Most advisors have heard the saying: Ask and you shall receive.
It’s true. If you ask your clients to give you more of their money to manage and take the right approach, you’ll get it.
But most advisors don’t ask-either not at all or only sporadically.
IT’S OUR JOB TO ALWAYS ASK ABOUT NEW ASSETS EVERY TIME WE HAVE A DISCUSSION WITH A CLIENT.
The biggest reason we don’t is fear-fear of rejection, fear of upsetting clients, fear that we don’t know how to do it right. Ironically, the second reason is overconfidence-the delusion that we already have all their assets and that our clients would let us know immediately if they come into more money. Fat chance! This is a deadly belief system: Industry surveys show that the average advisor handles well under half of his clients’ assets.
Procrastination and fear of success also stop us. We get into a comfort zone and say to ourselves, “I’ll do it next quarter.” Finally, we may have self-esteem issues and feel we don’t “deserve” more money and thus shouldn’t ask for it.
Question, question, question
It’ our job to always ask about new assets every time we have a discussion with a client. A doctor never assumes a patient’ health hasn’t changed. Similarly, we shouldn’t make assumptions about the health of our clients' wealth.
First, find out what you have to work with and who your competitors are. Ask clients these key questions:
- Do you have another broker or advisor? If so, who? Do you have an account at a discount brokerage? Which one?
- Do you participate in a 401(k) plan? If so, what type?
- Where do you do your banking?
- What types and amounts of insurance do you have?
- Do you have a will?
Assess the competition
If the client has another advisor, ask him what the advisor does that he likes, what he needs to improve on and if he handles his entire financial portfolio.
Don’t knock the other advisor. Instead, get the client to recognize the gaps in his planning. Learn what the client may want to do in the future. Keep your antenna tuned to off-the-cuff remarks that may convey more meaning than their face value. Write these remarks in your book.
Remember that you’re not selling products. A product focus implies: “This is what I can sell you. Do you want it?” Instead, you’re aiming to become the client’s advisor and help him increase and protect his wealth.
Go for the ask
Now that you have a clear picture, you’re ready to ask for more assets. Consider asking these questions: “What has to happen to give me an opportunity to work with more of your assets?” or “Can we get together at your office or mine and do more business?”
For clients, the main barrier to moving assets is fear of change and fear of putting all their eggs in one basket. Some may not want to break off an existing relationship. We have to help them overcome those fears and get them to take action.
Consider the psychology of decisions. Big decisions are scary; making a series of small decisions is easier. Let’ say you’re managing $100,000 for a client who has $1 million to invest. If you ask for the other $900,000, you’re asking him to make a big decision. He’ll probably say no or take a long time to say yes. But if you ask for another $100,000 or so, it’s a lot easier for the client to say yes immediately.
Instead of going for all the client’s assets at once, develop a three-year plan to gradually move all of his assets over to you.
If you analyze your business, you’ll probably find that you don’t need more clients, you just need to get more from your existing customers. With patience and persistence, you’ll succeed. Earn their trust, keep asking and over time you’ll get more of their money to manage. You’ll develop a more profitable, satisfying and manageable practice.
Joseph J. Lukacs, practice strategist and coach to insurance and financial advisors, is the founder of International Performance Group LLC. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 321-255-2889 or www.ipginc.net