Originally published on Advisor Perspectives, May 16, 2018
Recently, an advisor in the audience at one of my sessions asked this question, “What is the single biggest mistake advisors make when trying to convert a prospect into a client?”
My answer: “They can’t get out of their own way.”
Here are some examples of things you do or say that create barriers to sales.
Think about all the time, effort and money that go into creating a new lead. Finally, you get an inquiry.
Unfortunately, this is when some of you engage in a well-intentioned process that costs your business: elaborate screening.
When a prospect calls your firm, they want to speak to a qualified advisor, not to a “screener” whose thinly disguised job is to determine if they have sufficient assets to justify your time.
All new prospects should be connected to an advisor. During the course of that call, the advisor will usually be able to determine if the client meets your minimum requirements. If someone slips through the cracks, you’ll feel great if you meet them and recommend someone more suitable for them.
Requesting information before the first meeting
Some advisors request extensive financial information before the first meeting. They justify this request by stating it helps make the meeting “more productive.”
This request is off-putting on many levels. The prospect doesn’t know you, much less like and trust you. What do you think his or her reaction will be to a request to provide intimate financial information to a stranger?
Do you ever find prospects cancel before meeting you? Is it part of your process to request financial information before the meeting?
Some advisors send prospects a series of questions and ask them to return their responses before the first meeting. The well-intentioned objective is to match the “psychological profile” of the prospect with the “right” advisor in their firm.
This misguided effort ranks near the top of communication bloopers.
The prospect knows nothing about you. The questions posed are intended to elicit a great deal of information about the prospect. It’s intrusive, off-putting and presumptuous.
Take the risk of a mismatch between the advisor and the prospect. That can be cured. Offending a prospect before the first meeting is often irreversible.
I’ve heard all the excuses. You live in a rural or resort area. You have an “informal” vibe in your office. You want to be more “relatable.” You celebrate casual Fridays (or some other weekday).
None of them are valid.
How you dress sends a powerful message to others. Unless it’s professional, you risk being perceived as unworthy of their trust.
Take the time to look good for your meeting. You’ll see an immediate – and very positive – impact.
I will address more communications bloopers that occur during the first meeting and beyond in future articles.
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