How do you prepare for your advisor meetings?
For most wholesalers the checklist includes:
– Sales literature in bag
– Trinkets and trash in trunk
– Boarding pass on iphone
But the most important element of appointment preparation is one that too few wholesalers do.
Sam Richter is the founder of the #1-rated Know More business improvement program and author of the award-winning and best-selling Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling book. Sam is considered the world’s foremost expert on Sales Intelligence – finding information and then using it to identity new opportunities, win more business, and to build deeper and more meaningful business relationships. Learn how to grow your business through better information at Sam’s Know More University Center
Pick up a copy of Sam’s book Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling at Amazon.
Know More About Your Advisors, Sell More to Your Advisors
Selling financial products to advisors is about as commodity as a commodity business gets.
Sure, as a wholesaler, you know the differences between your product and the competition’s. Yet in the minds of your advisor clients, products come and go, and whatever features you have today, someone else will have tomorrow.
So as a wholesaler, how do you differentiate? How do you get your foot in the door with a new advisor? How do you stay relevant with your current clients? It’s all about relationships.
Too many wholesalers think a relationship is taking an advisor out for a fancy lunch a couple of times per year. Or inviting an advisor to a conference. Or sending an advisor tickets to his favorite baseball team. Those tactics work, but it’s not a relationship.
A genuine relationship is built on trust. It’s built on truly understanding what’s important to the other person. It’s built on providing value to what your advisor cares about. To gain the permission to ask probing and challenging questions, you have to prove that you are relevant, and that you care about the other person’s success. Unfortunately, because nearly everyone is pressed for time, it’s harder than ever to build that base-level relationship and prove relevance.
The good news is – unlike in the past where you needed time and probably an in-person meeting to truly understand what was important to an advisor – now you can do it in minutes, on your own, with the tools available on the Internet. That’s if you know how to effectively find the important information.
Following are some search tips for finding information on advisors and what they care about, beyond what you might find in a standard Google search result:
Google Site Search: There is typically some good information on an advisor’s website, for example a professional biography. Sometimes it’s easy to find. However, sometimes it can be buried within a site, especially for a large firm. Instead of wasting time “surfing” a site, laser focus your search using “site:” followed by the web address. Instead of searching the entire Internet for results, you limit your search to a specific website.
For example, if I wanted to find the biographies of vice presidents at Morgan Stanley in Minneapolis, the Google query would look like this: biography + “vice president” + Minneapolis + site:morganstanley.com (here is the result: http://bit.ly/2bpzv6D and note that all of the results are only from the MorganStanley.com website). Notice that the phrase vice president is within quotation marks. This ensures that Google searches for that specific phrase instead of the single word vice and the single word president.
Google Filetype Search: This is a great way to find articles, non-profit donor lists, annual reports, or other documents where your advisor client’s name appears. When you conduct the search, Google will search for the words/phrases you enter within the actual document.
You can limit your search to types of files/documents by using the “filetype:” search followed by the type of document. Here are the most popular extensions: pdf = adobe acrobat; xls or xlsx= Excel spreadsheets; ppt or pptx = PowerPoint document; doc or docx = Word document.
If you wanted to find where JNBA Financial in Minneapolis donates time or money, you would run this Google search: “JNBA Financial” + (donor OR donation) + Minneapolis filetype:pdf site:.org (here is the result: http://bit.ly/2aO61JR). Notice the word OR in all uppercase separates donor and donation. This tells the search engine that you want one or both of those words to appear in the result. By adding site:.org, you limit your search to only PDF files that are on a non-profit website.
YouGotTheNews: Your advisor clients are amazingly passionate about one thing – themselves. When you can find a recent news article about the advisor and/or the firm, it’s a great way to establish your credibility, show the other person that you care, and engage in meaningful dialogue.
You can find news articles at www.yougotthenews.com. This specialized engine searches thousands of local and national news sources. Type the name of an advisor or firm in the search form, add a location if relevant, and any keywords. On the results page, use the tabs to sort your results by press releases, national news, business news, and local news. Click the Relevancy button to sort your result by search relevance or date.
LinkedIn.com: With nearly 400 million people in its database (including almost 170,000 who list themselves as a financial advisor), LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) is a great way to research people. To search LinkedIn, enter the name of a person within quotation marks, followed by part of the company name where the person works. For example, conducting a LinkedIn search for John Anderson returns almost 6,000 results. However, “John Anderson” + Ameriprise returns only one.
When viewing an advisor’s LinkedIn profile, look for something in common. Maybe the advisor went to the same college as you. Maybe the advisor used to work at a firm where you know a lot of people. Maybe the advisor is involved in activities that interest you. When you meet with an advisor, share that you looked at his or her profile, and share what you have in common. It’s a great conversation starter.
BrightScope.com: Imagine walking into an advisor’s office and you already know his AUM; or her mix of client types; or how many qualified plans vs. non-qualified plans he manages. It’s easy to do with Brightscope (www.brightscope.com/financial-planning/find/advisor). In the search form, enter a firm name or an advisor’s name. On the results page, click on the various tabs to find relevant information about the advisor and his or her firm.
Follow these tips and these resources 10 minutes prior to every sales call or meeting you have with an advisor, and you’ll be able to make a great first impression; you’ll feel more confident knowing something about the other person; you’ll ensure relevancy; you’ll gain permission to ask great questions; and bottom line, you’ll build stronger, more profitable, relationships.
Written by Sam Richter