frustrated-business-man

It’s frustrating.

You’ve spent hours crafting your pitch; your staff’s briefed; you wear your lucky suit. During the meeting, everything goes according to plan. But the prospect doesn’t sign.

It’s comforting to assume his financial circumstances changed or his sister convinced him to choose another advisor. But it’s also worth scrutinizing your approach.

Read: Charm wealthy prospects

That’s not easy; most clients don’t tell you why they walk away. Let’s look at an example from the technology industry.

Last fall, Andrew Sobel, a New York-based business relationship specialist, received a letter from a CFO explaining why he didn’t award a technology contract to Sobel’s client. He published that letter on his blog.

There were three reasons the client didn’t win; turns out, they’re also common advisor mistakes:

  1. You didn’t listen

    Spend the majority of the meeting asking questions, not flaunting your credentials. It’s only after getting the answers that you should explain how your knowledge can help achieve goals.

    Read: The prospect conversion

    Sobel’s client didn’t heed that lesson, and the CFO wasn’t impressed.

    “It’s boring listening to firms talk about their history, rankings, proprietary approaches, and so on—unless it’s directly relevant to a problem I have to solve,” he wrote.

  2. You didn’t convey your value

    Sure, you talk about asset allocation and liquidity every day, but your prospects don’t. Give your pitch in plain language.

    And don’t use crutch phrases like “You need a plan” that don’t actually mean anything. The CFO told Sobel, “The [winning company] didn’t promise to share insights—they did, in every meeting.”

    Read: Six reasons a prospect will choose you

    As we say in journalism: Show, don’t tell.

  3. You took the business for granted

    Never assume a referral’s an easy sell. Sobel’s client had done work for the CFO’s company in the past and figured the contract was in the bag. As a result, “[The company] treated the pitch like a courtesy meeting to get out of the way, rather than an important encounter with someone whose trust it had to earn,” he wrote.

    While you’re at it, treat each prospect like she’s already a client by doing commensurate research.

    As the CFO said, “The winner made a huge investment in understanding our business. They met with as many of our senior executives as we would allow; they interviewed some of our customers; they bounced lots of ideas off us.”

Read: Setting a prospect at ease

Avoid these mistakes, and you’ll be closer to turning prospects into clients. That’s important, because as your clients spend the assets they’ve built, replenishing your book will become critical.

The only solution is new clients. So don’t let preventable errors trip you up.

Originally published in Advisor's Edge

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