SCORE Small Business Blog

Marketing: Sales Tips Part 3
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Make Sure Prospects are a Fit for Your Business

Zachary Karr and Joe Pessetto, Financial Advisors with Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, felt stuck with their financial advisory business. They had a full roster of clients but found they were working so hard; they had no time left to grow their practice. So they took a step back and analyzed their time log and client list. They found that 80% of their clients were generating only about 20% of their sales, but taking over 90% of their time. They decided to take a radical step to get them out of their current rut and onto a new growth path. They transitioned their majority of clients to other advisors or do-it-yourself solutions that better aligned with their needs.

Zach and Joe then clearly defined their ideal client (the remaining 20%) and the elements that made their working relationship so mutually beneficial. They wanted to connect with clients on a personal level and invest in a long-term meaningful relationship. They had learned from past experience that philosophical and/or personality differences could lead to later relationship problems – for clients and for them. They designed, therefore, a sales process (FIT) that quickly helped qualify upfront which prospects would make great clients:

  • The first meeting, Zach and Joe clearly tell the prospect to leave behind their financial data, and their checkbook. They spend the time walking the individual or couple through a series of questions meant to uncover a complete client picture. The process itself communicates a client focus, thoroughness and uncovers any “red flags” up front.
  • They ask, “Why do you want to change from your current advisor?” – to ensure they will not repeat the mistake, or get into a pure price battle. (Not surprisingly, Zach and Joe find that people leave financial advisors, not for poor investment picks, but because they felt they were not listened to, or proactively informed of changes.)
  • Zach and Joe then present all their fees upfront as well as their schedule and process for client reviews and communications. Prospects get a clear picture of the process and value they will receive in engaging their services.
  • Contrary to what many “sales closers” advise, Zach and Joe will not accept a check or signed agreement at this initial meeting. Instead they ask the potential client to take 48 hours to think about the decision. They are looking for long-term client relationships where there is a fit in goals, and personalities. They have found that this step helps the client feel confident in his or her decision and also allows Zach and Joe to keep their client list, and service level, of highest quality.

Your Next Best Three Steps?:

1)      Be Picky in Selecting New Clients. What are the characteristics of your best clients? What are the characteristics of the clients that drag you down? Describe the first with as much detail as possible

2)      Design and Communicate Your Game Plan. Spend the time to design, and then put on paper, the process by which you will work with a client. If you have an online business, the process can still be communicated up front. This gives the client confidence and often can distinguish you from the competition.

3)      Be Clear with Fees Up Front. After knowing the specifics of the product/service package you are offering, clearly communicate everything up front. Studies consistently show that “unexpected” fees, no matter the amount, leave clients angry and distrustful.

How do you pick through your prospects? Share in the Comments section below.

And sign up to get sales tips at the upcoming SCORE webinar December 2nd.

Jeanne RossommePresident, RoadMap Marketing
Jeanne uses her 20 years of marketing know-how to help small business owners reach their goals. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she held a variety of marketing positions with DuPont and General Electric. Jeanne regularly hosts online webinars and workshops in both English and Spanish.
www.roadmapmarketing.com | @roadmapmarketin | More from Jeanne

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Discussion (1) Comment

  1. It is good to see an organization like SCORE pointing out this sales approach. This approach is one that I’ve used for years when working with clients as a marketing consultant. Much as you want that huge roster of clients, sometimes it is far better to make sure that it will be a good working relationship – quality vs quantity. I questioned that in the early days, but it has come to prove itself a successful approach time and again. And, as you have brilliantly pointed out, it is vitally important to ask that potential client what they feel are the biggest problems they face. If you really listen, and can offer them a genuine solution, you have found the golden ticket of success for the future of your business. Listen and offer a genuine solution. That’s all anybody really wants, provider and client alike.

 

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