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? What do you think about the recent volatility?”
Did your response progress the relationship? Or did it result in a circular conversation that led nowhere?
If you have the right sales skills, questions like these can lead to 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 we teach in our coaching program to help advisors handle these types of conversations. We refer to it as the A.R.M. Dialogue Model.
1. Acknowledge: Respond to their question and provide some insight.
Begin by answering their question and providing a macro-overview of the current market and economic environment.
“The recent volatility has definitely been a wake-up call for a lot people. On one hand, you have the government shutdown, trade tensions with China (insert additional timely commentary).
"On the other hand, our unemployment rate is hovering at a 50-year low (insert additional timely commentary).”
2. Re-direct: Pivot the conversation by making it about your clients.
Turn the focus away from your personal opinion. Instead, talk about how your clients are feeling right now.
“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—but they also want growth.”
3. Mini-Close: If you have your prospects’ attention, use an assumptive mini-close.
The next question 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 ask this question, wait for your prospect to respond. This is important—embrace the silence! You will have your prospect’s full attention and nine times out of 10 their response will be, “Sure.”
Next, 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.
If you haven’t grabbed a copy of our One-Page Business Plan Template, don’t wait. It’s only available for a limited time. In our opinion, your business objectives this year should be able to fit on one page.
@StephenBoswell is President of The Oechsli Institute and co-author of Best Practices of Elite Advisors. @KevinANichols is the Chief Operating Officer of The Oechsli Institute and co-author of The Indispensable LinkedIn Sales Guide for Financial Advisors.