The concept was simple . . . and still is today. It all boiled down to the fact that . . . the more you know about a prospect and their needs, the greater service performed and the greater the sale. We also found ourselves developing “clients” as opposed to customers. But why do advisors not perfect their “fact finding” skills?
I believe much of our failure in this exercise is due to the fact that we, along with the consumer, live in a world of “instant gratification.” We also tend to follow the leader or propose the concept of the day. Don’t get me wrong, many of our clients have had their assets improved by the simple movement to a product that provides more interest and/or a greater death benefit. But is that what they really wanted their money to do for them? Have they really thought about “How much money do I need . . . and what do I want my money to do for me?” Could this be the re-dawning of a time tested part of the sales cycle? Is there an opportunity to go back to the future? I think so.
Our prospects and clients are inundated with information. They receive most of their information in the form of sound bytes. When many consumers make a purchase they are not completely happy. Oh, they may feel they improved their situation but many times walk away not feeling satisfied. Hence, you have a customer that is open to the approaches of other advisors. This makes it more difficult to obtain repeat sales and quality referrals. We are doomed to spend more time and money going for “one off” sales.
So, what’s the first step? Allow me to close by suggesting you just ask the following two (2) questions prior to completing the client questionnaire:
- Mr./Mrs. Prospect, what do you feel that you need regarding your financial affairs and why do you feel you need it?
- What do you want to do during the balance of your life and how much money do you think you need to accomplish these goals?
Ladies and gentlemen, this will open up free-wheeling discussions regarding their money concerns and goals. Then, after completing the questionnaire, you will be in a much better position to propose solutions for today and plan for tomorrow. We all know that benefits sell better than features.
When the word gets out that you are truly addressing your clients needs, wants and desires, you will be positioning yourself as the “go to” person in your market. This is just another sub-section of service . . . caring. People want to do business with people that care about them.
Until next time ... Good Selling!
Raymond J. Ohlson, CLU, CRC
President & CEO
The Ohlson Group & SMP International, LLC