How to Politely Turn Down Clients that Do Not Fit Your Ideal Profile
As a financial advisor, your client base is critical to your individual success and that of your financial advising firm. The more clients you can bring on, the more fees you will be able to collect and the more people you can help achieve a successful retirement. However, taking on clients just to add to your client roll is never a good idea. You need to have a process for determining which clients are an ideal fit, and how to politely decline those who do not fit those parameters.
With a proper means of saying “no thank you” to prospective clients that do not fit your mold, you will be able to save time and energy on clients that can become potential problems in the future. This is often easier said than done, so here is some helpful information on saying “no” to those clients that are not a good fit.
It Falls Outside Your Expertise
Investopedia notes that one of the biggest mistakes financial advisors make, especially early on, is taking on anyone and everyone as a client. Scarcity of clients should never be a motivating factor to find new clients. When you are simply taking on clients to have a higher number of clients, you run the risk of taking on bad clients.
One of the best things you can tell a potential client in rejection is that their needs do not match your skill set. You can advise them to look for someone with experience in a particular financial strategy, and then offer them some helpful referrals on financial advisors.
You Do Not Have the Resources
No two financial advisors, or advising firms, are exactly the same. Some individuals might work for larger firms, and independent representatives of a brand might not have the resources to assist clients with higher wealth and/or more intricate demands in their financial investing.
For these clients, it is best to inform them that you simply do not have the resources to help deliver the financial goals they have in mind. You can soften the blow by offering to help them with certain services that would fit their needs, and consider referring them to another financial advisor for those services you cannot provide.
My Client Load is Currently Full
This should come across as a simple reason, but telling your potential clients that you do not have time for them at the moment is a strong reason for turning down work. If you cannot devote the proper amount of time and attention to your clients, it is their finances, along with your reputation, that will suffer in the end. Again, recommend some other financial advisors with room for new clients.
If nothing else, Investopedia notes that financial advisors with a client load that is too full do not take enough time off for themselves. This can result in unhealthy lifestyles, and studies have shown a direct correlation between your health and wellbeing, and your performance on the job.
Your Skills are not a Good Match
You can begin by asking a potential client what their financial goals are, and once they answer, you may find very quickly that their desires for their financial future do not match your skill set. By highlighting your areas of expertise in financial advising and contrasting them with the goals of the client, you can point out clearly and reasonably to them that the two just do not matchup. Once again, you can ease the drop for your client by recommending some advisors you know who would provide a better match in this area.
In the end, take careful consideration before you say no to a client. You will want to be sure that you truly do not want the individual in question as a client. Although it is difficult to say no, being clear and concise with a client about why you are saying no provides them with honest communication that will be appreciated in the end. For more information, please contact Trust Performance Coaching.
How Can I Close More Business, More Consistently?
All financial advisors have struggles at times closing business deals with prospective or current clients from time to time. The question for many is, why does this happen? You may find yourself wondering whether it is something about your approach to closing, or is the problem coming from your clients end. Perhaps they were tentative about financial investing strategies and unwilling to pull the trigger, or maybe your approach failed to convince them. There is no point wasting time beating yourself up over it; instead, consider these tips to help you close more business on a consistent basis.
Make a Good First Impression
They say first impressions are everything, and that counts in the professional world just as much as your social interactions with other people. Before you meet with a prospective client, send them a packet with valuable information to help prepare them for a first meeting. This should offer directions on exactly what they can do in advance to prepare, and include a professional business card so they can easily contact you with questions if needed.
Additionally, be sure to establish a positive presence online. AdvisorWebsites notes that 97% of consumers perform online research before making any kind of purchasing decision, so you can be certain they will be using Google to research your financial advising group before even meeting with you. Make sure your online presence conveys a highly professional, credible persona that is unique to you and suited to your market.
Hold a Brief First Meeting
This meeting is the most important meeting you will hold with a prospective client because it builds upon your first impression mailers, and allows you a chance to present yourself and your advising brand to the client in person. The sole objective of this meeting is to get them to move on to a second, in-depth meeting (which you should hold for free). Most importantly though, CNN Money notes this meeting should be brief. Keep it to 45 minutes, or one hour at a maximum.
As you move the conversation in this first meeting toward the concept of a second meeting, inform them that during that second meeting you will be able to provide a layout of the costs of working with you on their financial investing goals. After the meeting, do not forget to send a thank you card to follow up after the first meeting, complete with a business card and reminder of the date for your second meeting.
Time for a Second Meeting
This meeting should start with a thank you. Thank your potential client for taking the time to come meet with you again to learn more about working with your brand. Start by asking them if they have any questions leading into the meeting, and give them your analysis of those questions and their situation using any information you gathered during the initial meeting.
In this second meeting, you should guide the conversation without becoming too pushy, or aggressive, in attempting to gain their business. Offer to schedule a third meeting, and if they seem hesitant, do not take it personally. Give them your business card again and let them know that you will give them a few days to think it over, and call them to see how they would like to proceed.
Assuming you have successfully landed some new clients following this process, it is time to have them fill out all the necessary paperwork. After everything has been completed, you can set a meeting schedule with your clients for regular check-ins. You should be meeting with clients at least every 6 months to inform them of their progress on financial investments and gauge their feelings on their investing progress to date as well.
If nothing else sticks from this post, remember this: always use gratitude. You attract more bees with honey than vinegar, so be sure to be gracious and understanding of the attitudes and decisions of your prospective clients. For more information, please contact Trust Performance Coaching.
How Can I Quickly Build a Bigger Prospect Pipeline So it Flows?
“The problem is that I get consumed closing some really big deals and wake up one day with no solid prospects in the pipeline,” Jim told me when started working together. “Then it’s 3 lean months before I’ve got minimal cash flow again. He’s not alone. The question facing most businesses is:
“How can I quickly build up that pipeline with a steady flow of customers?”
Understand the Buyer’s Journey
If you want to fill your pipeline in the first place, you need to understand their C.R.O.P.S. (Challenges, Risks, Opportunities, Priorities and Strategy). For starters, you would guestimate/profile their likely C.R.O.P.S. so you can start a productive conversation. You might open with a relevant insight of a brick wall or problem they’re likely to face if they remain on their current path. Or you might ask a power question and hope they’re willing to open up to you. If they can clearly define their challenge, then you’re late to the party: they’ve likely developed an idea of how they plan to address their dilemma. Thanks to the internet and the plethora of blogs, prospects are 57% along the buying process before they engage a sale person/solution provider. So you’ve got to find out whether they perceive they have a problem and then where they are in the decision process.
The initial contact is everything. You have to do your homework before you approach them. RFPs are reactionary. The successful sale pro of the future must be proactive. “Selling” in the future may be relegated to the internet or a sales desk and become transactional. Consultative selling, especially of complex products/services, must be done by skilled people. So once you’re clear on your Ideal Client and Minimum Acceptable Client, you must
Think of your prospects as customers-in-the-making.
Establish Metrics for Each Stage of the Pipeline
A key factor in not only building a pipeline of prospective customers, but also maintaining a steady flow, is the use of metrics at each stage of the pipeline. Track the number of different prospects and potential dollar volume in each stage. And where are they in your relationship journey: Qualified prospect? Discovery completed? Solution presented? Decision made? Solution being implemented?
Match Sales and Marketing Techniques to the Buyer Journey
As just mentioned, no good product or sales deal works without understanding what type of customer fits that mold and how to get them involved. Your marketing techniques need to effectively move customers from stage one to stage two in your pipeline by figuring out what it is they are looking for. Once you’ve discovered that, you can improve your marketing techniques and your conversational strategy and skills to boost flow through your pipeline. I find in coaching my clients that the biggest gap lies in their conversational skills. This is where an experienced coach can transform your business and provide a ROI that is multiples of your investment in improving your skills. Experience is an expensive teacher. The right coach will accelerate your learning journey and provide vital in-the-moment feedback through practice before your big presentation.
Fix Leaky Parts of the Pipeline
Every pipeline is capable of becoming bogged down with bottlenecks. There are many reasons for bottlenecks in your pipeline, such as having a lot of customers flowing in but spending too much time on administration to actually get them moving through the process. Find the bottlenecks first and then work on improving them one item at a time.
You can find cracks in your funnel as well as where you are moving customers from stage one, to stage two, but perhaps losing them before stage three. In many cases, a lack of consistent follow-ups leads to customers falling through the cracks in your pipeline. Building an effective prospect pipeline requires diligence and consistent monitoring to ensure that bottlenecks are cleared, cracks are filled, and most importantly that your conversational strategy and skills are helping answer the wants and needs of your potential customers without potential hurdles to conversion.
Is your pipeline lumpy? Is your cash flow erratic? Are you converting over 40% of your presentations into closed business? Are your margins preserved or are you nitpicked by the customer by scope creep? Are you succinctly stating how your solution precisely solves their stated need?
Whatever happened to Jim and his pig-in-a-python-pipeline problem? We fixed it. 2016 was his best year ever. With consistent cash flow.
How can I quickly build a bigger pipeline that flows consistently? Know your Ideal Client Profile. Measure each segment of your pipeline. Be disciplined to regularly coddle each segment of your pipeline. Improve your communication skills of listening and persuasion.
For more information on how, please contact Trust Performance Coaching.