A Simple Technique to Convert More Prospects into Clients

May 6, 2014

by Dan Solin

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Your prospect has an agenda. She needs help managing her money. She also requires comprehensive financial planning. You know nothing else about her, except she fits the profile of a perfect client for your advisory firm. She has agreed to have an initial meeting with you.

You want her as a client. You are prepared to present all the reasons why she should retain your services. Of course, you will engage in the usual chitchat about the weather and her family.

But you are impatient. You are waiting for the opportunity to pounce, gauge her reaction and (hopefully) add her assets to those you already manage.

There’s a better way. To become great at converting prospects into clients, remember these words: Ask questions.

Taking consultative selling to another level

An entire consulting industry has been built around a concept called “consultative selling.” This approach, which became prominent in the early 1970s, consists of eliciting information from prospective clients to determine their needs and then recommending a product or service that meets those needs. When you engage in consultative selling, you shift your focus away from “making the sale” and toward meeting the needs of the customer.

By asking questions and listening carefully to the responses, you get a complete understanding of the needs of your prospect. In many cases, understanding those needs will result in a new client. When it doesn’t, you can still provide value by directing your prospect elsewhere or giving advice.

My research takes “asking questions” to another level.

Your goal is not to craft a presentation responsive to the prospect’s needs. In fact, in most instances, you should never make a presentation at all. Instead, ask questions and listen intently to the responses.

Here are some ways to frame those critical questions.

Tips for asking questions

Asking the right questions, at the right time, requires study, skill and experience. It is surprisingly difficult because it is so counterintuitive. Our brains are programmed to take center stage. We believe that what we are saying is more important than what we are hearing.

But this is a fundamental misunderstanding.

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