As a financial advisor, you are valued for your expert knowledge, but you are only as effective as your ability to get your prospects and clients to act on your recommendations. If you can’t, their situations won’t improve, and neither will yours. Many financial advisors in that situation might chalk it up to them being “bad” prospects and move on, but aren’t they abdicating their role as an advisor?
Certainly, advisors shouldn’t use strongarm tactics to turn their prospects around, but shouldn’t they at least understand the reason behind the objection? Could they learn some valuable insights that would help resolve the issue, if not for the prospect in front of them, but for similar situations they encounter in the future?
In the financial advisory business, objections come with the territory. They’re often just knee-jerk reactions from clients hesitant to make a change. Prospects often don’t understand the real reason behind their objection—they’re just not comfortable moving forward. As an advisor, your job is to help them acknowledge the real reason so they can place it in the context of what you have offered them.
Step 1: Getting to the real objections
Legendary sales coach Zig Ziglar provided us with a framework for uncovering the real objection using his five sales obstacles—no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust. I submit that the first three shouldn’t even come up if you did your job in the initial and fact-finding meetings. They wouldn’t be sitting in front of you if they didn’t have a need or the money to address it or a specific timeline for achieving it, all of which you confirmed during your fact-finding session.
Anything else that could come up would have to do with “no desire” or “no trust,” which can be expressed in any number of ways, such as “We want to think about it,” or “We’re not sure we’re ready for such a big change.”
No Desire and No Trust are saying essentially the same thing—either “we don’t see how this is going to help us” (no desire) or “how do we know you can make this happen for us” (no trust). These are the most challenging objections because it means you haven’t done an adequate job up to this point of establishing their genuine motivating factor—their emotional impetus to act—or their trust. This might take a little bit of work, but it’s no reason to give up on the relationship.
Step 2: Getting back the prospect’s desire
Prospects won’t have the desire to act on a recommendation unless they are convinced it will help them. It’s not about whether your solution will help them. Intellectually, they probably know it will. But they need to be convinced emotionally that it’s the best course of action. In the past, we’ve discussed on this blog the importance of not only finding out what they want to accomplish but also why it’s important.
But, to find the emotional connection to the goal, you need to find out what it would mean to them if you could help make that happen. That will uncover their emotional connection to the goal. All you have to do is confirm it right then— “So Mr. and Mrs. Client, if our solution will enable you to watch your child graduate from college, it will bring you peace of mind, right?”.
Then, when you present your plan, you confirm it again. “This plan is projected to achieve your objective of three-quarters funding for both your children at an in-state, public college. What that means to you is having peace of mind knowing your kids will have the same opportunities as you did to achieve their life ambitions.” That’s the emotional connection people need to create the desire to act.
Step 3: Regaining the prospect’s trust
The trust issue can be a bit more challenging. If you’ve done all the right things to establish and build trust up to this point and your prospects are hesitant to act, you may need to take one or two steps back to reinforce the bond. Retrace the steps you took initially, such as asking open-ended questions to let them talk, listening actively, encouraging them to “tell me more about that,” and demonstrating empathy— “I understand your concerns. This is a big decision.”
Remember, they felt comfortable enough to trust you up to this point with their time and information. But trust can be fleeting if it’s not continuously reinforced. Everything you do in your interactions with your prospects and clients is being measured by the trust yardstick.
Whenever you make a recommendation, you should expect to get objections, understanding that they may not be real objections. Your job is to uncover the real objection and help your prospect work through it. If your prospects stick with the initial objection (i.e., “Let me think about it”), schedule a follow-up call and put them in your CRM—maybe it’s really what they need.