Broker Check

9 Tips for Keeping the Conversation Going

July 09, 2019

These simple responses could turn acquaintances into clients

Been there. Done that. You meet a person at a party. They ask what you do. You answer, “I’m a financial advisor.” The word “advisor” has barely left your lips, and they reply, “I already work with an advisor.”

What now?

You could change the subject. But if you want to keep the door open, here are 9 ways you can keep the conversation going.

1. Establish yourself as the alternative. A food supplier uses this strategy with restaurant owners he meets socially. “I’m sure you’re happy with your current suppliers. Here’s my card. Please give me a call if anything changes.”

Why: Maybe they aren’t happy. You don’t know. Inertia keeps most people at their financial services firm. You’ve subtly changed the possibility from, “moving your money out to who knows where” to “moving your money in to work with me.” They keep the card.

2. Ask “How well has your advisor been doing for you lately?” Yes, investing is a long-term journey, but many clients think short term.

Why: Asking this question gets them thinking “Is my advisor on the ball? Are they paying attention to my stuff?”

3. Head them off at the pass. Logically, they aren’t going to interrupt you. When follow your introduction with, “You probably work with a financial advisor already,” you take the words out of their mouth. They will need to think of something else to say. Most likely it will be: “Yes, I do.”

Why: It moves the advantage in the conversation back to you.

Compliment their choice of advisors. Never be dismissive of the competition. People can get defensive and territorial. Being respectful establishes common ground. If they are dismissive or unimpressed with their firm, you have an opening.

Why: Most people want to be assured they made a good choice. You’ve seen servers do it in restaurants often.

Draw out the positives. The above strategies put you in position to gather information. Be sure to focus on the positives. Ask how long they’ve been with their advisor or what they like best about them.

Why: You want this person to like you or at least be agreeable to keeping the conversation going.

6. Ask if they would recommend their advisor. It’s likely you’ll get one of two possible responses – they would, or they wouldn’t. If they would recommend them, they will probably follow up with more reasons why. It sounds like they have a good relationship. They should keep it that way. But if they wouldn’t, they could be open to a change.

Why: You are doing the noble thing. If they have a good relationship, they should stick with it.

7. Identify the negatives. Suppose they wouldn’t recommend them? An advisor softly asks the question: “Why do you stay with them?” This is another opportunity to gather information. You might ask: “Where do you feel there’s need for improvement?”

Why: When someone tells you what they aren’t getting in a relationship, they’re usually telling you what they want.

8. If they say they multiple advisors, respond with,“Successful people usually have multiple advisory relationships.How many do you have?” This logic is supported by research from the 2003 book “The Millionaire’s Advisor” by Russ Alan Prince and Brett Van Bortel, which reveals high-net-worth people have three or more advisors on average.

Why: It’s almost as if you are giving them permission to have more than one advisor.

9. Ask “When was the last time you heard from your advisor?” You might mention in volatile markets you and your team try to meet with every client at least once every three months to review their holdings.

Why: You are introducing a standard of service then explaining how you deliver it.

“I already have an advisor” doesn’t need to be a conversation ender. Contact Iron Point for more ideas on how you draw people out without coming across as pushy or “salesy.”