Some salesmanship is misunderstood as the power of persuasion. Many financial advisors think they have mastered this skill, but they have developed a habit of making classic mistakes; Talking too much, not listening, using too many facts and figures – all in an effort to persuade a client, prospect or COI to their point of view and expertise. Unfortunately, these can create unnecessary barriers to persuading the other person (prospect, COI, client) for their message.
Persuasion doesn’t have to be complicated in the prosper sales process. We’ve broken it down into four major components:
- Belief- I recently wrote a piece titled How to Use the Neuroscience of Trust to Increase Your AUM, which outlines both the science and specific actions you can take to gain and strengthen trust. Trust on a personal level is essential for showing your expertise and your credibility.
This requires building an emotional connection with whoever you are trying to persuade. Unfortunately, there is a huge disconnect on this issue. For the past 20-plus years, our Prosper and Financial Advisor research has continued to uncover a large perception gap; 25% of the affluent and 75% of financial advisors think they have an emotional connection with each other. These numbers change slightly from year to year, but there is a consistent difference in the 50-point range. This is a big issue—a serious indicator that many financial advisors have much work to do to solidify this fundamental issue of trust.
It is also important to understand that numbers, market estimates, portfolio returns and many other data points do not make an emotional connection. They do not create trust.
- Reliability – You can also consider it as your expertise. That said, this is another area in which many financial advisors make the mistake of assuming they have credibility. We all know that when the market goes up, portfolios follow suit—yet, right or wrong, many affluent clients don’t credit their advisor for their profits.
This is where the neuroscience of trust comes in; Put yourself in the place of your customer. This requires an understanding of both how they are feeling and what they are thinking. In other words, don’t give yourself a pat on the back regarding performance when the market goes up and don’t hurt yourself. Sure, you mentioned it, but now it’s important to understand that you need to reinforce your expertise through other means; External experts, independent research reports, respected journals, etc. All these work as a transformational process which in turn validates your credibility.
- Supplemental Stories – As I mentioned above, numbers don’t make an emotional impact. That is, when not used alone. However, when supplemented with a story or a contextual analogy that is concise and conversational, the numbers have context and therefore an emotional connection is achieved. They have been taken and applied to the day-to-day reality.
The best collect motivational stories and list them relative to topics that are, or should be, important to the customer or prospect. Not only do they consistently collect stories, but elite inspirers also make it a practice to tell them because they recognize the importance of these relevant stories unfolding as natural conversations. However, it is important not to have stories that are too long. Less is more and practice leads to more natural-feeling conversations.
- mini off – There is no persuasion without a call to action. However, at this stage, it would be wise to discard all the closing techniques you learned as a rookie and simply refer to them as a mini-close. It’s so simple, so short and uninteresting, that at this stage in the process of persuasion you’ve dramatically increased the odds in your favor.
My favorite is asking a simple, but totally time-bound question: May I have a suggestion? Whether it’s adjusting an existing portfolio, relocating a client’s assets elsewhere, turning a social prospect encounter into a scheduled business meeting, or encouraging a prospect into a client at a business meeting – you’ve got the mini -Close has paved the way. This simple act is the one that will bring to fruition your powers of persuasion. And yes – it also requires practice, and for some, it requires stepping out of their comfort zone.
The beauty of mastering the power of persuasion is that it is a skill that can be learned and used in any form of human interaction.
Matt Ochsley is the author of Building a successful 21st century financial practice: Attracting, serving and retaining affluent clients, www.oechsli.com