, we only committed a portion of the funds. We can average down on the next purchase.”
Logic: If they invest for a few months and the market goes up, they may get more confidence. It’s a good strategy for building a position over time.
Prospects often have good reasons for doing nothing. You need to provide some reasons for taking action.
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” can be found on Amazon.