One of the most basic lessons an advisor learns upon entering this business is how to properly and effectively ask for the appointment.
“Ms. Prospect, I’d like to get together with you to discuss this. Could we do that on Monday morning at 10, or would Tuesday afternoon be better for you?”
Although that approach doesn’t always work, it works often enough that it has become essentially the “go-to” approach for setting appointments.
But did you ever stop and analyze why it works so well? It works because the advisor is, in effect, addressing an objection – “I’m not available to talk” – and answers it before the prospect or client even has the chance to raise it. And that’s a great approach to use throughout the whole advisory process, not just when setting the appointment.
Whether or not you actually have written them down, you no doubt have a range of “scripts” for all occasions. Most top advisors I know actually do type out their scripts and save them for reference. I would encourage you to examine your own scripts and personal approaches – and increase their effectiveness by answering objections before prospects can raise them.
For example, if you are approaching a new prospect who has been recommended by an existing client, anticipate the objections that new prospect might raise because he or she doesn’t know you. Now most prospects won’t actually say, “I don’t know a thing about you so why should I want to meet with you?” But you can bet that many of them will be thinking it.
Examine your own scripts and personal approaches – and increase their effectiveness by answering objections before prospects can raise them.
So answer that objection before the prospect voices it with a script that goes something like this:
“Mr. Businessowner, I know that we’ve never met, but I have learned just a little about you from our mutual associate, Mr. Already-a-Client. He speaks highly of you and your business, and he thinks that the services and ideas I’ve provided him and his business might be of similar benefit to you and yours. Of course, I don’t know that’s the case, as I don’t know your business well enough yet. But if you would be willing to spend about 20 minutes with me – with absolutely no obligation – I feel like I could gain a better understanding of how your business operates and whether or not my ideas for risk management and tax control strategies can be of help to you. Can I buy you a cup of coffee so that we can get to know one another a little better?”
Note how that script answers the objection before he can raise it. The prospect knows Mr. Already-a-Client wouldn’t have mentioned him if he didn’t like the advisor. So the prospect doesn’t feel like this invitation is coming out of the blue, and the prospect feels confident up front that it’s just a “no obligation” meeting over coffee.
For another example of a script that eliminates objections up front, consider how the advisor might approach a young married couple. For many people just starting out, you can bet their objection will be something along the lines of, “It’s too expensive,” or “That’s not in our budget.”
Here’s the kind of script I’m talking about in this kind of case:
“Mr. and Mrs. Newlyweds, I have helped many people who are in a similar situation to yours – that is, just beginning to build a life together – and one thing I’ve learned in helping all those couples is that each situation is unique. I would like to take a little time to meet with you – under absolutely no obligation – to learn a little about you two as a couple. I would like to learn a little about your hopes and dreams and plans so that I can share some practical financial ideas that can help you protect yourselves as you work toward those hopes and dreams – and that most importantly make sense for you two. Would that be okay?”
Again, this approach eliminates the objection (the additional cost of life insurance) before it can even be raised. With the focus on the couple and their unique situation, the cost is not an issue because the advisor has already stressed that the ideas are what make sense for them.
I encourage you to think about every interaction you have with this mindset. At the very least, it causes you to put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and understand things from his or her viewpoint. And it just might get you in front of a lot more people.
Charles K. Hirsch, CLU, is contributing editor for Insurance Selling magazine. He is also the president of Hirsch Communications Consulting, LLC, a communications consulting operation in Florissant, Mo. For many years he was the Editor and Publisher of Life Insurance Selling magazine, and has published several of the leading life insurance industry magazines.