Yes, we’ve all had a similar uncomfortable social exchange at an event.
“Hi, I’m Steve. I’m a financial advisor.”
“Nice to meet you, Steve. 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. Be Proactive
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: “I don’t have time for this” or “I don’t want to feel pressured.” 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.
To help start the conversation, you might say something like this:
“I’m not here to steal you away from another advisor who’s doing a great job for you. But I have an idea. How about if we grab a cup of coffee to simply talk through your situation with no strings attached, and I promise to not take longer than 20 minutes? I’ll either confirm that you’re in good hands, or I’ll offer some suggestions that might get you better results. Are you open to this?”
2. Turn Objections Into Questions
When you hear “I already have an advisor,” you may want to ask which firm their advisor is with. Assuming you’re familiar with the firm, consider a conversation that may go something like this:
"I’ve heard good things about that firm and think it’s pretty reputable, but would you agree that no single person or firm has a monopoly on all the good ideas?”
“What if I give you one idea that lowers your tax burden or raises your income? Would you consider letting me compete for your business then?"
When you’re respectful of the competition, you’re establishing common ground, and you’re affirming your prospect’s ability to make good choices. If your prospect is currently unimpressed with the firm, you’ll have an opening.
Asking open-ended questions shows you have a genuine interest, builds rapport, and may give you more information to better handle future objections.
3. Educate and Excite
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. Consider saying something that gives them an “aha” moment, even if it’s not related to their financial situation.
“Did you know that the average person has a 1 in 292 million chance of winning the Powerball jackpot, and the largest amount ever won was more than $1 billion?”1
This interesting, real-world fact includes a financial lesson or at least sparks a financial discussion. You can begin by asking how someone might spend that kind of money, why some lottery winners end up losing it all, or lead into how there are much better chances of getting ahead through strategic investing rather than luck.
Even though such an approach may feel counterintuitive, you’re helping the conversation flow naturally by not focusing exclusively on the outcome. Ultimately, the track of the conversation is up to your prospect, as is their decision about what you have to offer. Just remember that the purpose of your services is to add value where your client previously didn’t have any, which helps address the “I already have an advisor” objection.
4. Ask Intriguing Questions
Everyone wants to feel like an important and valued client. If you can throw some questions into the mix, you may have a shot.
“What do you like best about how your advisor has helped you address recent volatility?”
Rather than ask if someone likes their advisor (which only requires a reflexive yes or no answer), this question begs for a thoughtful response. Can they come up with one? Such a question may help them consider that their advisor might not be as solid as they thought. Additionally, 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 hear from your advisor as often as you’d like?”
Explain your approach to delivering great service. Maybe mention how, in volatile markets, you make every effort to connect with clients once every three months to review their portfolio. You could always ask “Does your advisor return calls and quickly answer your questions?”
“Would you recommend your advisor to a friend?”
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 using more than one advisor?”
Most people feel one advisor is enough. After all, they have one dentist, one mechanic, one lawn care service, etc. When they say “no,” you might respond with “Some of my most successful clients have more than one advisor relationship to get multiple investment perspectives. Perhaps it’s something you should consider.”
5. Overcome Human Instinct
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, it’s time to gracefully exit. Perhaps say “Things could change over time. Would you be OK if I touched base with you, let’s say every six months?” Most people won’t object, so you follow through on your word 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.
SOURCES1CNBC.com, Powerball jackpot climbs to $277 million. Here’s the tax bite for the winner, Jan. 8, 2020