A fortnightly pearl of wisdom to fast track your success
CHRISISM #54 - Two Ears One Mouth
14 November 2017
There is a good reason why we were given two ears and one mouth and I strongly suggest you use them in the proportion that they were given to you, thereby doing twice as much listening as talking.
We can all be guilty of loving the sound of our own voice and this can often lead to us using our ears and our mouth in the inverse proportion to how they were provided. I’m sure you have all been at a social gathering where somebody has demonstrated this transgression; they go on and on about nothing in particular and feel that they are doing you a favour by sharing their knowledge and experience(s) – and you just can’t wait to get away!
I believe we are sometimes guilty of this when sitting with clients. Especially if we are newer in the business, we often feel the need to show off our knowledge to impress a client which we believe will make business more likely to happen. However, more often than not, what I have discovered is that the majority of clients do want to perceive that you have the knowledge (or that you know where to access it), but typically there is a little voice in their head screaming “But please, please, please don’t share it with me!”
The key to making business a natural consequence of our engagement process is not telling people why they should do business but rather selling them on the benefits of doing business, and this is best done by asking them questions rather than just imparting information. Once we understand the importance of asking questions, we than need to appreciate what represent the best type of questions to ask and the type of questions not to ask.
The best type of question to ask is one to which there is (at least logically) only one answer e.g. “In the event of you suffering a serious illness or accident, where between 0% and 100% would you want your income to be replaced?”, but it is crucial to get the client to verbalise it. Alternatively, you can ask a question to which there may be more than one answer, either of which is fine by you e.g. “So would you like to pay the first premium annually or monthly?” Either way, the business gets done. Finally the type of question you want to avoid asking is a question to which the answer could legitimately be “Yes” or “No” e.g. “So would you like to go ahead with the plan?”, because one of the potential answers is one that you don’t want to get!
A lot of advisers also have a fear of silence, but actually silence can be golden as long as you are in control of it. What I mean by that is often the silence occurs when you have asked your client a question, and in this instance it is the client’s turn to talk. More often than not the silence is because you have asked an excellent question, the answer to which will result in business and that is why you need to shut up and wait for the answer! If necessary, you can always repeat the question.
The only time in the engagement piece when I tended to do most of the talking was during the introduction to the first meeting. After trying nearly every alternative approach, I found that the best course of action for me at the introduction stage was to take the opportunity to “set out my stall”, which involved outlining and getting my client’s agreement with the purpose of the meeting we were about to have, removing as many of the unknowns as possible right up front and getting my client’s buy-in to the concepts of long term business relationships and regularity and continuity of service. Because this process was largely one way traffic i.e. me doing most of the talking, it was crucial that I continually sought the client’s agreement or buy-in to what I was saying in order to keep them involved. The reason I was happy to do this was because I knew that, once we got to the Fact Find, I would be passing the baton over to my client and asking them all the necessary questions to facilitate them verbalising what it was that they really wanted – in terms of outcomes not product.
If some of the above has resonated with you and helped with your client engagement skills, then I would love to see you for a full day’s input at my upcoming “Sales Skills for Financial Planners” Workshop in your capital city. Just click on the appropriate link below to register for a guaranteed bucketful of simple, practical and usable client engagement tools that will help you grow your business.
Register for your City using the links below.
The Risk Workshop by Chris Unwin
Are you a financial adviser who would like all of your clients to have appropriate types and levels of personal protection? But perhaps you feel you need a more structured and client friendly engagement process?