Advisors Need To Tell Their Clients What To Do

Giving prospects a range of potential next steps may showcase your depth of expertise, but what both they and you need most is for you to tell them what to do.

  1. Use specific but non-confrontational language, such as, “If you were my brother and sister-in-law, I would tell you to…”
  2. Practice saying these words out loud so you are comfortable with hearing your own conviction.
  3. Keep working to grow your confidence in the advice you are giving; be assured that you are leading people to make the best decisions they can about their financial well-being.

While giving people choices to consider shows experience, to best help them, you need to lead them to a decision.

At the end of that exploratory meeting—the first meeting you’ve had with a prospective new client—you need to summarize what they’ve told you so you make sure you’re understanding what they’ve said. And you also need them understanding that you’ve heard them correctly. But after you’ve done that, you need to lead them to make a decision.

A number of advisors think they’re being nice by suggesting three or four choices, three or four good options that those people have available to them, without definitively landing on what the next step should be. You have to have that conviction for what it should be and communicate that to them. So, yes, it’s fine to say, “There are three or four priorities here, and any one of them would make sense.” But also add, “However, if you were my brother and sister-in-law coming to me with these opportunities, the first step we would take is this. Priorities two, three and four would follow, but, yes, the first step you need to take is this point right here.” That’s an easy way for you to deliver that conviction without sounding pushy, if that’s something you’re concerned about. Simply mention, “If you were my family (brother and sister-in-law, sister and brother-in-law, whatever might be appropriate for the people you’re talking with), here’s what I would say to do next.”

You need to get comfortable doing this because, while it’s nice to show people the depth of your experience by highlighting different opportunities they have, ultimately, they’re paying you to lead. They have to leave that meeting (whether they end up working with you or not) knowing that you have a conviction for what their next step should be.

If you’re not comfortable sounding like this,

  1. Develop language that has you comfortable. I suggest mentioning that kind of verbiage: “If you were my brother and sister-in-law, …” or if they’re an older couple, “If you were my parents, here’s what I would suggest doing next.”
  2. Practice it. Use every opportunity you can to get comfortable doing this. Initially, it might feel awkward to actually hear yourself verbalize those words, but that person needs direction from you.
  3. Consistently deepen your conviction for the excellence and experience that you bring to the table. Have those prospects definitively see that, “If you come on board with me, here’s the first step we’re going to take.”

If you provide prospects with the security that you know exactly what they need to do next, you stand a far greater chance of bringing them on board as a client.

Related: The Perfect Tool for Advisors to Stay Top of Mind