Like all my articles, this one is inspired by my work coaching financial advisors (FA’s) one on one and in team settings. Sales is incredibly simple and complex for financial advisors.
You need to be able to align and execute upon two different jobs to be successful. Not only do you need to be able to effectively sell your services (more to come later), but, you also need to be able to effectively provide those services and continually maintain them to retain the clients you worked hard to acquire. You are the hunter and the farmer.
There are three key questions that drive success at sales for FA’s and they are:
- Why should I meet with you?
- Why should I listen to you?
- Why should I buy from you?
However, #1 is the most important because 2 and 3 don’t and won’t happen if you suck at answering 1. My title said there were 2 ‘most important’ questions right?
There is a question that you, the financial advisor, must answer before you can answer #1 above: Why do you want to meet with me?
Lets dig in.
The answer to “Why should I meet with you?” needs to be answered with your statement about why you want to meet with them? This is where someone that understands the entire sales process differentiates themselves from the competition. FA’s that understand those two questions and that have done the research and work inside themselves to have both authentic and compelling answers find prospecting/acquiring new clients to be a far more enjoyable process than those that just go out and try to grow.
So, if why you want to meet with them is the answer to why a prospective client should meet with you...how do you do it?
Here is the process.
- Define your ideal client. What clients do you love working with? (if you are brand new to financial services this is where reading industry publications and getting some mentoring/coaching can really pay off). Action Step: List out what clients/industries you love working with and describe as many reasons/characteristics as you can that prove you are correct to select them.
2. Why do you want that ideal client? You need to make sure, at a minimum, that you are combining profit and pleasure here. Action Step: List out exactly what you do for ideal clients and why you and THEY enjoy the experience maximally service by service.
Ideal clients are always paying you what you are worth and that is because you are always delivering maximum value for them.
Here is an example of how it works in the beginning of the process with clients of mine. I was coaching a ‘newer’ advisor on how to grow their business and, like many FA’s, he was struggling with being consistent with his prospecting efforts.
Prospecting is difficult if there is a lack of clarity and purpose to it because that confusion distracts the FA from being able to bring their full potential to every prospecting interaction.
I pushed him on what an ideal client was after getting him to understand that focusing on ‘hitting the numbers’ wasn’t working as well as he hoped. Note: measuring activity (the numbers) is critically important, but, we have to know why the numbers will work so that our belief will carry us forward. He agreed that the problem wasn’t the numbers it was his ability to focus and believe that he would be rewarded for his efforts with success.
I asked him what clients he really loved working with and/or would love to work with and one of the first things that he came up with was farmers. This FA is in a college town surrounded by 100’s of farms for miles and miles. I asked him why and he explained that he had grown up on farms, loved farmers and loved being out on the land growing things and also hunting. He loves farms and he is knowledgeable and articulate about every aspect of farming.
From there, we were able to narrow in on some niches within farming that are going to be much, much easier for him to individually identify by name and relationship the owners of the farms and how to meet them.
At this point we transitioned back to the two most important questions.
Why did he want to meet the farmer? One simple reason is that he would prefer to build his career around clients like them because he believed what they were doing was essential for the world, that he would treat them with more care and respect than advisors that hadn’t been involved with farming and that he simply would greatly enjoy all of his time with the farmers.
He wanted them as clients for WHO and WHAT they were...not just because they would be profitable.
Why should the farmer meet with him? See the answer above. There are few things that are more attractive to a potential client of a financial advisor than the explicit understanding by that client that the FA truly appreciates and respects them for what they do and intensely desires them as a client because of that.
Does that sound to simple? It really isn’t, but, at its core there is this universal truth: the clients that want to work with #financialadvisors all want to know and believe that the FA they select really wants to work with them.
Nothing is more attractive to ideal clients than the knowledge that they are ideal to you.