If you’re like most financial advisors, you probably started out with a phone script, whether calling strangers, LinkedIn contacts or referrals. Prospecting scripts are critical for new advisors because they help them keep organized and stay on track for the brief time they have in that first interaction. No doubt, using phone scripts can serve inexperienced advisors well if they work at it. They can also make experienced advisors even more effective when used in certain circumstances.
By mastering a prospecting script, that is being able to regurgitate it without thinking about it so you can inject your natural mannerisms into it, you can then focus on the prospect. You can actually soak in any information they provide and be more attentive to their reactions and tone. You can then formulate unscripted questions pertinent to the conversation. In sum, they can make you sound like a professional. Scripts work, and they can be highly effective.
So why don’t all financial advisors use scripts? Experienced advisors may believe they are way beyond the need for them, but would it surprise you to know they still base their phone conversations off a script they learned years ago? Some fear it makes them sound as if they’re reading off a teleprompter. That’s only true if you don’t practice it until it becomes second nature. I can tell you that while prospects and clients know when they hear a canned pitch, they can also tell when someone isn’t very organized with their thoughts. I’m not sure which annoys them more.
I can also tell you that, for the same reasons stated above, inexperienced advisors can benefit from a script, so too can experienced advisors. Why? Because scripts can provide a critical framework and structure when you have something important you want to accomplish—which is just about every call. You don’t want to have to think about what you should be saying next, or you won’t be able to focus clearly on your prospect.
And scripts aren’t used exclusively for cold calls or contacting prospective clients. There are at least five situations in which a script can increase the effectiveness of even the most experienced advisor. Each addresses a different situation, but they are all structured to help advisors accomplish what they want. Here are five such key situations when all Advisors could use a prospecting script.
#1. In answer to “What do you do?”
The average advisor probably gets asked this question a hundred times a year. How you address it could mean the difference between a new relationship and one that may never materialize. It’s critical to understand the significance of these opportunities and prepare yourself with a well-practiced script that draws people in even if they tell you they already have an advisor. The best way is with well-crafted questions, such as “That’s great. How long have you been with them? “What do you like best about working with them? Would you recommend them? These tame questions can lead to a very revealing conversation that can turn in your direction. Or not. But, no harm, no foul.
#2. When asking for referrals
While it may be true that some clients are hesitant to give referrals, it’s even more true that advisors are afraid to ask for them. That’s primarily because they don’t know an effective way to ask. If you’re referable—that is, you’ve differentiated yourself by delivering superior client experience—you should ask your clients to help you.
You’d be surprised at how many would jump at the chance. But you need to be prepared with a well-crafted script, mainly in the form of a question. Something like, “Who do you know who’s working with a financial advisor and is dissatisfied with the relationship? I’d be interested in talking with them.” Not only do you offer your client the opportunity to help you, more importantly, but you also give them the opportunity to help a friend. Again, no harm, no foul.
#3. When preparing your clients before or during the next market correction
Many advisors were caught off guard during the steep market crash in 2020. They and their clients had grown complacent after a long period of uninterrupted returns. The calls to clients were very uncomfortable, not because clients were scared, but because their clients were unprepared. Sending emails to your clients urging them to remain calm is fine. But, you and your clients will be better off if you use the next period of volatility to your advantage—being proactive and calling them or seeing them in person to remind them you’re there for them. They will appreciate the call, but you must be well prepared with a structured approach, a script to ensure you come across as the professional, calming influence your clients need. It would serve you well to prepare a practice this inevitable call now.