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Why Prospects Don't Make Decisions

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“Let me think about it. I’ll get back to you.”

How many times have you gotten this answer when trying to close a sale? Often the sale never closes. You presented a good idea that was in the prospect’s best interests. You answered their questions.  It seems like a square peg and a square hole. Many agents and advisors wonder why prospects hesitate.

(Related: 7 Ways to Stay on Your Prospect’s Radar)

I wondered too. When doing research, I surveyed and interviewed advisors, asking the question, “Why don’t prospects (and clients) make decisions?”

I got six basic answers.

1. Fear

Buying investments and insurance is a major commitment. They can’t say “I want my money back” at any time. With insurance, surrender charges play a role. (Although there is the free look feature.) They worry they are making the wrong decision. If they are investing, they worry the stock market is too high. Or too low and heading even lower. This scares them off.

Strategy: Prospects often think it’s all or nothing. Starting with a smaller dollar amount is like walking into the pool at the shallow end instead of dicing in.

2. Delaying

People procrastinate. They assume nothing calamitous has happened to their holdings yet, so they can put off making a decision. “Let’s leave things as they are.”

Strategy: Politely explain “No decision is a decision.” By sitting tight, they are determining sticking with their current holdings is the best way forward. Is that what they believe?

3. Too Many Alternatives

This one’s your fault! They wanted income. You gave them lots of options. You want to sound smart, but you left them confused. Faced with choosing one of many options, they choose none. “So many choices. It’s so confusing.”

Strategy: Remember the joke about mother and dinner? “There are two options. Take it or leave it.” You wouldn’t say that, but they asked for your best idea. Let them know you considered others, this is the one you recommend.

4. Don’t See Value Added

Everyone wants to eliminate the middleman. They see ads to buy insurance online or trade stocks virtually for free. “Why should I pay extra to work with you?”

Strategy: You need to differentiate yourself. Insurance is complicated. Talk about “aftermarket service.”

5. Other Relationship

They have another agent or advisor. They aren’t doing a bad job. They think working with another advisor is like adultery. I already have an advisor. I’ll tell them about your idea and see what they think.”

Strategy: OK, they have one mechanic, accountant and barber. How many doctors do they have? Multiple relationships are OK.

6. Lack of Trust

They think agents and advisors are crooks. TV dramas don’t help. Newspaper stories don’t highlight the many people doing good, only the bad apples.

Strategy: Hopefully this prospect was a referral. You can lean on the reputation of the firm, its longevity, safety rating and financial strength.

These are logical reasons prospects don’t make decisions. Once you understand a prospect’s concerns, you can attempt to address them.

— Read 10 Ways to Tactfully Get Your Point Acrosson ThinkAdvisor.

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.