Been there. Done that. You meet a person at a party. They ask what you do. You answer is “I work at Hyer and Hyer Investments. I’m a financial advisor.” Before the word “advisor” left your lips they’ve started to say: “I already work with an advisor.” What now?

In many cases we change the subject. However, here are several ways you can address this scenario.

1. Establish yourself as the alternative. A food supplier used this strategy with restaurant owners he would meet socially. “I’m sure you are happy with your current suppliers. Here’s my card. Please give me a call if anything changes.”

Why: Maybe they aren’t happy. You don’t know. Inertia keeps most people at their financial services firm. You’ve subtly changed the scenario from “moving money out to who knows where” to “moving money in to work with (you).” They keep the card.

2. “How have they done for you lately?” Yes, we know investing is a long-term journey. Many clients think short term.

Why: Asking this question gets them thinking “Is my advisor on the ball? Are they paying attention to my stuff?

3. Head them off at the pass. Logically, they aren’t going to interrupt you. You say the two sentences in the introduction followed by “You probably work with a financial advisor already.” You took the words out of their mouth. They need to think of something else to say. Most likely it will be: “Yes, I do.”

Why: It moves the advantage in the conversation back to you.

4. “That’s a fine firm.” Never be dismissive of the competition. People can get defensive and territorial. Being respectful established common ground. If they are dismissive or unimpressed with their firm, you have an opening.

Why: Most people want to be complimented that they made a good choice. You’ve seen servers do it in restaurants often.

5. Draw out the positives. The above strategies put you into a position to gather information. Let’s focus on the positives. Ask how long they have been together? What do they like best about them?

Why: You want this person to like you, or at least be agreeable to keeping the conversation going.

6. “Would you recommend them?” Ask if they would recommend their advisor. Likely one of two things will happen. They would or they wouldn’t. If they would recommend them, they will probably follow with more reasons why. It sounds like they have a good relationship. They should keep it that way.

Why: You are doing the noble thing. If they’ve got a good relationship, stick with it.

7. Identify the negatives. Suppose they wouldn’t recommend them? A Texas advisor softly asks the question: “Why do you stay with them?” This is another opportunity to gather information. You might ask: “In what areas do you feel there’s need for improvement?”

Why: When someone tells you what they aren’t getting in a relationship, they are telling you what they want.

8. Multiple advisors. Many people seem to feel one advisor is enough. Their logic is based on other relationships. They have one accountant, auto mechanic, hair stylist or barber. They think: Why would I need more than one financial advisor? You respond: “I expected that. Successful people usually have multiple advisory relationships. You’re obviously successful. How many do you have?” Your logic is based on research from the 2003 book “The Millionaire’s Advisor” by Russ Alan Prince and Brett Van Bortel. High-net-worth people have three or more advisors on average.

Why: It’s almost as if you are giving them permission to have more than one advisor.

9. Ask questions. “When was the last time you heard from your advisor?” You might mention in volatile markets you and your team try to meet with every client at least once every three months to review their holdings.

Why: You are introducing a service characteristic, then explaining how you deliver it.

10. If-then approach. Suppose the market is doing well. You might say: “If your advisor is there when you need them, returns calls quickly and makes the case for getting into the market as the averages cross significant milestones, these days, that’s about as good as it gets.” Suppose the market is doing badly?” You might say “Is there when you need them, returns calls quickly and answers your questions…”

Why: You’ve set a very low bar! If they aren’t accessible, don’t return calls and don’t offer advice, there’s something missing. This assumes being invested is in the client’s best interests and they have cash on the sidelines.

“I already have an advisor” doesn’t need to be a conversation ender. You can draw them out without coming across as salesy.

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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.