Sadly, there is a problem to reaching out beyond the comfort and warmth of clients and their referrals. The “seniors” have forgotten how to sell. The “juniors” never have been taught.
Let’s talk about you seniors. You came into the industry with the wave of baby boomers in the late 1980s or early 1990s and built a successful career. You have a good life, work a few hours a day, generally take Fridays off and probably take at least six weeks of vacation.
You have been able to maintain your standard of living, but you have been on a plateau possibly for as long as 12 years. And that’s been OK.
But it’s not OK any longer. Clients are dying, and it takes four new clients from referrals to replace the assets that grew legs. Despite the booming market for the last 18 months, assets under management are shrinking.
You take a pledge. “I’m going to start prospecting.” You start networking, cold calling even, perhaps hold some seminars. You start generating some leads. But your closing rate, to use a technical term, sucks. You are closing 15% and you need 40%. You used to close 80% — what happened?
If you are having trouble closing, you’re not. The real problem is earlier in the presentation, most likely in the first meeting.
A properly executed sales presentation flows naturally to a close, which is just a tiny piece of the overall presentation. If the close is not happening, I assure you, the problem can be found earlier. Most likely, the problem is in the first meeting when you should only deal with discovery. And not just any discovery, as I will explain.
Here are two closing situations:
After hearing the usual tale of woe about closing, I ask, “What do you do in the first meeting?”
Advisor 1: “I go through a questionnaire provided by my firm.”
Me: “Can you send it to me?”
Advisor 1: “Yes.”
Me (after briefly looking over the questionnaire): “This is possibly the worst I’ve ever seen.” And it was. It was six and a-half pages of detailed questions about investments. There was no question such as, “Why are you here?” There was no chance find out about a prospect’s family, goals or fears.
I can imagine George and Lil leaving the office. George says, “Let’s talk to your cousin Ralph. Maybe he will introduce us to his guy.”
Here’s the second conversation:
Me: “What do you do in the first meeting?”
Advisor 2: “I listen and try and find a product to pitch.”
Me: “Let’s don’t do that. Let’s focus on your discovery meeting. Find out why the prospects are meeting with you, what they want to accomplish and what keeps them awake at night. Determine if we can help them.”
In both cases, I sent each advisor a questionnaire about family values. In the case of Advisor 2, simply by following “The Good Way to Sell,” his closing percentage jumped to close to 60% from about 20%.
Here’s the moral of the story: In your discovery meeting, barely touch on what the prospects own. Find out why they are there talking to you in the first place. (See the webinar, “The Good Way to Sell Advice” on my website) You can solve this problem.