Financial advising: It isn’t about talking or persuading

It’s a myth that financial advising is about talking, presenting and persuading.

Sometimes we simply talk too much or say the wrong things. Anxious advisors can use an avalanche of words or too stubbornly stick to their scripts, not listening to the person in front of them. Sometimes we say the right things the wrong way and the client’s response is “We’ll think it over.” We sometimes forget we’re experts on a potentially confusing financial area and that is why people turn to us for help. Let me share an example of how talking too much may cost you a client.

I was sitting in on a meeting with a new financial advisor who was delivering a presentation he had practiced diligently. He was so focused on presenting to the client, though, that he completely ignored the prospect when he asked, “OK, shall we get started?” The prospect was convinced and ready to buy, but the advisor was still presenting. I allowed him to continue because I didn’t want to embarrass him. Because the advisor kept talking, the prospect later developed some questions he wanted to think about, and we ended up walking out without that sale. On that day, the new advisor learned a valuable lesson — less is sometimes better!

To help overcome this stumbling block, I ask new advisors to write down the answers to three questions:

  • What is my objective for the call or meeting?
  • What information do I need to get?
  • What information do I need to give?

This process is critical. Keep it in the forefront of your mind when you speak with clients. Once you gather the relevant information, you will be better equipped to provide viable solutions for their financial portfolio.

I encourage everyone to talk less and listen more. That way you will quickly get to the core of a client’s problem, solve it and close the sale.

Sales isn’t about convincing people. It’s about helping people convince themselves that they need some form of protection or security, which will provide for both their loved ones and their business assets.

Josh Bernard
Joshua S. Bernard, QFA, of George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, is the business development manager at CG BritCay. He has been an MDRT member since 2013. He’s also a Top of the Table member.

For more MDRT member-exclusive client communication ideas:

  • Joshua, this is one of the biggest challenges I faced as the National Sales Training Director for a broker-dealer and Life Insurance Company and one of the things I’ve coached on many times. The prospect is ready to do business, but the advisor is not paying attention, because he has a presentation prepared. And your definition of “sales” is exactly right. I have no doubt that this approach has contributed to a great degree to your own success.

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