BIG prospect

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Nov 2, 2005 10:09 am

Help me all of you experienced folks.  Had my first great meeting with a prospect.  Upwards of $1m to invest.  They were very responsive to me and positive about a follow up meeting.  They are at Fidelity and not getting the help they want.  I need this account.  Any advice?  Of course, I talked about asset allocation and the other stuff, BUT what will knock them out?  Thanks.

Nov 2, 2005 10:43 am
maybeeeeeeee:

Help me all of you experienced folks.  Had my first great meeting with a prospect.  Upwards of $1m to invest.  They were very responsive to me and positive about a follow up meeting.  They are at Fidelity and not getting the help they want.  I need this account.  Any advice?  Of course, I talked about asset allocation and the other stuff, BUT what will knock them out?  Thanks.


1 million on the GMAC pass line! Just kidding.


Stop talking investmenteze and start talking familyeze. What's important to this client? How can you help this client with what's important to them. Listen, don't talk.


Let them know that they will find advisors who are smarter than you are, better dressed and better looking, but they will never find an advisor who cares more about their family than you do( Nick Murray). And mean it. Show them the premium service that you offer to clients. If you want to know how to offer premium service let us know and we'll show you a few things that you can add to your practice. If you can't deliver on any of this then move on.


Don't forget to close them. Assuming you are competent on the investment side you shouldn't have any problem showing this prospect that you are worth hiring.


If you close and miss, repeat the process that got you in front of this prospect to begin with. If one million dollar prospect is good, having 800 million dollar prospects is better. Work to get to that number and soon enough we'll be asking you how to handle the meetings. Good luck.

Nov 2, 2005 11:15 am

Lots of possible approaches, but if it were me (for what I assume will be your first substantive meeting) I'd take a planning approach and use that meeting to find out their primary objectives, gather data, etc.  The probable reason for their complaint about Fidelity is that they're just getting product and not coordinated advice.


Tell them the purpose of that meeting is purely to let you interview them to learn about them so that you'll be prepared to appropriately address their needs.  Tell them that it'd be irresponsible for you or for anyone to suggest an investment direction without going through this process -- like a doctor won't prescribe a drug or surgery without an examination.  Let them know that the first meeting will take an hour or so of their time.


When you meet, set the stage again for the purpose of the meeting -- that you'll be interviewing them to learn about their current financial situation, their goals, objectives & dreams as it relates to their finances, etc.  You won't be recommending any action at that time. And that from that information you will have a second meeting to discuss your findings.  This will manage their expectations and will take away any apprehensions they may have that you'll be trying to sell them something.


You're relatively new at Raymond James, right?  Use the fact finding questionnaires from the Financial Planning department, like the one for the Investment Planning software. Don't just have them fill in the blanks -- rather, interview them while you complete the questionnaire.  Where it's appropriate, use your own words to form a question to get an answer rather than just reading the question from the form.  Engage them in conversation, don't just fire questions at them (although in some cases when it comes to the risk tolerance questions you'll need to keep close to the questionnaire format).  They may ask you specific questions about their investments or strategies they've heard about and/or you may be tempted to suggest obvious solutions during this meeting -- don't do it!  Just beg the question, again reminding them that you'll address everything fully when after you've had a chance to analize everything. 


Thank them for their time and set a date for the follow-up meeting when you'll have everything ready at that time.  Send them a brief letter again thanking them for their time and reminding of the next appointment.  Have your assistant call them the day before the meeting again to confirm.


As you probably know, the software will produce an "Investment Planning Statement" (like an investment policy statement) and that'll be the first thing you cover at that second meeting & get their concurrence that it's accurate.  You'll then be able to go into the meat of the asset allocation recommendations, get their concurrence that this makes sense, and then tell them the next step is to open their account(s) and transfer assets, and have everything ready to do that right then & there.


I think you're with RJ&A, so at the first or follow-up meeting you might introduce them to your Branch Manager.  Nothing long, just a brief time so that (since you're a rookie) they realize there's more than just you involved.


If you detect any hesitancy on their part to move forward, if they have $1mm or more of investable assets you can invite them for a "BIO" visit to St. Pete.  As you know, that's cost free and will give them the opportunity to see the meat of the firm, including even a meeting with Tom James.


You CAN get this account!  The process is not a quick one, but for an affluent investor who's probably already disappointed with the product sales approach, you'll be a breath of fresh air to them.  Your approach will be very professional, thoughtful, and "process" driven, rather than product driven.

Nov 2, 2005 11:22 am

Mayb (e to the tenth power),


Awesome!!!! I agree, find out there concerns, "I talk to alot of people who have Fidelity accounts, what is your biggest concern about having your money with them?" Lately, the more I speak about the relationship going forward.....What they can expect from me, what my service looks like,...how I work with clients...the more I see there comfort level increase. Find out if fees are a concern with them, and explain how your service may actually not cost any more than what they are at Fidelity. I always fit into the conversation, that -- I will not invest your money in anything that can not be transferred or liquidated. If after 12 months, you don't feel like I have given you the service you expected....then you should fire me. Of course I am not going to build a very good practice by losing clients,...so, I will work very hard to keep you happy.


Good Luck - approach them as if they are already on board.


I used to think...don't get excited until they have there account with you....but, I get depressed enough if they don't come over.....so I may as well enjoy the up moments while they are showing interest .

Nov 2, 2005 11:26 am

"If you detect any hesitancy on their part to move forward, if they have $1mm or more of investable assets you can invite them for a "BIO" visit to St. Pete.  As you know, that's cost free and will give them the opportunity to see the meat of the firm, including even a meeting with Tom James."


Wow, a prosepct gets all that with a million? What happens if they have 5 million, do they get to play with buttons and run the mutual fund trades for the day?

Nov 2, 2005 11:30 am

Discuss and reinforce your service model. At Fidelity, there are NOT getting consistent, relaible service. Talk about your review process and follow up. OUr team produces quarterly reviews that are ewither reviewed by phone. Twice a year we meet for in person reviews and try to offer additional services or capture more assets, and once a year we conduct a comprehensive review by showing our financial planning software and how their situation has changed during the past 12 months. (A unique idea is to then take the client to dinner immediately afterwards and have them invite a friend/ family member/colleague to meet us at the restaurant.) Again, stress the service and that will go a long way in differrentiating yourself from Fidelity, Schwab, TD, Vanguard, etc.

Nov 2, 2005 11:50 am

You all have such great advice and I have read every word.  Stay tuned as my follow up meeting is scheduled for two weeks out.


Service, service, service.  I got your message.  And the BIO visit.


It is great to be at RayJay

Nov 2, 2005 12:29 pm

Maybeeeeeee-


When you move that account, then you should move over to a real firm like Merrill....

Nov 2, 2005 12:53 pm
blarmston:

"If you detect any hesitancy on their part to move forward, if they have $1mm or more of investable assets you can invite them for a "BIO" visit to St. Pete.  As you know, that's cost free and will give them the opportunity to see the meat of the firm, including even a meeting with Tom James."


Wow, a prosepct gets all that with a million? What happens if they have 5 million, do they get to play with buttons and run the mutual fund trades for the day?



Blarm, I guess because Merrill doesn't give you the opportunity to do this type of things with clients your only possible response is to laugh it off.  It's this type of personal hand's-on service & support at a firm like RJ that led me away from the wirehouse pack.  I have nothing really against Merrill -- it's a fine firm for a wirehouse.  But, it's still just a wirehouse!

Nov 2, 2005 7:48 pm

If you get their account, ask for referrals. Chances are, they moved to Fidelity because someone they knew was also a Fidelity client.


If you don't get the account, ask for referrals. What could it hurt?

Nov 2, 2005 8:20 pm

"Blarm, I guess because Merrill doesn't give you the opportunity to do this type of things with clients your only possible response is to laugh it off.  It's this type of personal hand's-on service & support at a firm like RJ that led me away from the wirehouse pack.  I have nothing really against Merrill -- it's a fine firm for a wirehouse.  But, it's still just a wirehouse!"


Actually, if the client is big enough, we can take them to our private wealth banking dept in Beverly Hills to show them the operation. I can guarantee that it is the most awe inspiring place, run by the cream of the crop... After touring the facility and gaining a better understanding of the complexity needed to manage wealth, I can guarantee the prospect is signing his name on ACATS to move money from a solid, BUT SECOND TIER, firm like Ray J. Lets be honest, Ray J in terms of sheer capability just does NOT compare to the ML, SB, and UBS's of the world.


Doberman- thats definately good advice because typically the no-load types tend to run in groups, and where you can get one, you may be able to generate some solid referrals.

Nov 2, 2005 9:09 pm

At the least, change the BD so that you are dealer of record.

Nov 2, 2005 10:14 pm

Nog- Cant do that. If the prospect was invested in Fidelity Advisor funds that would be a slam dunk, but since they are investing through Fidleity's no load channel, you cannot B/D change it.


One more point to make is the ability to diversify the account not only by asset allocation but by providing the prospect with multiple investment management companies ( whether it's SMA managers, mutual funds, etc). Right now, the client is invested all in Fidelity funds. They are good at some things ( FA Diversified Internatoinal is great, but their LC Growth funds are horrible, etc, etc) but not the best at others. Convey to them "best of the best", instead of all your assets with one fund company.

Nov 2, 2005 10:16 pm

One more thing= people may say that you are doing your client a disservice by spreading the money around to differing firms. Yes, you may save money on breakpoints, exchanges within the funds, etc, but I will guarantee that any marginal savings there is wiped out by investing w/ one family versus the top talent for each discipline... Done, time to go home and drink an Amstel.

Nov 2, 2005 11:34 pm

That's my vote also...why stay in the same family when you can hire an all-star lineup and wrap it up?!!

Nov 3, 2005 8:22 am

Right on Blarm & Indy - It's common sense that fund families have there strong points. Pick and choose the family that excells at the spaces you are trying to fill.

Nov 3, 2005 11:46 am
blarmston:

"Blarm, I guess because Merrill doesn't give you the opportunity to do this type of things with clients your only possible response is to laugh it off.  It's this type of personal hand's-on service & support at a firm like RJ that led me away from the wirehouse pack.  I have nothing really against Merrill -- it's a fine firm for a wirehouse.  But, it's still just a wirehouse!"


Actually, if the client is big enough, we can take them to our private wealth banking dept in Beverly Hills to show them the operation. I can guarantee that it is the most awe inspiring place, run by the cream of the crop... After touring the facility and gaining a better understanding of the complexity needed to manage wealth, I can guarantee the prospect is signing his name on ACATS to move money from a solid, BUT SECOND TIER, firm like Ray J. Lets be honest, Ray J in terms of sheer capability just does NOT compare to the ML, SB, and UBS's of the world.



That's the same that happens with RJ, but we're actually putting the client in our corporate HQ and directly meeting with senior management, our financial planning department, our trust company, etc., not some local regional office.  What's the minimum assets to go to the regional office?  Do you have to share anything with the reps in the wealth management branch if the prospect becomes a client (i.e., what's in it for them)?


You really need to better understand RJ before you make those "not compare" with the wirehouses and "second tier" comments.  I've been both with in wirehouses (first licensed with ML many years ago) and now with RJ, so I know first-hand the differences. Sure, there are some areas that Merrill may have that we don't, some potentially beneficial (greater personal/business banking services, greater name recognition) some potentially bad (tons of proprietary product, call centers, huge leaning toward investment banking).  But, for most retail clients/reps RJ has everything they need in a full service firm.  RJ has no interest in becoming a Merrill or any wirehouse; our overwhelming focus is on retail advisors (as our clients) and the retail clients they serve.  And, we compete very well against the wirehouses you mention -- certainly in recruiting against them, but also in attracting clients to our advisers.  One example, would be ACATs received vs ACATs delivered this past year:  2 to 1 in favor of RJ over Merrill, 2.6 to 1 over SB, 6.6 to 1 over UBS.  RJ must be doing something right!


I didn't mean for this thread to get diverted to this discussion, but I couldn't be silent after you started it.  Merrill's a fine firm and I'm glad you're happy there.  But, don't drink the wirehouse Koolaid and assume that non-wirehouse firms like RJ are "second tier" when it comes to serving retail clients & retail reps.  Learn before you opine.

Nov 3, 2005 12:04 pm

Duke,


Good post... I like an intelligent response to my attempts to rile you up..... Like it has been stated before- all the mainstream firms are very similar, all with their pros and cons...

Nov 3, 2005 1:46 pm

Back to the subject at hand.


 Is the money Non qualified or qualified?


Think about taxes on a million dollars invested in an open end fund and capital gains/losses distribution time is just around the corner!   

Nov 3, 2005 3:26 pm

Thats a good point. I have some significant cash positions that are waiting to be deployed until after the cap gains has been disitributed. Granted, its on a case by case situation, but a client would not be happy if they have pwned a fund for 2 months and they receive a nice tax bill early next year.