Financial advisors pursue their own version of celebrities: high-net-worth individuals. We want them as clients. We want them to invite us to their house for parties. We want our children to play with their children. We don’t stalk them, but we sure want to get close to them.
Lots of articles address how to get yourself into the same room. Different ones look at how to get a conversation started and what to talk about. You are still missing something. Why should they want to do business with you? What’s in it for them?
That’s not a social question followed by “Can I freshen up your drink?” It’s a serious one, where you put yourselves in their shoes and give it a lot of thought. Once you have some answers, you can find ways in future encounters and business conversations to bring it up. It’s that square peg, square hole thing.
1. It May Sound Obvious, but …
Years ago, I interviewed a former North American CEO of a NYSE-listed company. He told about how he had gotten his financial advisor referrals to about 50 similar C-suite executives. Obviously, many were at other firms. He explained the advisor would ask if he knew a certain person. If so, could he put the two of them together. There was also one more degree of separation. “If you don’t know them, do you know someone who does?” OK, so the guy had a charismatic personality. Why would he do this for the advisor?
The fellow added, almost as an afterthought: “Obviously the advisor needs to have made you money.” He explained, when he would talk to a peer about the financial advisor, the first questions would usually be: “What makes him so good? How much money has he made for you recently?”
Yes, making money on stocks sounds “old school.” Yet when dealing with Type A personalities, they are bottom-line oriented. They want to be able to say: “Yes, my advisor has made me money.”
How might it sound: Your referring friend might say: “Yes, she has made me money. She’s done it over time, too. She stays on top of things.” They would determine if they would go into detail with specific examples.
2. Provide Specialized Knowledge
If you own a car, you could change your oil if you wanted to do it. You could probably make minor electrical or plumbing repairs. But you don’t. You bring in a qualified expert, a mechanic, electrician or plumber. Why? Because they possess relevant knowledge. When the car dealership changes your oil, they usually do a 40-point inspection. They uncover problems you didn’t know you had, like the bubble in the tire’s sidewall or the worn brake pads. You would have missed those problems because you weren’t looking for them.
Insurance is a complicated product area. There are different costs, features and benefits. It’s difficult to compare side by side. You don’t know the right questions to ask. Some things, like long-term care insurance, are entirely beyond your base of knowledge.