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Practice Management > Building Your Business > Prospect Clients

When the Prospect Says: ‘I’m Thinking of Using a Financial Planner’

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Most people avoid confrontation. As an advisor, you have approached people who don’t want to do business. They rarely if ever say: “Go away.” There’s often an objection. Because we feel the concern is legitimate, we try to respond.

One of these objections might be “I’m thinking of using a financial planner.” What now?

You are not the first financial advisor they’ve ever met. They might have had a bad experience previously. If not, maybe their father-in-law did. They might group financial advisors in the same category as insurance agents. Unfortunately they put used car salesmen, auto mechanics and personal injury lawyers into the same bucket. Why? Because they feel all these professions share one characteristic: They are out for themselves.

They’ve heard the words “financial planner” and “fiduciary” used in the same sentence. They think this is a more objective way to invest. They feel an FP is more professional than an FA. 

5 Responses to ‘I’m Thinking of Using a Financial Planner’

Let’s assume the comment is legitimate, not an excuse to terminate the conversation. Bear in mind “I’m thinking of…” implies they haven’t taken this step yet. They might have been “thinking” for years.

If you offer financial planning, they might not be aware of that. This could be an easy conversation. Maybe they will get a plan elsewhere and be left on their own to implement it, or a “plan” that’s a sales tool in disguise. What’s really happening here? You need to draw them out.

1. Share your designation.

You tell them the good news: You have earned your certified financial planner designation. You can be that planner!

Your logic: The prospect has assumed financial planning is a separate profession. Electricians don’t do plumbing and vice versa. You’ve let them know you have achieved the CFP designation and adhere to its high ethical standards. 

2. How did you find the planner? Are they a good one?

Your aim is to draw them out. It’s a good step they are suggesting. How far has their research taken them?

Your logic: You are very complimentary with this approach. You are curious about their process. If they are serious, they have taken action? You might know who they are!

3. Where are you implementing the advice they provide?

You are taking them at their word: They are hiring a planner, a person who produces a plan for a fee. The plan is portable, meaning they aren’t expected to make their investments through the planner. Theoretically, they can implement the investments by purchasing them online and following them on their own.

Your logic: You are making the case planning and implementation can be disconnected activities. They might feel their financial planner is the best. There’s still the opportunity for you to work with them, implementing the recommendations and helping them follow them afterwards.

4. What do you like about them?

This is similar to the second question. According to the CFP Board, there are about 89,828 certified financial planners. That’s a lot. What makes this one special?

Your logic: Again, you are drawing them out. You are establishing if they have actually taken action. The traits they like tell you about the type of relationship they want to have with investment professionals. 

5. Planners are very valuable, provided they are doing the plan for you and not themselves.

Many companies latch onto words that resonate with the public. “Green” and “eco-friendly” are examples. You want the commitment to be sincere, not a ploy to get you to buy their product. Many investment professionals start the relationship with a financial plan. This makes sense if the firm is large, with a broad range of products. What if the person is only licensed to sell one product? Doesn’t that imply they will say their product is the best fit, regardless of your need? Then the plan is a sales tool.

Your logic: You have earned your CFP status. The plan costs money to produce. The prospect can take the plan, with its recommendations, and implement it anywhere they choose. In many cases, they will choose to implement the plan with you, becoming a client. Why? Because you have built a relationship. They feel you are acting in their best interests.