Skip navigation
Needy Advisors Have Skinny Kids

Needy Advisors Have Skinny Kids

While you might feel you are just being diligent, your prospect may feel you are being needy.

Zig Ziglar had a famous quote “Timid salesmen have skinny kids.”The same can be said about those who come across needy. If you come across like you need something, you are less likely to get it. 

In our business, you probably have asset or revenue hurdles on the horizon (especially if you are a new advisor).  You may actually need your prospects to say ‘yes’ and do business with you.  But if your prospect gets the impression that you need their business, you repel them.  Any hint of desperation makes people feel uneasy.  They begin making assumptions about why you are so determined to make them a client:


  • Do they desperately need business?
  • Do they focus on marketing and not service?
  • Are they just after my money?
  • Are they going to lose their job?
  • Can they actually manage money?


They just feel it in their gut.   Something isn’t sitting well.  All the more reason why it’s important that you maintain a position of strength and confidence. The following are a few tips to help you camouflage any needy tendencies. 


Focus on Who Matters Most

In their gem of a book, Go Givers Sell More, Bob Burg and John Mann discuss how to avoid appearing needy by focusing on your thoughts. 

“The only way you can succumb to the sense of feeling needy is when your focus is on yourself. So let’s ask ourselves a different question. The question before you is not whether you need this person to be interested in your MacGuffin (product or service); the question is, do they need your MacGuffin (produce or service)?”

Ask yourself this question: Does my prospect need what I provide? This forces you to focus on the prospect – not yourself.  Stop trying to close your prospect and instead focus on how you can provide value. 


Use Reverse Psychology

Another way to mask your need to bring in business is to drop subtle doses of reverse psychology during the discovery process with a prospect. This has two major benefits.  It improves your positioning and removes any pressure from the sales scenario.

For example, a phrase to use at the first meeting could be:

“We aren’t making any commitments today. Our objective is to see if 1) we can be of assistance and 2) we can have a good working relationship. We work very closely with our families so it’s important that we both feel we can work well together.”

The idea is to weave in small doses of reverse psychology to show you’re selective with your clientele, just as they are selective in choosing an advisor.

We know a new advisor who didn’t have two nickels to rub together and was under the gun to bring in new business. He would attend social meetings in Manhattan to meet new prospects and when asked what he did for a living he would respond, “I oversee the finances for some families in the area.” Then, as the conversation unfolded, he would work in the phrase, “At this point in time I’m not taking on any new clients.”  From his perspective “this point in time” referred to that exact moment having a cocktail and schmoozing with prospects.  Now, we’re not advocating that you start telling prospects you aren’t taking on new business.  But it’s a good example of reverse psychology and not appearing like you need business (even though he desperately needed new clients).  Oh, we should also mention he exceeded all assets and production hurdles.


Curb Your Prospect Follow-Up

Don’t get us wrong.  You should always follow-up with prospects.  But when building the foundation of a new relationship, don’t alienate your prospect by following up too aggressively and too frequently.  While you might feel you are just being diligent, your prospect may feel you are being needy.  Spread your follow up contacts out and make sure the purpose is a supportive gesture – not a high pressure close. 

These are just a few tips to help maintain a position of confidence with prospects. 


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

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.