15 Feb 2019
Most businesses providing expert professional services - financial advisory practices being one example - think that clients are buying expertise and professional knowledge.
This is why there is so much emphasis on products, technical know-how and qualifications.
But is this what clients are really buying?
Knowing what you are doing is extremely important but very few clients are able to evaluate the quality of your advice, are they?
And here is the thing...
Your ability to give high quality advice is assumed. In fact, trying to convince someone that you know what you are talking about makes you appear less trustworthy.
What potential clients will determine very quickly though is the quality of connection and how interested you are in them.
An interesting (but not uncommon) situation came up with an adviser I was working with recently.
She was moving her business from a transactional model, where she had been entirely focused on products and investments, to becoming a financial planning led business.
However, instead of her new approach going down well with potential clients she had been experiencing push back and resistance and could not understand why.
So, we explored what was going on.
Historically, she had been exceptionally good at connecting with clients and forming strong relationships.
This is what her clients bought into.
As she had moved into financial planning, she had been trying to convince people of the value of financial planning.
But they were not buying it.
For one thing people do not buy concepts and secondly, we are being blasted with sales messages all day long and so we resist.
Prolific business author Seth Godin said...
“People don't believe what you tell them.
They rarely believe what you show them.
They often believe what their friends tell them.
They always believe what they tell themselves.”
As soon as she realised that her insecure thinking was causing the resistance then she dropped it and simply returned to being herself - warm, friendly and genuinely interested in the people she met.
After this the problem eradicated itself.
Selling is not something you do TO someone. It is something you do FOR someone. When it is 100% about the person(s) in front of you there is no resistance. Anytime we get in our heads and start thinking too much it will invite resistance.
Advisers often get caught in the 'transactional trap' because it feels uncomfortable to move away from the familiar ground of talking about products and investments.
But the discomfort is not coming from the situation. Problems only exist in thinking.
Therefore, the solution to any problem is always the same - in a better state of mind a problem will solve itself because the thinking we need comes to a clear mind - just as it did with my client.
It is crucial to understand that in a world where transactions will become increasingly automated, then the part that machines cannot do - human connection - becomes even more important.
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