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7 Ways to Address the Inexperience Question

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Ever get the “inexperience” objection when talking with prospects? A field from your previous company might say: “Boris, you were a great mechanical engineer, but what do you know about investing? You’ve only been there a year!” Blunt people with no social skills might even say: “Practice on other people’s money. After a year, if you are still around, let’s talk.” Ouch. What do you do?

1. Clarify your role. Why are they so worried about on-the-job experience? Because they think you are a stock picker. People in the industry are thought to be stockbrokers. That was true years ago. Today, you are using managed money, index funds, ETFs and mutual funds. It’s unlikely you are picking stocks.

Strategy: Explain your role as a relationship manager. Explain your process and the use of professional money managers. You are on the same side of the table. They should be able to align the relationship manager role with your previous work experience.

2. Sell the team. If you are new, you are likely on an advisor team. The team probably has a brochure and website. Talk about the combined experience of the team and their specific skills.

Strategy: Sell the team. Explain they are becoming a client of a team within the firm, of which you are a part.

3. Sell the firm. Many people do business with a big firm because of its longevity and reputation. If something goes wrong, they also think the firm has deep pockets. You might be handling the relationship, but they identify themselves as clients of the firm.

Strategy: Talk about the firm. Mention assets under management, longevity and awards won. Include categories where your firm is No. 1 in the ranking tables. As their advisor, you will bring the resources of the firm into their living room.

4. Talk about professional certifications. You hold certain licenses. You may have earned a certified financial planner designation or another professional certification. You don’t just join the firm and start looking for clients. You must finish a certain level of training before you are licensed. This is measured in months, yet the training continues for years.

Strategy: Explain your qualifications. You have earned credentials. If your prospect is an attorney, lawyer, CPA or one of many other professions, they get it.

5. This is your dream job. When did you first start investing? If you are in your second career, that was likely years ago. That counts as experience. This is something you’ve always wanted to do, now you have the chance. You are proud of the firm where you have chosen to work.

Strategy: You are positioning previous investing as experience. Everyone probably has a dream job. This is yours. People want to work with someone who loves what they do.

6. Family legacy. When I was in production, my former firm didn’t let an established advisor bring their children into the business, forming a family team. The sibling was required to start in the firm’s training program and build their book in another office elsewhere in town. They needed to succeed on their own before they could work alongside their parent. However, like military, fire and police families, the profession is “in their blood.”

Strategy: Explain your mother (and maybe grandparents) were also in the business. You are following in their footsteps, building your own clientele. The prospect should conclude some “home schooling” taught you the business, in addition to the firm’s formal training.

7. New techniques. Here’s an analogy that’s been around for years. Suppose you have a serious illness. You have a choice of two doctors. One has been practicing for 25 years. The other just graduated from medical school, where they learned all about the latest medical technology. Which would you choose? Many would choose the newer doctor, because they are up to date on the latest techniques. (Even though the established doctor has probably taken continuing education courses to stay current.)

Strategy: Position how “newer” often means up to date and familiar with the latest developments.

Inexperience can be viewed as a handicap. There are ways of addressing the issue.

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Bryce SandersBryce 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.


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