Many financial professionals have heard a client say: “Just tell me what I can do to help you!” The response you would love to give is “Send me clients.” You can’t say that! Where can you take this conversation?
Sales is both art and science. Your client wants to help, but won’t want to leave their comfort zone. If you were to say: “Wear this sandwich board and walk up and down the sidewalk outside my office this Saturday” they would probably have other plans. How can they help you?
1. The client-prospect dinner. You would like them to introduce a good prospect. One way to get the wheels in motion is to invite your client out to dinner at a nice restaurant and ask them to bring a friend. You might need to coach them how to extend the invitation, but a nice restaurant should be a big draw.
2. Introduce me to your family. It’s the concept of selling up and down the family tree. It’s the holiday season. People throw parties. They attend them. Bringing a guest is standard procedure. They will likely introduce you in your professional capacity, praising you in glowing terms.
3. What organizations do you belong to? Many community groups feature speakers. They have foundations, endowments and money put away for a long time. They may be in a position to connect you with the right people. This might never have occurred to your client.
4. Do you know this guy? You have a big prospect on your radar. You’ve looked them up on LinkedIn. Your client is a shared connection. How well do they know them? Would they be willing to introduce you over coffee or drinks?
5. Who in your office is retiring in the next year or so? Not everyone has done a good job in retirement planning. They likely have questions about rollovers, Social Security and whether they have enough money saved or will need to get another job. They might have no idea who to ask.
6. Who has a problem similar to yours? Your client had an issue. You addressed it. They can see the problem in their rearview mirror now. They are thrilled. They likely know someone else with the same problem. That person likely needs a solution too. Your client has a success story they can tell.
7. Do you have any new neighbors? People new to the area need all sorts of services. Many people still prefer face-to-face relationships, especially where large amounts of money is involved. Often people ask “Who do you know…”
8. Who do you know that complains about their advisor? We are taught to look for fresh pools of money. There aren’t as many as we think. Many people have advisors. They aren’t all getting good service. It’s human nature to complain. You are asking your client to listen carefully. They are in a position to say: “I bet me person would return your call.”
9. Who is upset with their results in the stock market? Performance may be an issue. Your client might know some people who have tried the “Do it yourself” method and made mistakes. They might have an advisor who sold them something, then disappeared into the woodwork, not holding their hand through volatile periods. You want to talk with them.
10. Money in motion. Clients sometimes assume you only work with people just like them. Their uncle might have sold his business for $100 million, but they didn’t tell you because they assume it’s above your skill level. Your firm offers different tiers of service. You could probably help. One way or another, you would want to talk to their uncle.
There isn’t one direct answer to “Just tell me what can I do to help.” You need to analyze the situation, ask the right questions and suggest an action within their comfort zone.
— Related on ThinkAdvisor: