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Friday, August 29, 2008

The big disconnect between financial advisers and their prospects

Everyone wants these benefits:
• To have more income
• To pay less tax
• To protect their assets
• To provide financial security for their family if their income is interrupted
• To maintain their financial and physical independence in retirement

Products and service you offer provide these benefits:

• You have products that provide more income than bank accounts (bonds, bond funds, mortgage funds, bank loan funds, annuities)
• You have products that reduce income taxes (annuities, tax free bonds and funds)
• You have products or services that help people protect their assets (any product with a guarantee, estate planning advice)
• You offer life and disability insurance in the event the wage earner is disabled or dies
• You provide long term care and health insurance to maintain physical and financial independence when illness strikes

Your prospects have desires and you have the solutions. It’s a perfect match.

So why is it that you have a chronic shortage of new business, you spend much of your time prospecting and you need to persuade people to do business with you. You have a constant need to find people who you can interest in your offerings. Obviously, there is a disconnect between what they want and what you provide.

These are three possibilities that cause the disconnect:

1. Prospects don’t trust your products to perform
2. Prospects don’t trust you
3. Your communication is inconsistent with what the prospect needs to hear such that prospects don't realize that you can provide what they want

In all three cases, the issue is you. The issue is that you communicate your service so that you either leave the prospect with a lack of trust, a lack of understanding or a cloudy perception of how you can help. Fortunately, there is a solution.

Your communication is so riveted to your agenda, that the prospect neither trusts you or understands how your agenda coincides with their agenda. Sure, you say you’re “client centered” but I will prove that’s not so.

Have you ever sent a product brochure to a prospect or done a mailing campaign that featured a product and its benefits? This is being product centered (not client centered). Any type of sales or product information screams “MY AGENDA.” But people are not interested in your agenda. Not surprisingly, they are interested in their agenda.

Here’s the difference. If Mrs Smith receives a seminar invitation titled “All About Annuities—how to save taxes and gain safety,” it is obvious this is your agenda is to sell annuities. I understand that you think this is her agenda because the annuity is a tool that heps her get what she wants. Surgery is also a tool that helps you get what you want (good health), but do you have a desire for surgery? You want the payoff—you don’t want involvement with the means, the tool or the service that produce the payoff.

Similarly, Mrs. Smith does not want your annuity and she will not attend your ANNUITY SEMINAR BECAUSE:

a. She is not interested in your sales pitch
b. She does not want to feel pressured
c. She is not interested in what a sales person says.

She is interested in insight, not merely product information. She does not want an annuity (she doesn’t even know what it is)

Now let’s suppose you send a different invitation. This one is titled “Six Ways Retirees Can Cut Taxes Now.” The invitation lists these topics to be discussed:

• How to reduce or eliminate tax on social security income
• The two asserts held by many retirees that can be double taxed (and how to avoid it)
• Why some retirees pay excess taxes by having the wrong investment in their IRA
• How it’s possible to get an 8% payout on your principal without risk to capital
• The government’s offer to subsidize the cost of heath protection yet few retirees use
• How to be sure that your spouse or children have the financial resources to make them secure when you’re gone

Every one of the above topics can include use of an annuity but annuities are not mentioned because buying an annuity is not part of the prospect’s agenda. If you want prospects to attend a seminar or respond to any marketing offer, your offer must be 100% about their agenda and 0% about your agenda. Notice that every topic above is about the payoff and does not mention the means to get the payoff.

When you are truly client-centered, you stop marketing products, you focus on your prospect’s emotional desires and you speak about your products only at the end of the interaction because they are unimportant to the buyer. Like the contractor who builds an addition to your house, you could care less what tools he uses. You only care that the addition is beautiful, adds value to your property and gives you enjoyment. You don’t want to know what type of lumber is used for the studs, whether the sheet rock is ½” or 5/8” or that the carpenter uses Craftsmen hand tools. Had the contractor focused on his tools in his sales presentation, there would have been no sale.

Are you ready to sell more by dropping your focus on your "tools" and focus on the prospect's agenda?

Post provided by Javelin Marketing


Bob MacDonald said...

Congratulatons. This is an excellent blog offering real value. It highlights the single most glaring deficiency in financial advising today, and that is training advisors -- not to sell products, but to solve problems. A product salesperson is viewed as a pest. A problem solver is a friend and hero.