BEST CLOSES or Techniques

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Mar 11, 2009 2:44 am

Okay, I'm not sure if it's me, the market, or both, but I'm having pretty big challenges closing business.  Obviously this can be through a number of various reasons like insufficient rappor with prospects, poor trust built, lack of identifying needs, blah blah blah. 

 
However, I'd like to use this forum as a way to share best practices in what has worked most effectively for any of you for closing the deal.  Maybe its a closing line, a question you ask (or a series of questions for that matter), or just a technique that has worked well for whatever reason.  PLEASE SHARE IT.
 
Here's an example:
 
1.) "Mr. Jones, the only way we can make any money at all is eventually by selling at a profit.  The only way we can sell at a profit is by getting started.  Let's just sign the paperwork and get our plan to work."
 
2.)" Mr. Jones, you've already decided a long time ago that you needed to make a change.  Otherwise, you wouldn't have been here.  We both know that by doing nothing at all you won't change your situation.  It will stay the same...the problem will still be there.  The plan/strategy I've proposed addresses X and X and does X and X.  Thats a substantial improvement from where you are.  Keeping that in mind, let's not hold our breath and lets move into... In order to do that we just need to fill out the preliminary paper work here..."
 
3.) "Mr. Jones, I understand that this is a big decision, but the reality is that if you keep it the way that it is now, the portfolio won't put you in a favorable position down the road.  This plan/straegy/investment will give you a higher chance to meet your goals based on blah blah blah.  Doesn't that make sense?" Proceed to close again..
 
4.)  "Mr. Jones,  I can't tell you that I know that this is a better plan than any other plan out there.  But what I do know is that we've taken the time to try to understand you to the best of our abilities in order to find out where you are, where you want to be, and what might be getting in your way.  My basic conviction is that the best plans are the ones that you actually put to work than the ones that you don't.  This is certainly one of those plans.  If you can agree, then we've made a big step towards progress.  The next step is..."
 
Some of these are old school tactics or corny stuff that I just made up along the way mixed in with things I've read in the past.  I'm sure people have better ways to close.  I've read them b4 on here, but forgot what posts have it.  Always good to update new approaches.
Mar 11, 2009 8:14 am

"What's your social security number?" 

Mar 11, 2009 9:56 am

"A smile works well.  A gun and a smile works better."

 
- Al Capone
Mar 11, 2009 11:51 am

I think you're talking too much.  Get to the point.

Mar 11, 2009 12:19 pm

I close by reminding them of my Nobel Prize in Economics, that my best friend is Myron Scholes, I have a 'secret' formula that picks winners 74.38476% of the time, that I waive all my fees if they lose any money in the market, I need a new roof on my house, and that we share the same [religion, ancestry, sex, sexual-preference, politics].

 
Works like a charm
Mar 11, 2009 11:03 pm

"Does this plan sound good" Yes

 
"The next step would be to transfer your accounts from X over here, we'll transfer everything in kind, that means nothing will be sold or change until it arrive here...then we will get together and discuss implementing the plan"  Does that sound fair?
 
Mar 12, 2009 12:56 am

I don't usually take no for an answer....I just keep asking questions and say.."When you move your account over..blah..blah"..that helps....When you say that about 20 times in a conversation....They usually start to believe they are moving it to you by the end of the conversation... It's worked well for me .

 
Baba is right, I usually don't even talk about buying or selling anything until they have their account transfered. Then your garaunteed some business at some point. If you bug them too much before they transfer, they have the option to ignore your calls....
 
If they transfer over their money...they have to listen to you at some point
Mar 12, 2009 11:17 am

in all seriousness, if you are looking for a closing line or great phrase to use to close the deal, the train has already left the station.  nothing you can say AT THE END will ever make up for a poor process, lack of client by-in along the way, lack of trust, or a general feeling of warmth/respect you should have earned before ever uttering a closing statement.

 
Mar 12, 2009 11:26 am
theironhorse:

in all seriousness, if you are looking for a closing line or great phrase to use to close the deal, the train has already left the station.  nothing you can say AT THE END will ever make up for a poor process, lack of client by-in along the way, lack of trust, or a general feeling of warmth/respect you should have earned before ever uttering a closing statement.

 
 
+1.   It does not matter what close you use, just that you ask for the business.  Everything before the close will determine if you get the business.
Mar 12, 2009 11:40 am

I just outline my plan for doing better (whatever "better" is to them).  When I am done, I say "this makes sense to me, but what do you think of it?"  At that point, they usually say it makes sense to them too. You're done, open the account. If they say it does not make sense to them, ask why, and go from there.

Mar 12, 2009 12:00 pm
wind3574:

...

 
Baba is right, I usually don't even talk about buying or selling anything until they have their account transfered. Then your garaunteed some business at some point. If you bug them too much before they transfer, they have the option to ignore your calls....
 
...
 
I believe you, I just can't imagine having a client just move their account to me without an idea of what I'm going to do with it.  For someone to move, the pain of moving has to be less than the anticipated future joy of the move.  How do they anticipate anything if they don't know what you are going to do with their money?
 
Every once in a while, I have a referral or someone who is fed up with their advisor, and they want to move no matter what, but most people have to be "sold" to come over. Part of that selling involves letting the client know what I'm going to do with their money.
Mar 12, 2009 5:34 pm

I have been really successful with pointing out everything wrong with their current portfolio. Once they realize they are getting screwed, either by bad investments or wrap fees/high mutual fund fees....they usually want to move no matter what....Once they realize something is wrong, they ask for your advice. At that point you are golden. Just talk about diversification, great quality funds versus the ones they have. I have not had to go in depth about what I would do. I typically talk about how they could improve their portfolio over all, and they usually want to transfer it in kind (Maybe because by not talking specific investments..you rid of the whole salesmen gig for a few minutes). Then I offer to do an "In Depth" discussion of where we should put it after the transfer.

 
1st step is showing them the problems in their portfolio, and making them believe it.
2nd step is discussing an over all idea of how they could better their portfolio
3rd step transfer account
4th step is a detailed actuality of what specific investments you would put them in...
 
thats exactly how I do it...and it works well for me....Im about $30,000 gross, at about 2 1/2-3 months out
Mar 12, 2009 6:10 pm
wind3574:

I have been really successful with pointing out everything wrong with their current portfolio. Once they realize they are getting screwed, either by bad investments or wrap fees/high mutual fund fees....they usually want to move no matter what....Once they realize something is wrong, they ask for your advice. At that point you are golden. Just talk about diversification, great quality funds versus the ones they have. I have not had to go in depth about what I would do. I typically talk about how they could improve their portfolio over all, and they usually want to transfer it in kind (Maybe because by not talking specific investments..you rid of the whole salesmen gig for a few minutes). Then I offer to do an "In Depth" discussion of where we should put it after the transfer.

 
1st step is showing them the problems in their portfolio, and making them believe it.
2nd step is discussing an over all idea of how they could better their portfolio
3rd step transfer account
4th step is a detailed actuality of what specific investments you would put them in...
 
thats exactly how I do it...and it works well for me....Im about $30,000 gross, at about 2 1/2-3 months out
 
I disagree with this.  I don't speak about the former advisor and rarely see what they have before the transfer paperwork is being signed and I need a copy of the statement.  If they are sitting in front of you, they are unhappy with something.  If you focus that unhappiness on portfolio construction (which they don't understand anyway), at some point in the future some other broker will tell them what is wrong with your portfolio, and they will listen because you have told them this is what being a "good" financial advisor is about.  It is easy to tear apart a portfolio with hindsight.
 
If instead you focus on your process, what YOU do, and set expectations, you will be far more successful.  Your focus on what is wrong with the other portfolio also sends a message to the prospect that they made a mistake.  After all, they agreed to it.  Some people will not admit mistakes, generally your A types with money.  Allow prospects to improve without making a value judgement.
Mar 12, 2009 8:53 pm

Most of the people, I have found do not have a clue what any of their statements mean nor what investments they are in, so they haven't felt like they have done anything wrong. The main thing is, they do really need some adjustments. I got a million dollar account last week, because he was paying 52% of his dividends and income in fees at his other firm and had absolutely no idea.....In a market like this..they need to know whats wrong with their portfolio....

 
It's worked great for me and I have built alot of trust in clients by being honest and making them aware of the things their other advisor did not tell them....once they are transfered...I give them full disclosure of their statements, educate them on what investments we are putting them in and tell them exactly what they are paying....and I have transfered alot of accounts..
Mar 12, 2009 10:11 pm
wind3574:

Most of the people, I have found do not have a clue what any of their statements mean nor what investments they are in, so they haven't felt like they have done anything wrong. The main thing is, they do really need some adjustments. I got a million dollar account last week, because he was paying 52% of his dividends and income in fees at his other firm and had absolutely no idea.....In a market like this..they need to know whats wrong with their portfolio....

 
It's worked great for me and I have built alot of trust in clients by being honest and making them aware of the things their other advisor did not tell them....once they are transfered...I give them full disclosure of their statements, educate them on what investments we are putting them in and tell them exactly what they are paying....and I have transfered alot of accounts..
 
Out of curiosity, 52% of divs into what fees?  M&E?  Fee based account?  Internals?  Please elaborate.
Mar 12, 2009 10:19 pm

Wind you say things that most true newbies with Jones have no clue about. What is your background? What resources are you pulling from i.e. local vets, literature, etc.?

Mar 13, 2009 12:04 am

He had 3 accounts....2 IRA's and 1 Trust... One of his IRA's was a managed account, that he was paying a 4% wrap fee on. It came out to be roughly $12,000 a year for one managed account. That alone was 52% of the income/dividends that he earned annually on all 3 accounts combinded. Not to mention all the unnessesary fee's he was paying in B and C shares. You really dig deep in someone's portfolio and you can almost always find an advisor, who's taking advantage of them....Good way to get accounts.....

 
This approach works well...but only if you are focusing on whats best for the client and not going to just put them right back into something they shouldnt be in...I've transferred over accounts...just to get them out of a wrap fee and not made a dime....Eventually i'll get some business by doin whats best for them...
 
JAXSON - What sort of things do you mean? My background...Bachelors in Psychology...Master's in Business... Work- DHS facility for abused children...Business to Business Corporate Sales....Managed a touring band for awhile....
 
This is my first go round with this industry, but it's payin off in big ways. I'm puttin up some great numbers. I also just kind of read what I can. I glance at the WSJ and things, but it's so full of crap nowadays.... I get a book off Amazon every now and again...and reglance over my old series 7 stuff from time to time...and I will definitly get advice from Vets if needbe...
Mar 13, 2009 12:30 am

but only if you are focusing on whats best for the client and not going to just put them right back into something they shouldnt be in...I've transferred over accounts...just to get them out of a wrap fee and not made a dime....


 
 
This is a very confusing statement to me.  Are you saying the portfolio in your opinion was right for the client but the fee wasn't so you transferred it in-kind just to eliminate the fee to the client?  What type of wrap account is charging 4%?  What do you plan on doing with the B shares?  Hold or penalty?
Mar 13, 2009 12:58 am

Yes..I have had a few clients who I pointed out that they were paying major fees, but had an ok portfolio, so we just transferred over..... The managed account was a Lord Abbot managed account through Smith Barney. the fee was 4%. absolutely rediculas.....

 
As far as B shares go, it just depends on how long they have had them. If its long enough well sell them, or if they are decent enough to hold onto then we can wait for them to convert. Some people might pay less to sell out now, rather than pay 2% per year for another 3 or 4 years....how do you not know this stuff?
Mar 13, 2009 1:04 am
wind3574:

Yes..I have had a few clients who I pointed out that they were paying major fees, but had an ok portfolio, so we just transferred over..... The managed account was a Lord Abbot managed account through Smith Barney. the fee was 4%. absolutely rediculas..... I do not work at SB or use LA as a money manager.  That fee says to me SMA.  Yes?

 
As far as B shares go, it just depends on how long they have had them. If its long enough well sell them, or if they are decent enough to hold onto then we can wait for them to convert. Some people might pay less to sell out now, rather than pay 2% per year for another 3 or 4 years....how do you not know this stuff?  What are you putting these people into.  Your own stock porfolios?  Class appropriate MF's?