Most clients don’t understand the importance of financial planning and are happy to go it alone.
Only 27% of Americans believe a financial plan is a key strategy for dealing with volatile markets and financial uncertainty… that cam from the 2021 Planning and progress Harris Poll.
Your role as an advisor is to illustrate the hazards of not having a financial plan, and the importance of a professionally created financial game plan.
Americans aren’t prepared for retirement and the pandemic has made matters even worse!
Showing prospective clients the dangers of going it alone is a great tactic to persuade them to meet with you to craft a plan.
One of every three Americans planning to retire is delaying it because of the pandemic, according to analysis from Age Wave and Edward Jones.
My experience with marketing for financial advisors has shown that a 30% – 300% increase in new qualified planning prospects by using the strategies in this article… so keep reading.
5 Ways to win financial planning clients by creating urgency
1. Promote Financial planning benefits (not features)
Clients DO NOT understand the benefits of financial planning. Statistics and my work with financial planner over the past years show that for certain.
All my clients have brought in substantially more clients by switching from explaining features to articulating the benefits of their services.
FOR EXAMPLE: A feature of your practice is that you use the latest financial planning software… I’m telling you right now, your prospect doesn’t understand how that is meant to help them.
FLIP THAT INTO A BENEFIT: You’ll get access to a secure planning site with key information all in one place at your fingertips that’s always up to date.
Here’s a short cut for you.
Financial planning benefits can be split into two:
1. Minor (nice to have benefits)
2. Major (life-changing benefits… these are the game changers)
Examples of Minor financial planning benefits
- Make sure your insurance meets your needs
- Save money with tax-minimization strategy
- Protect your retirement assets from market volatility by diversifying your investments.
major benefits (life changing) benefits of financial planning
- Sleep better at night because your spouse will be taken care of if something happens to you;
- Gain peace of mind that you are on track for the retirement you have always desired; and
- Ensure your legacy with an estate plan that is in line with your intentions
ACTION PLAN – Bring in the benefits of financial planning to all your first interactions with prospective clients. In your conversations and materials make sure they understand the game changing nature of good financial planning.
2. Use prospect pain and buying triggers
As financial planners you’re often wired to focus on goals. BUT as humans we’re wired to move away from PAIN three times more than moving towards some compelling future.
So the take away is… use pain points in your marketing NOT goals as these problems are something prospects want to move away from right now… and we are talking about creating urgency in our prospects here.
Common financial planning Prospect pain points
- “I am sick. Who will make sure my spouse makes good decisions and does not run out of money?”
- “I’m confused. Should I take this early retirement package? My company is giving me one month to decide.”
- “I feel like I’m behind in retirement savings, and I beat myself up about it. Will I ever be able to afford to retire?”
- “I’m about to retire. How do I manage my money without messing this up?”
- “My child/grandchild always gets in trouble and needs money. Am I right to cut them off and say enough is enough?”
- “We (two spouses) disagree on how to handle our retirement savings. We are looking for an independent expert to ensure we are doing the right thing.”
- “I just got another big, unexpected tax bill. Can I avoid this in the future with better planning?”
ACTION PLAN – Helping prospects move away from their problems and showing them a financial plan will both attract more clients to your practice and can help clients sleep better at night.
3. initial meeting: uncover problems
Many financial planners have no formal format or agenda that uncovers prospect problems in that first meeting. Which makes the results unpredictable.
Have a repeatable system and a meeting format that uncovers prospect problems. Reflect those problems back to prospects before introducing your planning process and outlining the next steps.
An ok initial meeting model
- Prospect goals
- How we work with clients
- Any questions about our process, fees, services, etc.
- Next steps
This is fine, and it will work absent of any other format.
But here’s the Achilles heel: the advisor is doing too much talking, and there is no guarantee that the advisor has reflected back to the prospects the problems to be solved with the financial plan.
Here’s a winning outline of the meeting for higher conversion rate and loyal clients:
best meeting model
- Prospect problem(s), dig deep with questions, and engage all stakeholders
- Compelling future (What benefits/better state achieved by solving the problem?)
- Summarize the situation and ask permission to outline how it is solved for others
- Outline briefly the planning process and connect back to the situation
- Introduce next steps
The buy in from the prospects, the ability to demonstrate more value and charge a higher fee, and the client engagement and follow through will be much greater using our best meeting model than using the common approach.
Another essential benefit of my best meeting model is that advisors get the prospect talking through steps one and two to uncover behaviors that may disqualify them from being ideal clients.
It is better to know these things before agreeing to take them on or starting their plan.
ACTION PLAN – Develop an initial meeting model which uncovers prospect problems, ties planning to a compelling future, and moves forward with the next steps… or just use mine.
4. Deal with multiple decision makers
Have you ever found yourself in front of a prospective couple speaking primarily to one spouse, and halfway through the conversation, you find out the other spouse is the financial decision-maker?
A Pew research study found almost three-in-ten couples (28%) equally share responsibility for making family financial decisions.
Many advisors are comfortable dealing with a single decision-maker. But those advisors who thrive in multiple decision-making environments will expand their potential market, have a higher prospect-to-planning conversion rate, and ultimately more loyal clients… and it means you can find any objections faster and not have the entire new client process stall.
3 ways to adapt to multiple decisions makers
- A male financial planner can add a female partner and teams up on new client engagements, especially with couples.
- A lead financial advisor can bring her junior planner to all client meetings. The two “team sell” the initial engagement to make sure all members of the prospective buying group are addressed in both the initial meetings and planning process.
- An experienced planner I work with, who had always engaged new clients informally, with no formal initial meeting process, introduced a pre-meeting questionnaire and formal structure to be sure to incorporate all decision-makers in the process.
ACTION PLAN – Don’t just rely on a relationship with one member of the client’s family. Account for multiple decision-makers, and research shows this could increase your potential market by 28% or more.
5. A great marketing plan
Many new planers hang out a shingle as a planner, join a few associations, gain a few referrals, and take many years to create the income they desire.
Other advisors add financial planning to their practice and focus on servicing their current clients and a few referrals.
Fewer than a third of advisors and planners I have surveyed have any formal growth or marketing plan.
Just as a financial plan will increase your clients’ odds of achieving their financial goals, a marketing plan will significantly increase your odds of creating the practice and income you have always desired.
Paid outreach through LinkedIn, Facebook and Google ads are great vehicles to take your practice to the next level.
ACTION PLAN – Don’t leave the growth and promotion of your planning practice to chance. Advisors have as much as doubled their income with the help of a Little Fox Agency growth strategy