Ever have those moments when you say:
if only I said things a little differently,
I would have made that sale?
Finding the right words to tactfully
get your message across is an art the
insurance industry has developed over
decades. For example, prospects don't
die, they are "no longer in the picture."
After 10 years of doing research and
meeting excellent agents and advisors
who share ideas, I've learned many tactful
ways to get your point across.
At a party you're asked, "What do you
do?" If you say, "I'm a financial advisor,"
the temperature might drop suddenly.
If you come out with a marketing
statement, it might feel contrived.
Consider replying with, "I'm a financial
advisor with [firm]. You probably work
with a financial advisor already." Stop
talking. Logically, they will say yes and
feel they are not a prospect. This gives
you the opportunity to draw them out
about the quality of their current advisory
Prospects and clients see value in
teams. You are a sole practitioner. Does
this put you at a disadvantage? No. When
presenting your proposal, you could add,
"If you become my client, I will handle
your account personally. I will not hand
it off to another advisor in the office or
send it to a customer service area across
the country." You've turned a potential
liability into an advantage.
You're playing golf and discussing each
other's job. They say, "I already have a
financial advisor." You could respond
with "What do you like best about your
advisor? Would you recommend them?"
If they wouldn't, you could follow with
"Why do you stay with them?" If they
like them, ask, "In what areas do you feel
there's room for improvement?" When
they tell you what they are not getting,
they are also explaining what they want
in a relationship.
You're at a party making conversation.
Asking about where each other lives is usually
a safe topic. Instead of asking, "Where
do you live?" consider these two options.
First option: volunteer information
to get information: "Jane and I live on North Main Street. Where do you
live?" It softens the question.
Second option: another approach
is just two words: "Where's home?"
Soft approaches put the person at ease
as you get deeper into conversation.
While at a community event, you
see a high-profile person across the
room. You want to meet that person.
Take a moment and make a
mental list of people you know
that might know them. Think religious
institution, golf club, chamber
of commerce, etc. Walk over,
introduce yourself and say, "I think
we may have a friend in common"
or "I believe we know some of the
same people." It's likely they will ask
"Who?" You volunteer a name. They
agree and ask how you know them.
You explain and ask the same question.
Bridge is in place; conversation
Most agents and advisors seek highnet-
worth individuals or wealthy people
as prospects. Most people are
uncomfortable with those terms. "High net
worth" sounds like "more money than you've
got." Saying "Yes, I'm wealthy" reminds
you of the guy who said the Titanic was
unsinkable. Consider using the word "successful"
instead. You work with successful
business owners. People identify with the
word successful. No one says "I can't work
with Steve because I'm a failure." Most
people feel successful at something.
Say you are on a nonprofit board.
The "third rail" is soliciting business
from fellow board members. It's not
done. On the other hand, they seem
to do business with each other. Two
strategies to consider: First, approach
your mentor who got you there. Confirm
you understand the rule. Ask if
they do business with fellow board
members. If they say yes, ask how that
came about. "Did they approach you or
vice versa?" Another strategy is to ask
your mentor or a friendly board chairman,
"I would like to raise my visibility.
How do I do that?" In most cases they
understand the message between the
lines. They may have a quiet word with
other board members who might be in
the market for what you do.
A client's investments aren't working
out. Service goes wrong too. They
aren't complaining but are establishing
distance. You feel you are going to lose
the account to a competitor. An advisor
in New England invites the client (and
spouse) out to dinner. After settling in,
the advisor says to the clients, "Things
haven't been good lately." He stops talking.
The clients build up momentum
and angrily vent. The advisor handles
the situation calmly. When they have
finished venting, the advisor looks them
in the eyes and asks, "What can we do
to move forward?" It's very difficult for
clients to say they can't move forward
after the advisor has initiated the meeting
and been the target of their venting.
You have a professional designation.
Maybe the prospect isn't impressed.
Isn't everyone at least a vice president?
Those titles are honorary, aren't they?
Explain: "I'm a certified financial planner.
I'm qualified to hang my shingle in
any part in the country." Now they realize
it's a professional designation (like a
CPA) and it's portable.
Closing the sale can be tricky. They're
not going to say "Stop talking. You've
convinced me. Where do I sign?"
However, you can't ask "Are you going
to buy or not?" Here are a few ways to
"ask for the order," as shared by advisors
in the field:
• Are you ready to address the
• So what do you think? Can we
proceed with the plan?
• Can you see yourself benefiting
from this strategy?
• I want to work for you. I need
the go-ahead from you.
Notice how "you" is central to each
statement. They are yes or no questions.
"No" is the uncomfortable
answer. Obviously, once the person
agrees, you will repeat back exactly
what you will be doing (reading back
the order) and afterward confirm that
the order has been completed.
You are at a party and it's getting late.
You've met interesting people. They
could be great friends. They might be
prospects. You want to stay in touch. Let
me give you my card has a "this is all about
business" feel that could put the person
on the defensive. Here's an alternate strategy:
circle back to the person you met earlier.
Let them know you enjoyed talking
with them. Mention that you have a lot of
shared interests. Name a few. "I would like
to stay in touch. How do I do that?" Stop
talking. They will probably offer a card.
Personally, I like to take my card, write
"Bryce and Jane" along with our home
phone number on the back, and present
the card handwritten side first. It communicates
that this is a personal connection.
They also have my business information
on the other side.
"It's not what you say but the manner
in which you say it; there lies the secret
of the ages." This quote from William
Carlos Williams (American poet, 1883-
1963) sums it up well.