Prospects never breeze into your office and say, “Where do I sign?” As a financial advisor or insurance agent, you must do the work and close the sale. Are you doing the right work, though?
You have learned all about features and benefits during sales training at your firm. The prospect needs to know how the features of the product (the benefits) will make their life better. Yet, is the best way to close sales to overexplain or list details clients are not interested in or don’t understand?
Instead, try these strategies to help you turn prospects into clients:
Strategy 1: Walk them through the process
Agents and advisors are tempted to go after the low-hanging fruit of the easy order. Your firm likely has a multiple-step process that starts with gathering data, identifying the client’s risk tolerance, preparing and delivering a financial plan, and presenting your proposal. You make no recommendations before the plan is delivered because you want the prospect to focus on the big picture.
It is easy to lose the prospect’s attention though. So, use trial closes like, “Does this make sense to you?” and “Are you OK with that?” A series of yes answers is rarely followed by a no when you ask for the order. This is also an opportunity to refer to what the client said was important to them (their CFOs or Critical Few Objectives) and show how your proposal addresses their concerns.
One of the benefits of having a multistep process is explaining, “Implementation is the next step in the process.”
Strategy 2: Gain approval in advance
This strategy builds on the first strategy. Your first meeting with the prospect is often an information-gathering session. The second meeting involves reviewing the financial plan and presenting your proposal.
An advisor I met had an interesting technique he built into his approach. He sought approval in advance.
Here is how he did it. He would explain he would not be making any recommendations until that second session, the plan review meeting. He would say that was because, “We will review the plan and decide at that meeting to implement or not implement the entire plan.”
The client expects the second meeting to be the decision-making meeting. If they were only shopping around and did not intend to make a decision, the second meeting doesn’t happen! They call and cancel. You have saved time presenting and following up with a person who was not intending to act.
Strategy 3: Identify a need and present a solution
This strategy should sound very familiar. It is effective because once a problem has been identified, it does not go away until it is addressed. Put another way, if you bring your car to the dealership for an oil change and they explain your brakes are shot, the brake problem doesn’t go away if you drive off the lot without getting the brakes fixed.
You meet with the prospect and gather information. This might be a retirement planning analysis. Both you and the prospect discover, based on the retirement lifestyle they desire, they will run out of money in (x) years.
You suggest compromises: Would they work longer? Could they save more money every year? Would they be agreeable to spending less money in retirement? Often the answer to these questions is no!
Then you ask: “Would you be interested in a solution offering a greater potential of reaching your retirement goals?” Compared to the first three compromises you suggested, this sounds like a more attractive alternative. Now you have their attention.
This strategy usually involves using the Monte Carlo simulation tools to assign probabilities to retirement outcomes.
There are many ways of approaching the closing process. A key factor is to take the lead. The prospect rarely asks, “Where do I sign?” the minute they walk into your office.
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.
For more ideas about how to close:
The keys to connecting with prospects and clients
Top 5 biggest financial mistakes made by CEOs
Connect better with a powerful question and stories