To maximize your results and progress to the next point of contact, do what the most successful advisors do: Have a smart script and be prepared to use it. Being scripted isn't about being canned, it's about being prepared for your conversations so they flow better and your prospects have a better experience. To avoid sounding canned, follow these two simple rules:
- Read the script so many times that you no longer sound like you're reading it.
- Practice in the real world. To master anything, you have to be willing to look foolish.
Practice and preparation are only half of the equation; the other half is having a smart script. Here are five ways to tell a smart script from a dumb one.
1. A smart script arouses interest. A dumb script (such as, "Hi, I'm a financial advisor.") causes people to say, "I already know what you do, and I already have one of you. I don't want to talk to you because I'm afraid you'll try to sell me something." A smart script causes your listeners to be curious, interested and eager to talk. When you tell them what you do, you articulate it in a way that will cause them to ask, "Oh, you help people make smart choices about their money. How do you do that?" "You're a life insurance advisor who specializes in money. Tell me more about that." A smart script triggers a conversation instead of a preconception.
2. A smart script is all about them. A dumb script is product or advisor centered; it tries to impress people by talking about your background, credentials and designations. Another dumb script is the presentation script. It's filled with lists of features and benefits, ways to handle rejection and closes that must be memorized. A presentation script is much harder to deliver than a smart script, because you have so many lines to learn.
Clients are much more interested in the fact that you care about them and come across as confident and competent. A smart script is all about them; there's no hidden agenda. You're not using some cleverly designed language just to sell products. You're not making superficial chitchat. Instead, it's obvious that you're trying to help people make good decisions that will allow them to achieve their goals for the reasons that are important to them. A smart script is all about discovery. You really have very little to say, because the clients should be doing all the talking. You just need to know which questions to ask and how to move the conversation forward.
3. A smart script has a purpose. A dumb script lacks direction. A smart script has a point and doesn't waste the client's time. Here's a simple example: "Hi, Stan. It's Bill Bachrach calling. Did I catch you at an OK time? I'm calling because we met on November 15 and completed your Financial Road Map. We decided at that point that it wasn't time to take action, but I promised to follow up on December 19, so here I am calling as I promised I would to determine if you'd like to move forward or not."
Notice that the conversation is deliberate and the subject matter predetermined. A smart script doesn't leave things ambiguous and open-ended. A smart script leads prospects to the next step, such as scheduling an appointment. Even if they say, "I'm going to have to think about this and get back to you," you can say, "That's no problem. When should I expect to hear from you?"
A smart script talks about values, goals and what's important to the client.
4. A smart script has a clear agenda. A dumb script is designed to scare people into buying products to overcome their fears. I was trained by people who perfected those kinds of scripts. They taught mantras like: "Dig 'em a hole and throw 'em a rope." "Find a need and fill it." "Paint them out of the corner you've backed them into with your product or service." You can motivate people by fear with a dumb script, but most people would prefer to be inspired. A smart script talks about values, goals and what's important to the client. It offers to build a bridge to a positive future.
When you make an initial contact, you should have obtained meaningful information about the prospect from the person who referred him. You can incorporate that information into your smart script. For example, if you know the prospect has four children, you might say something like, "Stan, your friend suggested we get together because there are some concepts in Values-Based Financial Planning that could help you provide a better future for your children, Mary, Jenny, Peter and David. Did I catch you at an OK time?" Notice that I called the prospect by name, made sure it was an OK time and stated my purpose clearly.
5. A smart script has a specific call to action. I'm famous for telling people not to reinvent the wheel. There are internal training programs and external resources that can help you develop a smart script. The key is to find a process or system that works for you. Too many people try to take bits and pieces from myriad systems and make them into something for themselves, and that doesn't work. Choosing and implementing one system as it is designed will produce results. The point is get a system, have a process and memorize that process. The script is what you say and do to make the process work, and there are plenty of processes out there.
© Bill Bachrach, Bachrach & Associates Inc. All rights reserved.
Bill Bachrach is a speaker and the author of four industry books, including It's All About Them: How Trusted Advisors Listen for Success. For information about The Trusted Advisor Coach program, 3-Day Values-Based Selling Academy or other resources (including a free Trusted Financial Advisor e-newsletter), call 800-347-3707 or visit www.bachrachvbs.com.