Turn awkward moments into future business

By Bryce Sanders | May 27, 2013 | Last updated on September 21, 2023
3 min read

You meet someone on a plane or at a wedding, and she asks what you do for a living. You tell her you’re a financial advisor. She replies, “I already have an advisor.” What do you say to that?

Read: Veterans’ advice for young advisors

Here are 10 options that can pave the way to new business.

1. The polite inquiry: I expected that—please tell me more. How long have you been working together? Which firm did you choose?”

Rationale: If she’s expecting a sales pitch, you’re taking the opposite approach by drawing her out and gathering information.

2. Get her talking: “What do you like best about your advisor? Would you recommend him? In what areas do you feel there’s room for improvement?”

Rationale: When a person tells you what she isn’t getting in a relationship, she’s also describing what she’s looking for. This can be helpful later when positioning yourself.

3. Multiple advisors: “Successful people usually have multiple advisory relationships. You’re obviously successful. How many do you have?”

Rationale: The Millionaire’s Advisor, by Russ Alan Prince and Brett Van Bortal, makes the point wealthy people often have three or more advisory relationships. Describing her as “successful” opens up the possibility of working with more than one.

Read: 10 tips for young advisors and associates

4. Setting the bar (1): “It’s been a difficult five years in the market. A lot of people are relying on their advisors for advice. If your advisor is there when you need him, answers your questions and returns calls quickly, that’s about as good as it gets.”

Rationale: You’ve set a standard. If she says great things about her advisor, she’s staying put. Negative comments mean future opportunity.

5. Setting the bar (2): “Its been a difficult five years, but the market finally recovered. Did your advisor stay in touch, keep you up to date and encourage you to invest as the market met milestones?”

Rationale: Investors know the market doubled from the low point. Did her advisor get her back in as conditions improved?

6. Qualifications: “I’m assuming he’s been in the business a while. What certifications does he hold?”

Rationale: Sometimes product licensing qualifications are minimal. Many advisors have earned professional certifications. Prospects with letters after their own names recognize the importance.

7. Frequency of contact: “We’ve been going though a difficult time in the market. How often has your advisor been in touch?”

Rationale: When clients leave a common complaint is the advisor never called.

8. Type of advisor: “I assume you mean you work with someone. Do you have a broker or an advisor?”

Rationale: Some investors work with a person who executes orders. They might trade through a discount firm. Others seek advice because investing isn’t their specialty. Draw them out.

9. Are you satisfied? “How’s he doing for you? Are you happy with the results?”

Rationale: The North American markets had good results in 2012 and are in positive territory in the first quarter of 2013. Has she been benefiting from positive market conditions?

10. Source: “These relationships are often long term. How did you find your advisor?”

Rationale: Some are closer than others. A recent walk-in client may have a weaker bond than a client whose family has worked with the same firm for generations.

Avoid obvious mistakes. Upon hearing the firm’s name, don’t ask: “Are they still in business?” or “What do they charge you?” And don’t second guess advice she was given.

Read: Teach young advisors to prospect

Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders is President of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. in New Hope, PA. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.com.