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Selling Financial Advisory Services: Generate Conversations and Lasting Relationships with Clients

blog author
Written by Mike Schultz
President, RAIN Group

I recently switched financial advisors for both my business and personal finances. In order to make an informed decision, I interviewed three different advisors before choosing. The approaches taken by each of them both before and during the meetings were wildly different and greatly influenced my overall choice.

  • Advisor #1 contacted me before the interview and asked a series of questions to get a broad sense of my financial picture and goals. He came to the meeting with a few ideas and asked more specific questions.
  • Advisor #2 walked me through a pitch deck about the funds from his firm and data on how they've beat the market year after year, along with details about the products and services his firm offers.
  • Advisor #3 had done a bit of prior research online about me and my company, and she used the meeting to ask questions about my current portfolio, investments, and goals.

Since Advisor #1 had asked me a series of questions ahead of time, we were able to use our meeting time to discuss ideas he prepared. It felt more like a working meeting than a sales pitch.

At the end of my meeting with Advisor #2, I had a very clear sense of the services his firm could offer. However, I didn't have a good sense of how—or even if—those services would benefit me and my business.

During the interview with Advisor #3, she asked me great questions and discussed relevant solutions, but she didn't provide any new ideas. We had a nice conversation, but our discussion topics weren't as specific, and our dialogue didn't advance as far as I'd hoped.

When it comes to choosing one financial advisor over another, decisions are largely made based on the meetings and conversations you have with potential clients.

I was impressed Advisor #1 did some extra footwork prior to our meeting and provided valuable ideas over and above his services. His dedication to finding me the right solution even before our initial meeting made me want to speak with him more. Ultimately, he was who I chose to do business with.

There are several reasons why you may have entered a profession in financial services.

Maybe you like working with numbers. Or perhaps you're a people person who wants to help others achieve their financial goals. Or maybe you've always had a draw to the stock market and love the thrill of investing.

Whatever the reason, chances are you didn't enter the profession to be in sales.

To be successful in financial services sales, you need to be able to:

For some financial advisors this comes naturally. For others, however, selling financial services is a struggle. After all, you were never taught how to do this in school. You know your numbers, you love the numbers, but you don't know how to sell results to prospects. So, you grab the pitch deck and/or your list of thoughtful questions and head off to your meeting with a potential client.

9 Tips for Success in Selling Financial Services

In my article on the LinkedIn Sales Blog, 9 Tips to Succeed in Selling Financial Services, I share 9 specific tips and tactics to help you in your sales efforts.

Generate conversations with potential clients:

  1. Ask for referrals
  2. Lead with value—give potential clients an enticing reason to meet with you
  3. Leverage LinkedIn to connect with buyers

Lead valuable sales conversations:

  1. Connect with buyers to uncover their full set of needs
  2. Convince buyers you're the best choice among all available options
  3. Collaborate with buyers and add value during the sales process (much like Advisor #1 did with me)

Grow existing clients:

  1. Educate buyers on the full range of your products and services
  2. Get to know your clients, their businesses, and their goals
  3. Be proactive with existing clients

The Key to Selling Financial Services

When you boil it down, success in financial services sales is all about bringing your valuable advice to buyers. As an expert in your field, you already have much of the knowledge you need to do this.

Buyers want you to educate them. They want to feel confident you know what you're talking about. They want you to push them, share trends and advice, and provide your opinion on mistakes they may be making.

Yet, buyers say only 42% of their sales meetings are valuable.

This means most financial advisors aren't delivering in their meetings. (That certainly was the case when I was looking for a new advisor.)

When you approach a sales meeting, approach it the same way you would if the buyer were already a client.

Leave the pitch deck at the office and ask the buyer important questions. Provide advice. Weigh in on areas the buyer may be over-investing and ones they may be under-investing in. Seek to understand why they're making the investments that they are and challenge their assumptions.

Download: 50 Powerful Sales Questions

When you approach conversations in this way, buyers get much more value out of their meetings and they're more likely to 1) view you as an expert in your field (setting you apart from the competition) and 2) want to speak with you again.

Selling financial services doesn't have to be overly complicated. Simply bring your expertise forth during the sales process, and treat prospects as if they were already clients.

Do this and you'll have a much greater chance of turning more prospects into actual clients.

RECOMMENDED READING >> 21 Powerful, Open-Ended Sales Questions

Topics: Sales Conversations Sales Performance Improvement Sales Prospecting