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Top Five Reasons Advisors Blow a Sale

Most advisors have been trained as salespeople, making them tone deaf to the finer nuances of affluent sales.

Very few advisors are successfully acquiring affluent clients in today’s environment. The majority of today’s affluent already have an advisor, but our research shows that the majority also have enough dissatisfaction that they’d make a change if they encountered a superior alternative.

The challenge facing financial advisors is that the affluent are extremely discriminating, highly skeptical and don’t have much regard for salespeople. Unfortunately most advisors have unwittingly been trained as salespeople, making them tone deaf to the finer nuances of affluent sales.

At the Oechsli Institute, we track advisor results, both successes and failures. We’ve identified the top five reasons advisors blow a sale:

1. They’re too pushy. Many advisors have actually been trained to be this way. From the affluent perspective, pushiness can range from talking business too quickly to asking too many pointed questions, prematurely going into a sales pitch, etc. Year after year, “too pushy” is the top affluent complaint.

The Solution: Learn to be patiently urgent.

2. They talk too much. This can come off as annoying, and few affluent prospects will give an annoying advisor the time of day. In addition, a financial advisor who talks too much isn’t a good listener. Listening is an indispensable sales skill.

The Solution: Listening is the antidote.

3. They’re too scripted. The affluent have a very sensitive “sales alert” antenna, and they will pick up on a memorized script long before it’s been fully recited. Usually these scripts use industry jargon and fancy language, neither of which the affluent like. Rather than regurgitate a presentation word by word, take the time to understand the context, then make it conversational using your own words. 

The Solution: Be concise, conversational and confident.

4. They have no rapport. Being guilty of any of the first three complaints is a sign of a lack of rapport with your prospect; it’s all about you. But it should be all about them, which means being genuinely interested in them, which is how you develop rapport. The more you can get someone talking about themselves, the more they like you. Likability is a strong prerequisite for closing the sale.

The Solution: Focus on them.

5. They fail to establish trust. We’ve seen advisors lose a prospective affluent client, someone who came recommended by a friend, colleague or even another professional, because they assumed it was a done deal. They made the classic mistake; not taking time to connect on an emotional level. As a result, the first impression of competency and professionalism is tainted because of this lack of connecting on a personal level. This goes beyond developing rapport, as you can like someone and still have a seed of doubt regarding trust. One seed of doubt on this level leads to procrastination, which if it prevails will create a blown opportunity.

The Solution: Never assume, slow down and get personal.   

If you’re actively pursuing new affluent opportunities, put these solutions into practice, and the odds are that you’ll be seen as the superior alternative. Continue to refine your affluent-sales skills, and you will continue to meet your acquisition goals.


Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent

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