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'May I Make a Suggestion?'

'May I Make a Suggestion?'

Think about the last time you were at a local networking group, board meeting, or country club and a potential prospect asked you…  

What’s going on with the markets? Aren’t we due for a correction soon?”

Did your remarks progress the relationship? Or was it a circular conversation that led nowhere?

If you have the right sales skills, questions like these can become business opportunities. It’s just a matter of re-directing the conversation.  Don’t let this be a question and answer session – seamlessly hook your prospect.  The following are three simple steps that one of our veteran coaches, Mike Abramson, shared with over 150 advisors at our most recent workshop.  We’re now sharing this gem with you…


1.     It’s not about you; it’s about your clients.  When it’s your turn to express your opinion, turn the focus away from you personally. Instead, talk about how your clients are feeling right now. 

“No one has a crystal ball.  On one hand, you have the debt issues here in the US, changes in the healthcare system, issues with Russia and Ukraine – and on the other hand you have three trillion in assets on the sidelines.

What we’ve been doing with our clients is sitting down with them on a regular basis, looking at their goals, and making sure they are positioned properly. Our clients want safe harbor – preservation of assets –they also want growth.”



2.     Gain commitment and get their attention.

The next phrase is your magic bullet to hooking your prospect. It’s a question that elicits an easy “yes” from your prospect.    

“May I make a suggestion?”

After you use this phrase, wait for your prospect to respond.  This is important - embrace the silence!  You will have your prospect’s full attention and nine out of ten times, their response will be “sure.”


3.     Use an assumptive mini-close.

Next, we use an assumptive close for a social business meeting – we don’t ask for their commitment again.  They already agreed when we asked “May I make a suggestion?”  Now, we go for a quick close.

“Let’s grab coffee next week.  Let’s sit down and talk about what’s important for you and your spouse financially, and allow me to be a sounding board.”


Armed with the right sales skills, we can quickly turn everyday conversations with prospects into legitimate business opportunities.  Also, don’t forget your rhythm and pacing when using this – it needs to be relaxed and confident. 



Stephen Boswell and Kevin Nichols are thought-leaders with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry.  @StephenBoswell  @KevinANichols

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