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Life Health > Running Your Business > Selling

Why Can’t Some Prospects Ever Make a Decision?

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What You Need to Know

  • Keep the number of options low.
  • Show how much an experienced professional can help them identify and fill coverage gaps.
  • Prepare to work alongside the advisors who are already in your prospect’s life.

Sure, you can press people to make an immediate decision.

There’s one problem: You can always get an immediate decision if you are OK with “no.”

The problem is how to reach “do it.”

Let’s look at the reasons prospects don’t make decisions, or at least no decisions on our timetable.

1. Fear

They are afraid of making the wrong decision. Once they’ve made it, they can’t go back. There are no do-overs. They are afraid of buyer’s remorse. The stock market provides good examples. They are afraid to buy because the market is too high. Fair enough. You waited until it’s falling and ask again. Now they are afraid the market is low and going lower. You might be dealing with their own history. They made a bad decision in the past. They are afraid they are going to make another one now.

Strategy: Work with the logic that all the money doesn’t need to be invested at once. It’s like wading into the shallow end of the pool vs. jumping off the diving board. There should be an amount of money you can agree on that is not a huge risk for them, yet enough for you to get started and help them build confidence.

2. Procrastination

It’s why some people have dirty houses. If it doesn’t seem that bad, there’s no rush to clean up. Let’s leave things as they are. What’s the rush? They don’t feel a sense or urgency.

Strategy: Let’s assume we are referring to growth or earning income in a tax-deferred environment. No one can accurately predict the future, but let’s imagine the stock market goes up or the prospect earns dividend or interest income. Outside, it’s taxable. Inside the product or investment you recommend, any possible gain is tax deferred. Which makes more sense?

3. Too Many Alternatives

This is your fault! They asked: “What do you think I should do to get income?” You thought they said: “What are all the possible alternatives?” Eager to show your knowledge, you present 12 possible scenarios. They lost you after No. 2. Faced with too many alternatives, many of which they don’t understand, they decided to sit on their hands.

Strategy: Make a different assumption. Assume they said, “Based on your understanding of my situation, what do you think is the best course of action?” Give them one idea, but be flexible. If they said “I forgot to mention …” have one or more backup recommendations.

4. Unclear Value-Added

This happens when the client thinks they can easily buy insurance or make investments online. They see “no commissions” or “trade for free” and assume they are only cutting out the middleman, which they consider prudent. Put another way, they see insurance or investment advice as a commodity. You get it from the cheapest provider.

Strategy: Insurance is complicated. There are features and benefits. It doesn’t easily lend itself to side-by-side comparisons. Imagine the scenario where you bought insurance coverage and paid premiums for years, then discovered you didn’t have the right coverage when you really needed it. Make sure the client understands how you can help guard them against that scenario.

5. The Brother-in-Law

There’s another relationship. It might be passive. They feel they can’t do business with you because it’s a betrayal of their current agent, advisor or relative. The fact they never identified their specific problem and offered a solution isn’t held against them. They are loyal, which is an admirable trait.

Strategy: Where is it written in stone you can only have one agent or advisor? Admittedly, you have one dentist, auto mechanic and hairstylist. How many doctors do they have? They might say: “OK, but doctors specialize.” Investment professionals can be skilled to address specific needs too. Bottom line: You can work with more than one investment professional. Many do.

6. Lack of Trust

Surveys show investment professionals aren’t at the top of the list of most trusted professionals. TV and films show them as greedy, interested only in getting the sale, whatever it takes. According to Statista, in 2018, there were 1.2 million insurance agents in the United States. When one gets into serious legal trouble, it’s headline news. Although the majority do a good job for their clients, it’s not considered newsworthy.

Strategy. Several factors come together. The longevity and reputation of the firm indicate they’ve been around for a long time and intend to keep going. Being referred by a current client is a great endorsement. Explaining that you seek a relationship and not a transaction should build confidence too. They can check your credentials online.

There are legitimate reasons that prospects hesitate. If they will open up and share your concerns, you should be able to address those concerns.

(Image: Adobe Stock)


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