Key Sales Concept for Financial Advisors: The Three Phases of Profiling

Key Sales Concept: The Three Phases of Profiling


If you’ve read my guide on The Good Way to Sell, you know that the sales process used by the top financial advisors goes as follows:

  1. Establish communication and rapport.
  2. Present credentials.
  3. Profiling.
  4. Prepare a SIMPLE proposal.
  5. Educate the prospect in the concepts necessary to decide on the changes they need to make.
  6. Present recommendations.
  7. Answer questions.
  8. Close.
  9. Onboarding.

Step three, profiling, is one of the most critical – and it can be broken into three phases:

  • Profile the person.
  • Profile the investor.
  • Gather investment data.

Why Profiling is So Important

Another word for profiling is DISCOVERY – because you are discovering what the prospect wants, needs, and fears.  You are discovering what it is you are actually trying to sell. 

One mistake I often see financial advisors make is that, when beginning discovery, they dive right into investment questions. 

Recently, I looked at a 9-page questionnaire.  It was issued by a major firm.  One of our clients is struggling with it, and when you look at the questions, it’s not hard to understand why. 

From the beginning, the profile plunges into a listing of retirement assets, non-retirement assets, balance sheet items, and liabilities.  By the time we get to page 5, the poor prospect is asked to prioritize a list of goals.  On page 7, they get an opportunity to list their other advisors. 

Nowhere on this questionnaire does it ask:

Why are you here today?

How can I help you?

Tell me about your family.

Tell me about your grandchildren.

What are you trying to accomplish?

Is there any urgent situation going on in your life I might help you with?

Imagine you just walked into a doctor’s office.  The doctor walks in and says, “Take off all your clothes and sit on the table.”  The doctor begins an examination – tapping, squeezing, listening – until he or she finally asks, “What other medical professionals are you currently seeing?” 

You’d walk right out of that room and never go back to that doctor again. 

Here’s what a good doctor would actually ask before doing anything else:

            “Why are you here today?” 

Diving into a financial examination without first finding out what the person wants to accomplish is the sales equivalent of “Take off all your clothes and sit on that cold metal table.” 

In the sales process I just outlined for you, it says, “Profile the person.”  Next, “Profile the investor.”  There are many facets to selling advice, but they all pale in comparison to first finding out about the person and then the investor. 

After all, people aren’t born with diversified stock portfolios.  They’re born with thoughts and feelings, wants and needs.  They’re not born as investors – they’re born as people

If you want them to do business with you, it’s critical that you treat them as such.

Good luck!



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