Fort Lauderdale: "You make it sound easy," moaned Bill. "When asked, I should be able to easily tell someone what I do, especially an affluent prospect. Heck, I've been through all the training and I’m on a big team."
Bill was reacting to one of the verbal drills we conducted during our latest Rainmaker Retreat. In this particular exercise, everyone role-played various high-impact Rainmaker situations. Although many of the participants were "battle-hardened" veterans like Bill’s senior partner, this exercise pulled veterans and rookies alike outside of their comfort zones.
The premise of the exercises was personal stature. Rainmakers win the confidence of affluent prospects by framing everything in direct and simple language. In other words:
- Cutting down on verbiage: good.
- Being direct and to the point: good.
- Being conversational and less scripted: good.
It is important to keep in mind that we do not make this stuff up. Every drill we use is crafted from a combination of our research findings and hands-on coaching. We know what the affluent like, what they don't like, their aspirations and their biases. We know how the affluent perceive the financial services industry. All of which is why Rainmakers understand the importance of verbiage.
To help put this into context, here's a quick reminder of what today’s affluent are looking for in a "go-to" financial advisor relationship:
- Proactive contact whenever events might impact their portfolio (quarterly reviews and monthly calls are no longer enough).
- Full disclosure (the affluent want to know your fees, a demand which can seriously test your sales skills).
- Complete understanding of their personal and family situations (which requires that you "surprise and delight" them in addition to providing comprehensive financial advice).
- Access to financial experts (you must be their quarterback/ coordinator, not a jack of all trades) – great news for FastTrackers!
- Careful asset allocation (the affluent expect the level of performance you discuss, and this is not considered value when it's achieved).
- Updated and comprehensive financial plan (the affluent have been exposed to planning, haven't been satisfied with it, but still want it done, and done properly).
- Organization of all their financial affairs and documents (the affluent no longer want financial confusion).
- Coordination of all investments and financial decisions (the affluent no longer want to make isolated financial decisions).
As you digest the above, also consider the four key dimensions in life that are critically important to affluent baby boomers:
1. Personal health
2. Family health
3. Financial health
4. Spiritual health
The above frames how you should communicate with affluent prospects. It begins with your "first contact" and continues throughout your entire relationship. The Oechsli Institute's research clearly indicates that the affluent want a "go-to" financial coordinator. Armed with that knowledge, Rainmakers speak simply and directly whenever they are asked about business.
When asked, "What do you do?"
Rainmakers don't read from their business cards…
"I'm a financial advisor."
"I'm a wealth advisor."
Why? Because they are not willing to take the chance that an affluent prospect or center-of-influence might subconsciously pigeonhole them as "stockbrokers." And they certainly won't recite some long-winded value proposition. Have you ever really listened to these things?! They sound a "financial pledge of allegiance" – very disingenuous. Instead, Rainmakers respond with a simple statement that takes into account everything you’ve just read by saying something like…
"I oversee the finances for a small group of families in the area."
Whatever verbiage that is used, it is not been selected by chance. Rainmakers carefully craft their words, and because they understand the importance of less verbiage being better, they work hard to get them right. To that end, their objective is to create a word picture, touch the hot buttons, and pique some interest. Rainmakers refuse to be pigeonholed as a financial salesperson – nor should you.
The language of elite advisors (Rainmakers) goes beyond elevator speeches and value statements, making them fully prepared for any type of discussion, especially when getting an affluent prospect into an initial discussion about business.
But Less is More…
It is important to understand that less verbiage doesn't mean that you’re perceived as delivering less value. Hardly! It actually has an inverse relationship with the perception of the value you deliver. Less verbiage, more value, more deliverables.
Elite advisors build their business to last and adhere to the tenet "action speaks louder than words." They study the affluent, are up to date on their concerns, biases, perceptions, needs and wants. And they tailor their deliverables accordingly.
Elite advisors recognizethat they are the product – so are you. Of course, all of this requires work.