Yes, we’ve all had this uncomfortable social exchange at an event.
“Hi, I’m Jim. I’m a financial advisor at XYZ Investments.”
“Nice to meet you, Jim. I already have an advisor.”
So, what do you say next? You could mention that the shrimp cocktail is delicious and simply move on. But, “I already have an advisor” doesn’t necessarily mean you need to change the subject. It’s possible to continue the conversation without coming off as pushy.
In fact, one of the best responses is to take a proactive approach and be ready for any objections. Stay one step ahead of your prospect by using these tips.
1. Respond to knee-jerk reactions by being proactive.1
Many people have “go to” excuses they use for sales professionals: “I need to talk with my spouse” or, in this case, “I have an advisor.”
What they may, in fact, be thinking is: “This will take a lot of time.” or “I don’t want to feel obligated to this advisor.” So, you may want to address these objections before you even hear them, putting you in the driver’s seat as you make a request.
“I have an idea. Can I share it? [wait for response] Let’s get a cup of coffee and review your situation. It won’t take long, and you’ll have no obligation to work with me. Either I’ll confirm that you’re doing the right thing, or I’ll present some suggestions that could make you money. Are you open to this?”
2. Turn objections into questions.2
When you hear “I already have an advisor,” it’s quite declarative; there’s no answer you can provide. So, turn that around like this:
“What I’m hearing, [prospect name], is that you’re happy with what you’re getting from your advisor at [name of firm]. Is that correct?”
“Yes, that's correct.”
"I think [name of firm] is excellent, and I agree with your decision to have an account there. I hope you'll agree that no single person or firm possesses all the good ideas. If I present one idea that increases your income or reduces your taxes, can we discuss me competing for your business?"
When you’re respectful of the competition, you’re establishing common ground, and you’re complimenting your prospect on his/her choice. If your prospect is currently unimpressed with the firm, you have an opening. Plus, asking open-ended questions shows you have a genuine interest, builds rapport, and can give you more information to better handle future objections.
3. Educate and excite.3
It’s your duty as an advisor to educate your customers and prospects to help them make good decisions. Yet, they need a reason to listen to you, especially if they already have an advisor. So, immediately say something that excites them, which may not be related to their financial situation at all.
“Did you know that 5% of the people who buy lottery tickets account for 51% of all tickets sold?”4
This interesting, real-world fact includes a financial lesson or at least sparks a financial discussion. You can begin talking about how much better that money’s return on investment would be if invested wisely instead of used to buy lottery tickets.
Don’t worry if this feels counterintuitive. By not focusing exclusively on the outcome, you’re helping the conversation flow naturally. Ultimately, the track of the conversation is up to your prospect, as is their decision about what you’re offering. Just remember that the purpose of your services is to add value where your client previously didn’t have any, which helps answer the “I already have an advisor” objection.
4. Ask intriguing questions.5
Everyone wants to feel like an important and valued client. If you can throw some questions into the mix, you may have a shot.
“How has your advisor done for you lately?”
You know that investing is a long-term strategy, but many clients still think about immediate returns. This question may get someone thinking: “Is my advisor staying sharp?” “Is he/she paying attention to me?”
“Do you get insights from your advisor as often as you’d like?”
Explain how you deliver great service. Maybe mention how, in volatile markets, you make every effort to meet with clients once every three months to review their holdings. You could always ask: “Does your advisor return calls and quickly answer your questions?”
“Would you recommend your current advisor?”
If he/she would, and has reasons why, then praise that good relationship. If a recommendation wouldn’t happen, ask: “What keeps you there?” or “What areas could be improved?” You’ll likely get more information you can use. When someone tells you why a relationship is NOT working, they’re basically telling you what they want.
“Have you considered multiple advisors?”
Most people feel one advisor is enough. After all, they have one dentist, one mechanic, one hair stylist. When they say “no,” you can respond with: “Highly successful and high net-worth people usually have multiple advisory relationships. You’re obviously successful. Perhaps you should consider it.”
Overcoming human programming6
Most people have a natural instinct to say “no” the first time they’re asked to an appointment. The second time, too. Yet, the third time can often be the charm, especially with successful people. These people appreciate passion and perseverance. So, staying strong after two objections, as long as you’re professional, may be received as positive.
Yet, if the answer remains “no” after three attempts, you should gracefully exit. Perhaps say: “Things could change over time. [Prospect name], would you have an objection to me keeping in touch, let’s say every six months?” Most people are OK with that, so you put them in your system and call them in six months.
Pursuing appointments with potential new clients isn’t easy after hearing “I already have an advisor.” Yet, proactive responses, good follow-up questions, and a bit of relentlessness can set you apart. Try these and see if your results improve.
Help empower your prospects to choose the right financial advisor by sharing our investor guide: “When and Why Should I Hire a Financial Advisor?” Your assistance may help them confidently move forward in developing their investment strategy.
1The Oechsli Institute, Squash Prospect Objections Before They Arise, undated
2Don Connelly 24/7, Insights - Overcoming Objections, undated
3Practice Management Blueprint, Objection Handling–What Financial Advisors MUST Do, April 2017
4Supermoney, 12 Weird Facts About Money, January 2019
5ThinkAdvisor, Responding to ‘I Already Have an Advisor’, March 2019
6P2P Group, Overcoming “No” – Handle Phoning Objections Like A Pro, August 2017