Advisors experience many no’s throughout their career. It’s simply a matter of course in business and in sales. A no can happen anytime as you engage with a prospect–from the first minutes of an appointment, to after the meeting, to follow-up work, to recommending another solution. The common way advisors approach no’s is playing the numbers game—i.e. after so many no’s you’re bound to get a yes. (Think of the old sales cliché “99 no’s and a yes is still a yes.) While this method of prospecting can work for some producers, there is value in understanding why a prospect says no—especially when there are simple things that you can do to turn them into a yes.
Here are 10 reasons your prospect says no.
1. They Don’t Trust You
Trust is crucial in converting a prospect to a client. If a prospect doubts whether you are reliable, truthful, and sincere, they are likely to dismiss any great advice you offer. Clients and prospects may not trust you for a variety of reasons, such as you are too eager to sell, your body language is protective and closed off, or they are naturally suspicious of financial advisors.
Build trust by explaining your credentials and experience. Discuss your approach/mission statement and address any concerns a prospect has about the financial planning process head-on. Exhibit confidence, but use warm body language.
For body language tips, check out our previous posts, 5 Body Language Tips for Keeping a Prospect Interested and 7 Non-Verbal Redflags You’re Losing Your Prospect.
2. They Don’t Understand
Some prospects you deal with will have a comprehensive knowledge of financial planning and only need you to facilitate solutions. Some may understand the basics of annuities or life insurance. Others may not have any understanding of financial and retirement planning. All types of prospects you encounter may balk if they don’t understand the information you provide.
To ensure that your prospect understands—truly understands—first assess their experience with financial planning. Ask them early in the appointment what types of concepts, products, or solutions they are familiar with. Use this information to determine the level of complexity you bring to your solutions. An individual that has no experience with financial planning may need several levels of breakdown before they understand what you present to them. This is also where concept sheets and yellow-pad concepts can help. Check for knowledge as you move through your presentation.
3. They’re Not Emotionally Connected With The Solution
A prospect may understand the solution you present with clear logic, but if they aren’t emotionally connected to it, they are less likely to see its value for them.
To ensure that your presentation has the proper “punch,” tie products and solutions to the prospect’s end goal—what they truly hope to achieve. Deferred growth or tax-advantaged wealth transfer is great, but what does that mean at the end of the day? How does that fit with what the client is really trying to achieve?
4. They’re Overwhelmed
Even simple product solutions can have complex components. Think about how something like a fixed indexed annuity—relatively simple in concept—can be broken down into many different pieces. Even if the consumer understands the individual components, it can be difficult for them to see how the pieces fit together. This is especially true if you are dealing with multiple planning objectives that intertwine.
Avoid overwhelming the consumer using some of the tips discussed in the previous two points. Check for knowledge, use concept sheets, draw illustrative diagrams or maps, and highlight the key benefits. Bring everything back to larger picture.
5. They’re In The Infancy Of Their Planning Process
Someone who is early in their income-earning phase may not be ready for long-range solutions. Younger consumers may not see the value of retirement planning, when retirement can seem so far off for them. Likewise, older clients may be in the early stages of retirement planning and are not ready to commit to a particular solution.
Highlight the importance of planning early and identify solutions that match with their current lifestyle goals.
6. They’re Not Confident In Your Solution
There are many different reasons why a consumer may lack confidence in your solution. They may have a key misunderstanding about how it works (if so, see previous points above). They may not trust you as a financial professional. They may have a bias against certain types of solutions based on anecdotal information or news articles.
If the consumer seems to be suspicious of the solution, simply ask them why. Respond using facts and deconstruct the steps to illustrate how this is the best way to accomplish their financial goals. Explore other solutions they feel more confident in.
7. You Don’t Have The Decision-Maker In The Room
You’ve undoubtedly experienced this situation before: you present a good solution to a consumer. The appointment goes great; you are charming and the consumer indicates they understand clearly the information you’ve given them. Then they say, I’ll have to check with my wife or husband.
This is why many advisors try to involve key family members in the planning process as much as possible. By doing this, you increase the chances you are able to speak to the decision-maker. The rest of the family gets to know and trust you, reducing the likelihood of issues down the line. A family that knows and trusts you can then become a whole generation of clients, with a variety of planning needs.
8. They Don’t Feel Like You Care
A knowledgeable financial expert is worthless to a consumer if they feel like the advisor doesn’t care or doesn’t have their best interest in mind. Remember that financial and retirement planning very often involves high personal stakes for consumers. To them it’s how they will survive in retirement or pass on a legacy. Do not take the privilege of handling their money lightly.
As you engage with the consumer, demonstrate empathy and clearly listen.
9. Client Feels Like They Are Being Sold
“Nobody wants to be sold, but everybody wants to buy,” goes the old sales cliché. There’s some truth to this and if you are too eager to sell without drawing on the other things that aid your presentation—such as ensuring the consumer understands the solution, emotionally connecting the solution to their goals, and demonstrating empathy—you will sour the appointment.
Sales is always a part of any recommendation and most consumers implicitly understand this. Amplify the sales aspect of the appointment only in key moments, using the rest of the time to connect with the consumer and provide good information.
10. You Fail To Understand What Is Truly Important To the Client
A consumer can give you a no if you overlook or ignore what truly matters to them. If they state they don’t want to deal with life insurance and you present a life insurance solution without addressing their previously stated objections first, they will feel like you are not listening to them. If the solution doesn’t satisfy their key objective, then they are likely to distrust you, even if the solution you present has great benefits. As you engage with the consumer during the appointment, make sure to take good notes, ask probing questions, and tie everything to the consumer’s stated goals.