I can still remember driving for more than an hour to meet with a client, with whom I had confirmed the appointment just hours before.
When I got there, he was nowhere to be found. I waited, talked to the neighbors, went to lunch, called him a couple times and still nothing.
I was furious.
This “no show” had just cost me three hours of work time. I burned a ton of gas driving 60 miles each way at $4 per gallon. Even worse, I missed out on all the opportunities to work on other deals during that time.
I was sick of wasting time and money. I wanted to sell these cases over the phone, so I could talk with more people and make more money.
So, for the past eight years, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. And if you have dreams of running off to Costa Rica but still keeping your business going, you can do it!
Advisors are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to technology. They are doing everything from performing annual reviews via Skype, to using e-applications, chatting with clients via Facebook, and having a killer online video and email conversion sequence.
In all this, there’s a major missing component, and that is taking someone from a stone-cold prospect to closed, issued and paid – all over the phone and Internet, without ever meeting that client.
The average advisor sees five to ten clients per week. It’s tough to grow your income when you can’t increase the number of people you are seeing.
It makes sense why, when you have to prepare for an hour or two, then drive 30, 45 maybe even 60 minutes each way to meet the client, then you have a one- or two-hour meeting, and drive back 45 minutes – that could be a three- to four-hour time drain. You get two of those per day, and you’re done.
Working virtually with clients should be at the top of everyone’s list. Here’s why:
Your market is the entire country. You can sell in any state in which you have a non-resident license. This allows you to access a clientele that more closely matches your target market. For example, if you are seeking senior prospects, but live in an area that doesn’t have a high senior population, this fixes that problem.
Maximize and leverage time to the fullest. (No more wasted time with no-shows.) It’s easy to see how much time you waste traveling to see clients. It’s not as easy to see how many clients you lose because they aren’t willing to meet with you face to face. When you work virtually, just about anyone is comfortable having a 15-20 minute conversation over the phone. You increase your first appointments dramatically by allowing people to work with you in an environment in which they are comfortable.
Powerful positioning. There’s an old saying, “A prophet is without honor in his own land.” When your clients are meeting with someone who is far away from them, there is a level of credibility that can be created if done properly.
But advisors don’t think they can sell virtually, and it’s usually because of these three reasons:
“I’m not tech savvy.”
The good news is that you don’t have to be tech savvy. We use the good old-fashioned telephone, email and a simple screen sharing tool that is completely free. It’s called join.me and is very easy to use. All the users need is for you to tell them what to type into their web browser. It can be join.me/yourname and then they can see what you are showing on your screen instantly.
“High-net-worth clients won’t buy unless I meet with them face to face.”
Large sophisticated investors don’t require that they meet you. What they do require is that they trust you.
Is it a good idea to meet your clients face to face at some point? Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. Meeting them is great, but not necessary.
“I’m not comfortable without seeing the client ‘belly to belly.’”
This is a challenge, but in order for this to be successful, you must be willing to stub your toe a time or two as you figure out how to do it effectively.
It starts with generating leads for you to work. You must have a good flow of new appointments being set for you in order to have any leverage with this type of approach.
It’s important that these are strong leads that you are following up on. Positioning is crucial in this process. If you are seen as a salesman chasing people like a hungry animal, your prospects will smell it a mile away and never take your call.
It’s crucial that these leads have called you and have requested an appointment with you. When they come to you, you can maintain your position as the expert.
The way we’ve done this is by using 60-second radio spots to target high-net-worth clients. We address the problems and frustrations they currently have, and then we offer a solution. This has proven to generate a very high-quality prospect, with high investable assets and open mindedness to getting out of the market. We can get a return on this investment easily with a few closed cases.
From there, the sales process begins.
The First Appointment
The first appointment is usually the shortest, and it happens over the telephone. It’s a short, low-pressure, 20-minute conversation. However, don’t take this for granted. What you do on the first appointment is crucial to the entire process.
We take all the pressure off the prospects by using what we call an “Up Front Contract,” and giving the prospects permission to bail out at any time this doesn’t seem like a fit.
From there, we spend most of the time asking prospects specific, targeted pain questions to see if they are a fit for us.
We don’t “spill the candy in the lobby,” revealing a bunch of information about our strategies, because that’s a surefire way to lose a deal. We do sprinkle some candy, however, letting them know there are solutions to their frustrations, and they can learn more about them, but we’re running out of time.
During the first appointment, our main goal is to see if they have the budget, their level of pain and how open-minded they are to some new concepts that we will show them on the next appointment.
The Second Appointment
We conduct the second appointment in front of the computer with a screen- sharing app called join.me that we described earlier.
Our presentation slides demonstrate the three ways people can be taxed, as well as the history of taxation and the market history. We compare that with the indexing strategy, plus any other concepts in which the clients may be interested, such as financing themselves to wealth.
At the end of the second appointment, we show the opportunity their plan could create for wealth growth, tax savings and retirement income. They get excited about what they are seeing and then we take it away with “there is some bad news.”
The Third Appointment
From here, we let them know they need to qualify, and we move to a third appointment in which we take the application.
This whole process is managed with hundreds of hours of tested scripting. We also use “Presupposition Questioning Strategies” such as:
“When your advisor got together with you and discussed the next market crash and how to keep your money safe, what kind of plan did you come up with?” Or, “When you looked at the amount of taxes you’ll pay on your 401(k) distributions, what amount did you come up with?”
We also follow up with a host of persuasion tools that make sure the client is educated and comfortable at all times. Some of the tools we use are a direct mail follow-up campaign, emails driving them to videos we’ve created that are entertaining and instructive, and books that explain the concept quickly and easily.
Ultimately, this has given us the best of both worlds, a great income that continues to grow and a lifestyle that can’t be beat.
A friend of mine who is learning how to do this recently told me, “My goal is to move to Costa Rica and sell cases from the porch on my beach house!”
He can do it. And so can you!
Ethan Kap is co-author of Safe Money Millionaire and partner at Producer Mastery, an FMO that provides appointments, leads and a virtual selling system to agents and advisors across the U.S. Ethan can be reached at [email protected]