If you watch a master at work, whether it’s playing the harp or cooking a souffle, control is one theme you’ll see no matter what the medium.
The master chef watches every part of the process and puts the spices and ingredients in at just the right moment; the master harpist plucks the right string when the music calls for it; the professional athlete kicks the ball at the right angle and strength.
As a financial advisor, you know you can’t control your clients as much as you’d like to sometimes – they will make any number of decisions for a host of different reasons.
However, you can control the process.
Keep your hand firm on the wheel, your eyes out ahead, and you’ll be surprised how far you get, even with the most indecisive clients.
Let’s look at a few tips to help “unstick” prospects and clients on the journey, and how you can act as their guide.
“I Don’t Know What To Do”
This is a common phrase you’ll hear from prospects and clients. The emotional pressure of money and the sheer complexity of a financial plan can overwhelm and paralyze even the sharpest mind.
There’s a lot at stake here – we can’t forget that: retirement, a child’s education, bankrolling a dream business built with blood, sweat and tears. A little mental paralysis is understandable.
One mental sleight-of-hand that can help you is this deceptively simple question: “I know you don’t know, but if you did know, what would we do?”
Read that again.
It essentially gets a different part of the brain working. Help your clients send their minds on a reconnaissance mission to come back with some scenarios that the practical mind can begin to think through.
“I Need to Think About It”
We’ve all heard, or said, this one before. “I need to go home and mull this over.” But what’s at home? If you’re like me, home means a pile of bills, dinner that needs made and laundry that’s not going to wash or fold itself.
In short, life gets in the way and clients find themselves thinking about everything other than your conversation.
Again, exercise control here. Help them focus on a few rock-hard tasks or bits of information to look for when they’re gone.
For example: You’re going to think about getting a 529 plan started for your grandkids, whether to delay retirement another year and how you can prepare for a 199A deduction for your business. Lay out these small tidbits as specifically as possible. Or ask them to fill out a form or sign up for the online dashboard.
Your follow-up contact with them can include these specifics: “I’ll be looking for your sign-up on the dashboard.” This creates accountability and gives your clients something to focus on rather than trying to see everything at once.
Put yourself in your prospect’s mind frame before enacting this one. Think of a time when you went to sign up for something. It sounded reasonably straightforward and you wanted to get going.
But then it wasn’t easy. The form was long, it required a bunch of information you didn’t know. You tried to find the information, then hit a snag and said, “I’ll do this later.” Kind of a let-down, right? Maybe you thought, “Can’t someone do this for me?”
I’ll bet you know what’s coming, right? Do it for your prospects, or with them. At first, this option might not sound appealing. But step back and think about this for a minute.
What better way to hold a hand, be a friendly concierge and let your customer service shine? Bam! A bona fide personal mechanism for winning them over before they hit the door. Warmed up – informed and familiar even – and ready to go!
Sometimes we take for granted the simplicity of things we do every day, like getting online to download statements. The reality is that plenty of sincere, smart, intentional people of abundant means hesitate because of unfamiliarity, busy schedules, detail-phobia, etc. Just a few minutes of “curbside” service like this will endear your clients to you and give you a chance to showcase your competence and mastery of the material.
Someone Goes Completely Dark
It’s happened to all of us. You thought you really connected with that client or prospect and seemed to align well on style and goals. And then …. nothing. No calls, no replies to your emails, no activity on their online accounts.
Here’s where you make a well-timed phone call or send an email: “Hey, I was thinking about you today. It’s been a while, and I was just wondering if your timeline has changed or you’ve gone in another direction?” Many of us, myself included, have to gather a little courage before we make a call like this, but it’s well worth the time and energy required.
I don’t know how many times I’ve had someone respond, “I’m so sorry, I was just getting around to that!” When they do, you can slip into concierge mode and walk through the process with them.
This could also be a generational objection. Clients of a certain age may be intimidated by the digital element and need a more hands-on walk-through. Don’t let a few awkward moments on the phone and a few repeated questions get in the way of doing business.
Where the Puck is Going to Be
The classic Wayne Gretzky quote bears repeating: “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.” The control that a hockey master shows on the ice is the same control you need to show in the office. Speak with confidence, anticipate your clients’ needs and let them know they’re in good hands. If you have to fake it a little until you make it, you’re not alone.
A Carson coach can help you run your drills and think through scenarios to optimize your interactions with clients. Get in touch today, and let’s see how we can take your firm to the pros!