In competitive sales situations in wealth management, there’s a force out there to be reckoned with and it’s not about you or your firm. It’s not about the markets, and it’s certainly not about the lack of “wealth”. So what’s happening?
Financial professionals need to realize that anyone worth working with is likely engaging another advisor. In a way you want that – you want a prospect that sees the value of advice and thought partnership. More good news, many investors are mildly satisfied with their current advisor.
But it’s the negative perceptions around change that’s slowing the sales process down or stalling it altogether. Some see too much effort in locating statements, consolidating accounts or learning a new platform and user interface. Others fear the time it will take to educate another advisor on their affairs. Some just hate change. Period. So we de-veloped a diagnostic for assessing and working with prospects based on their appetite for change. For simplicity’s sake (and for a little fun) we’ve labeled these change types as five animals: The tiger, the eager beaver, the wise owl, the chicken and the alligator.
This prospect is excited by new and innovative developments in investing. They see change as opportunity rather than a risk. They ask inquisitive and challenging questions based on their own research.
Questions to assess if you’re working with a Tiger:
- What information do you like to have access to when making important financial decisions?
- How did you become so proficient in your knowledge of markets and investing?
- Where should your advisor to fit into your investment decision-making process?
- They are ready to move quickly and have no interest in kick-offs or group events
- Build on their desire for change by being excited during your communications
- Send them agenda’s, reports and topical research before first meetings and follow-up
- Don’t tell them how your approach can help them – ask them, because they’ve done their own research and like to show it off
POINT: These are great clients to work with. Keep them informed, keep your commitments, and maintain a good information flow. They are low maintenance and will remain relatively loyal.
THE EAGER BEAVER
The eager beaver is excited by new and beneficial solutions and will eagerly be a proponent to their contacts. They’re often the first to adopt new ideas and will share their knowledge and insights with others.
Questions to assess if you’re working with an Eager Beaver:
- What gets you most excited about having a plan for your financial future?
- Can you share with me something new that you’ve added to your method of investing over the past year or two?
- What information, training, or resources would you like to be involved in over the life of your relationship with your advisor?
- They’re excited about being first to do something new and exciting – emphasize that they’ll be a thought leader among their peers
- Provide them with information and training – they’ll take advantage of all you offer
- Ask them for their endorsement and referrals to other prospect’s
- Have them stand up at your educational events and tell their story
POINT: Eager Beavers are your de facto salesforce so fully educate them on your process so they can accurately communicate it to others. Keep the idea flow rich.
THE WISE OWL
This prospect is willing to change with good reason. At the outset they see more risk than opportunity in change. They’re cautious about change and need time to think and deliberate.
Questions to assess if you’re working with a wise owl:
- What type of research do you like to do before making big decisions, ones with a significant financial implication?
- Who do you like to consult with when making such decisions? Do you have a thinking partner or two that you trust?
- What information, training, or resources would you like a firm to provide you over the life of their relationship with you?
- Stress the benefits of the process to the prospect
- Keep communication clear and straightforward
- Stay in constant but not oppressive communication-six to seven touches over 90 days
- Share success stories frequently
- Encourage their involvement with Eager Beavers (attend events or joint calls)
- Don’t push too quickly
POINT: This change type is highly analytical, which provides a great opportunity
to inform and educate. There is comfort in the details for this change type.
Chicken’s are fearful and skeptical of change and will not change until it is proven and the majority of their peers have done so. The more you try to convince them, the more they will resist.
Questions to assess if you’re working with a chicken:
- When thinking about investing, whose opinion do you trust the most before making a decision?
- Can you think of a significant change that you’ve made in your life recently? How did you go about it?
- What value would you place on speaking with some of my existing clients who were in a similar situation to yours?
- Provide them with consistent, repeated information about your platform and process
- Give them regular updates on progress
- Provide solid business AND personal reasons to make a change
- Provide opportunities for them to connect with Eager Beavers
POINT: If you have good research at your fingertips combined with solid testimonials, the Chicken can be a valuable prospect.
This prospect is very alluring. They have asset levels that make them attractive and they are receptive to meeting. But their theory is, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” and will work to refute your claims and the elements of your approach. Alligators despise change and will adopt only when it becomes the standard.
Questions to assess if you’re working with an alligator:
- What metrics or gut feeling do you use to determine if your investments are performing as you expect?
- Picking an advisor to work with is a big decision. How did you go about that process with the person you’re currently working with?
- What consequences would you like to avoid given your age and goals for retirement?
- Alligators will look for ways disturb your approach and possibly distort the facts
- Don’t ignore their resistance, but consistently and repeatedly state the consequences of NOT changing
- Don’t spend time and energy trying to convince them of the merits of changing
POINT: You may be tempted to work with the Alligator, especially if he or she has sizable assets or engages in serious debate that feels like interest. Be aware that change means loss to the Alligator, and you may wind up spinning your wheels with a prospect that will never commit.
Have any other thoughts on change and its impact on closing? Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.