While financial advisors know that business development is a vital part of their job, most would prefer to accomplish it without having to be salespeople, too. They expect to get paid as advisors who help people, but they can’t survive in the business if they can’t persuade people to pay them for their services. Use these proven sales techniques to gain more clients without sounding like a salesperson.
Have a Structured Sales Process
Have a structured process that guides your interaction with a prospect and demonstrates the value of your services. Your communication should sound conversational, confident, and caring. For financial advisors, the sales process should be more about building trust and being able to answer the question on every prospect’s mind: “Why should I place my trust in you?”
Make It About Your Prospect
Your first meeting with your prospects should center on getting to know them. In fact, you should state that up front as the goal of the meeting “Jim and Janet, my goal in this meeting is to get to know you. Then, I will tell you a little about our services. From our conversation, we’ll find out if we’d be a good fit for each other. How does that sound?” Start out the conversation by asking questions such as, “What’s important about financial planning to you?” With each response, probe deeper “Please tell me more about that,” or “Why is that important to you?” Your goal should be to uncover four or five pain points. The more pain points you can discover, the greater the urgency you can build in helping them. By having them talk about themselves, you will put them at ease and erase any fears that you are trying to sell them something.
Explain Your Service
The challenge in selling an intangible service is it is difficult for your prospects to grasp how it is going to help them. You need to be able to communicate your value so they can have confidence in the results. Explain your process in a precise way, using a binder or a PowerPoint presentation. When you can, and when it is appropriate, refer to some of their pain points to address how your process will help them. You want to come across as a problem solver, not a salesperson. At the end of your presentation, ask if they have any questions and then use a closing technique such as, “After everything we discussed, I’m certain that my services would be a good fit for your needs, so I’d like to ask you to take me on as your financial advisor.”
You should always expect objections, which are opportunities to differentiate your services and reinforce how your services can help them. Don’t be overbearing; be consultative in your approach to addressing their objectives. Use stories about other clients and how they benefited from your services. If they want time to think about it, allow them to do so, but get agreement on a time to follow up with them. It’s important to always be mindful of the fact that people today are more fearful when it comes to working with a financial advisor. The most important thing to them is to have a trusted advisory relationship.