Las Vegas: “I’ve listened to a few of your webinars on social prospecting,” started Shawn, a new advisor at a recent conference. “The concepts make sense and they are all solid ideas, my problem is that I’ve only been at this for a year and some of my prospects don’t feel I have enough experience. They ask tough questions, I fumble, and they all want to ‘think about it’. I don’t really see a way around this. ”
Shawn is frustrated and not alone as many of his peers face the same major issue. We get questions about this during almost every workshop we conduct for new advisors. They want to know how they can handle prospects that take issue with their lack of experience. Some advisors focus too much on their lack of inexperience or youth – ultimately limiting their activity and success.
From a prospects perspective, the idea of turning over their livelihood to a new advisor can be unnerving. The truth is that inexperience is a legitimate concern, but it is a concern that new advisors must accept and find ways to address. What we’ve found is that there are a few areas that new advisors can control to help deemphasize their youth and inexperience. We call these the P.L.U.S. factors for new advisors.
Professionalism encompasses everything from your handshake to your follow through. It should come across in the emails you send and the thank you notes you write. As a new advisor who is planning to succeed in this highly competitive industry, professionalism is a must. Think about the last time you were with a group of your peers (other new advisors). If you were to put yourself in the shoes of your prospect, in a matter of seconds you could probably rule out a few advisors you would never work with. There was something about them that disagreed with you - sloppy dress, talking too much, lack of eye contact, etc. Whatever factor it was, make sure you aren’t falling victim to the same pitfalls. The goal is to make a solid first impression and come across as an upstanding professional in your community. Professionalism isn’t just a 9-5. It’s being a consummate professional in everything that you do and taking pride in it.
Drop the filler words (‘um’ ‘like’) and knee-jerk college slang (‘awesome’, ‘sweet’ ‘totally’). These phrases litter new advisor conversations and the worst part - most of the time they are done subconsciously. The moment they are muttered a new or young advisor is exposed and their true identity revealed. Train yourself to replace them with words your prospect uses (replace “awesome” with “great”).
Refrain from using words like “affluent” or “high-net worth” when speaking with clients or prospects. The majority of affluent investors are self-made; they don’t consider themselves to be wealthy or affluent. Using this language only translates to one word for your prospect – salesy. Your language counts!
Understanding the Affluent
The affluent are a cynical and skeptical bunch. Appealing to their wants and needs is important to any advisor, but a necessity for new advisors. It’s important that you understand what they are looking for in a financial advisory relationship and what marketing tactics actually work. There are 16 criteria the affluent look for in a financial advisor. Making sure you are addressing these is vital to your success.
You should also understand how the affluent make major purchasing decisions. Remember, it’s all about word-of-mouth influence. Take the time to master your target market. In order to sell to the affluent, you must develop creative points of contact where you can rub shoulders with the affluent in social circles.
Selling in a world of intangibles requires that the prospect must rely on what’s asserted or implied to make a decision. Which is why, you are the product. This all comes from your ability to sell seamlessly – without coming across salesy. New advisors need to be able to clearly explain what they do, how they do it, and what differentiates them in the course of a natural conversation.
They must also be able to address those tough questions like Shawn was getting, “You seem pretty new at this, why should I work with you?” Whenever a new advisor is confronted with this type of question they should have a response prepared that leverages their prior experience, firm or team. For example… “I could understand how it might seem like I am new at this, however, I spent the first part of my career doing ____________, which gave me a great vantage point on the financial services industry.”
These P.L.U.S. factors are not the “end all be all”, but they are all within a new advisor’s control and can help to compensate for an advisors lack of experience or youth. We’ve found that advisors who really focus on these areas typically separate themselves from their peers and stereotypes associated with being young. Review these areas and make sure you are investing the time and energy to master them.