A couple signing papers (Credit: Shutterstock)

(Related: Why Prospects Don’t Make Decisions)

Many agents and advisors have difficulty asking for the order, or more specifically, getting the client to commit. How do you turn the proposal you just made into new business on your timetable?

When researching my advisor training, I surveyed and interviewed successful financial advisors. I was interested in learning how they asked for the order. The specific words weren’t my objective; what I wanted to know was how they made the transition from presenting to closing.

Four strategies emerged.

They are listed here in order of popularity. For the advisors who suggested them, these are the approaches that worked.

1. The Direct Ask

This was the most popular. You’ve made your presentation, showing how the investments or policies tie into the client’s needs and goals outlined in the financial plan. This is followed by asking, “Shall we proceed?”, or “I recommend we do the following.” This is a closed-end, yes-or-no approach.

2. A Series of Agreements

This is a variation on the trial close approach. You want to be confident that your prospect is following your line of thinking and that your prospect hasn’t zoned out. Along the way you ask questions like, “Does this make sense to you?”, and “Are you comfortable with that?” The expected answer is “Yes” in all cases. If you get a different answer, you can slow down and address the client’s concerns. When it comes to asking for the order, the logic is, “A series of yes answers is rarely followed by a no answer.”

3. The Next Step in the Process

You are a professional. You probably have a big firm behind you. Your prospect is talking with you because your client assumes you aren’t learning as you go along. Your firm has helped hundreds of thousands of people in similar situations. You (and the firm) have a process. You simply say, “Implementation is the next step in the process.” The prospect realizes there’s a plan put in place beforehand.

4. Signing Paperwork

Another advisor divides the sales process into talking and acting. Presenting the proposal is talking. The prospect is listening. The next step is taking action. The advisor says, “To get started, we need to complete some paperwork…” The advisor gets the client started on completing the forms needed for opening an account.

None of these strategies is adversarial. You are looking for the client’s agreement, involvement and decision to proceed.

— 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.