I spoke with a friend of mine recently who works for a large broker-dealer. She was frustrated by the “bad prospects” with whom she kept working, which made her consider leaving the industry entirely. When I asked about these so-called “bad prospects,” she explained that they were mainly high-net-worth (HNW) individuals and that she was meeting most of them through networking events and various activities in the community.
I asked about her onboarding process, and her pitch was surprisingly underwhelming. Instead of talking about her clients, she went on this explanation of her services and past returns — a real “rah rah” fest for herself. This approach made it really hard to remain engaged in the conversation, and I imagine prospects often felt the same about actually experiencing the onboarding process.
Changing your communication approach
Even though it is not usually this extreme, she is not alone in this mistake. All too often, I speak with advisors who feel they need to impress this more affluent clientele with how great they are and emphasize their superior financial knowledge.
Let me be clear: This is the wrong approach. More often than not, an individual or a couple sought your services because you already impressed them through a referral, on your website, or in your marketing efforts. That reason is precisely what you need to talk to them about.
Taking this approach means asking questions about the prospect and their goals, rather than bragging about your past success. From there, it is simple: Answer their questions. If they are a business owner concerned about the sale of their business, explain what that process would look like. If they have stock options they do not understand, find an easier way to explain it. The main point is that this introductory meeting needs to be about them, not you.
Making advice accessible
Not only should you be answering their most important question (and limiting it to just the client's main concern), you should be doing it simply and quickly either in that meeting or before you force them to pay any fees or roll over their assets.
Imagine the following scenario. You take your car into the dealership because the “check engine” light came on. The technician runs diagnostics on your car and instead of saying what is wrong, she forces you to fill out a bunch of paperwork on ownership of the car then sends you home. She then calls you and spends an hour explaining the intricacies of the issue and that she is going to require even more information to accurately assist you.
It is unlikely that you will go back to that technician. Now, imagine that the same situation occurs. The technician runs diagnostics, says you have a blown alternator, and explains the appropriate steps to replace it. You spend some time discussing it with her and decide it is time to trade in this car and buy a new one. Who is the better mechanic in this situation? It does not really matter, because it was the approach that resonated with you the most. You purchase a new car and are much happier than the first scenario.
Simplifying your process
The moral of the previous story is simple: As an advisor, answer the question that made the client seek your services in the first place. Do not force your prospects into divulging every detail of their financial life. You can easily answer their question and then transition to some of the less pressing needs. A single-page report will likely avoid overwhelming your prospect into non-action.
When something seems complicated or overly difficult, most people tend to avoid that task — even with the more complicated questions HNW prospects will undoubtedly ask. Therefore, it is best to keep it simple. Even if that first conversation is framed as a “rough idea,” it will be enough for the prospect to feel confident in your abilities and give them an incentive to come back with those details and assets.
To learn how Advicent technology can help convert HNW prospects to clients, click here.