Sunday, January 24, 2010

Getting That Sale (Part 2):

For Wealth Managers involved in a sales engagement, pre-empting potential objections helps to secure the sale. If we don’t answer those questions prior to attempting a soft- or hard-close, they will certainly appear or, potentially, kill the deal and you’ll never know why.

The five questions to answer:
1. Do I need an investment advisor? Answer this with features and benefits to show the consequences of not using an investment advisor. For example, access to institutional-class funds, proprietary research, integrated investment, tax, estate and insurance planning. That’s particularly important in both financial planning and in selling against a non-fiduciary, transaction-compensated, broker or advisor.

2. Will fee-based advice benefit me? Few investors realize that financial advisors can be either fiduciary or not, and that those who are not fiduciaries have no legal responsibility to act in the best interest of the client. The simple explanation is enforced with “ask your attorney about this.”
From the financial side, if the potential client is buying class A or class B mutual funds, the fee-based argument is particularly simple. Otherwise, a clear accounting of transaction-based fees and charges will help answer this question.

3. Will this specific wealth manager meet my need or solve my problems? Pre-empt this question with a clear understanding of your credentials. “In addition to being registered, I’m a Certified Financial Planner (or CFA, or other designation) and this means…”
Likewise, use case-studies and testimonials to help convince the prospect that you are right for them.

4. Is the fee (price issue) right for my needs? Focus on the price:value relationship, the integral nature of investments, tax, insurance, and estate-needs coordination. Many transaction-based advisors do simple investment plans and call them financial plans, they aren’t. What you can offer is.

5. Why do I need advice/this advisor right now? Simply, now is the time because you won’t know what opportunity or obstacle tomorrow will bring.

Next blog, we’ll address the best format for the actual one-on-one sales presentation, and start a conversation on “soft” and “hard” closes, and the right timing for each?

What do you think? Please comment below.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Getting That Sale (Part 1)…

“Wealth Management Marketing and Sales” will address best practices in the marketing and sales processes. Simply, “how to get and keep clients.” It’s a big subject of potentially great value for wealth managers. All in due time

The single, most effective, piece of advice first: overcome objections before they surface

It takes a lot of work, a measure of luck and not just a little fortitude to get in front of qualified prospects. Not walking out with an agreement – either an engagement or to discuss it further – is both emotionally draining and a bad waste of a valuable opportunity. Such disappointments can make the advisor even more adverse to the “sales” process, it can create a long-term downward spiral that ultimately dooms the business.

The sales meeting follows significant efforts at segmenting, targeting, positioning, research and preparation. While the “best practice” process for an effective sales engagement (“the” meeting) is comprised of “intro, creating desire, overcoming objections, and closing the sale,” nothing is more disheartening for the advisor than a barrage of potentially deal-killing objections.

You can overcome sales objections before they happen by understanding the essential questions that your client prospect will have before they articulate them.

Five questions to answer before they are asked
All consumers ask themselves five questions that must be answered before they will buy. It matters not whether they are buying a pencil or engaging a wealth manager. When specifically focused on wealth management advisory, here’s what they look like:
Do I need an investment advisor?
Will fee-based advice benefit me?
Will this specific wealth manager meet my need or solve my problems?
Is the fee (price issue) right for my needs?
Why do I need advice/this advisor right now?

Answer those questions using the most appropriate combination of strategies and proofs and they won’t appear as stressful, likely opportunity-busting objections.

So what do you think?

Next blog: preparing strategies and proofs which answer those objections before they’re asked. In my next blog, we’ll address the exact strategies and proofs that answer those questions, eliminate (or prepare you for) objections, and help you get toward both “soft” and “hard” closes which will land you the new client.