Seven Tips for Converting Prospects into Clients

December 23, 2014

by Dan Solin

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Many advisors are confused about how to best persuade a prospect to become a client. I fully understand why. The definition of “persuade” is to blame. It means “to move by argument, entreaty, or expostulation to a belief.”

Most of the advisors I encounter adopt this definition as a guide to their meetings with prospects. They marshal the many good arguments for retaining them and present the information in a powerful and convincing way.

Unfortunately, an overwhelming amount of research shows that following this protocol makes it less likely you will be successful. Here are seven evidence-based tips that may be far more effective:

Time is short

You have a remarkably short period of time to make a positive first impression. I have seen estimates ranging from a tenth of a second to four minutes. While there may be debate about the exact time it takes, there is general agreement that first impressions are made quickly. Soon after meeting you, your prospects decide whether or not you are the kind of person with whom they want to do business.

Few advisors plan for those critical moments. A lack of planning can doom your chances to convert the prospect into a client. You can find my previous articles on how to make a positive first impression here and here.

The importance of palm position

Allan Pease is a prolific author of books on communication and body language. If you haven’t seen his TED talk, I highly recommend it. Pease demonstrates how subtle changes in your hand gestures affect the way your message is received. Specifically, when you gesture to someone with your palms up, you are perceived as having authority and command. It is also a non-threatening gesture, rooted back to a time when it was necessary to show another person you had no weapons.

Conversely, if you gesture with your palms down or, worse still, by pointing, you are less likely to be perceived as friendly and non-threatening and more likely to be rejected.

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