7 HOT Buttons Your Ideal Financial-Planning-Prospect Desperately Wants You to Push

Picture this. 

You’ve had a bad day. Just about everything was a hassle.

Your best client is complaining, the weather is bad, and you think you’re coming down with a cold.

Your prospect didn’t arrive (without calling you) and the cab sprayed you with water as it drove by without stopping.

You’re completely entitled to the bad mood that’s enveloping you.

On the way home, the phone rings. It’s a good friend, someone you haven’t heard from in a while. He’s just calling to tell you what a great guy you are, how much you mean to him. He doesn’t want anything other than to say hi.

And then you open the door to your apartment and you see that your wife has invited six of your favorite people over for a surprise-for-no-reason dinner party. The room is filled with smiles and love and the smell of your favorite meal.

How do you feel now?

Now picture your prospects coming to your office. How do you want them to feel?

Ever heard the story of Kodak?


George Eastman, the founder of Kodak, asked his sales force a simple question: “What product are we selling?”

The sales force was puzzled. “Cameras,” said one. “Pictures?” asked another. “Film,” said yet another.

“No, my friends,” said Eastman. “You’re all wrong. We’re not selling any of those. Those are just the byproducts. A camera is a piece of hardware that anyone can make.”

We’re selling memories. Memories of good times. Memories of family. Memories of good times. We are creating memories

Leap forward to today.

Today everyone carries high-tech smartphones equipped with cameras so we can share our happiness instantly. But with all these high-tech advances, what are people buying?

Right. Memories.

Recollections of family fun. Souvenirs of self-achievement. Replays of valued emotional moments. Joys of discovery.

The point?

People don’t buy what you sell, they buy how it makes them feel ~ Bernadette Jiwa

It makes them feel ….. better, smarter, more beautiful, safe, loved, and on and on.

Now, that may sound a bit fluffy. And because I know you are a rational person, I’ll explain.

What are your Customers Happy to Pay for?

Financial planners often get stuck figuring out what people will pay for, rather than what’s valuable. Value has little to do with price. It’s about your customer’s perception of what the benefit is worth to them. It’s your job to deliver something that they care about beyond the price.

To deliver value, then, financial planners need to generously focus on what their customers want.

You don’t find customers for your service. You find service for your customers ~ Seth Godin

And this is difficult!

You see, while customers may express a physical, logical reason for buying your financial planning service, often it’s not the real reason they actually buy it.

In fact, it turns out that there are two reasons why people buy your financial planning service:

  1. The rational reason (left-brain)
  2. The real reason (right-brain)

Your customers may say they buy because of rational reasons and logic. But consumers are neither rational nor consistent in their purchasing behavior. In fact, it turns out that 95% of people’s buying decisions are based on emotions. People aren’t buying the facts about or features of your service. They might use these to justify their decisions, but your customers are mostly making choices based on emotions.

The value you deliver is in the intangibles; the things that money can’t buy. Feelings of connections, happiness, safety, security, and belonging.

In the factory we make cosmetics; in the drugstore we sell hope – Charles Revson, co-founder of Revlon

Here are some examples:

Fashion accessories 

  1. Rational reason: Functional value
  2. Real reason: Affinity with social groups


  1. Rational reason: To look good
  2. Real reason: Be the best you can be


  1. Rational reason: Basic need
  2. Real reason: Sexuality

Doctor’s visit

  1. Rational reason: Treat an illness
  2. Real reason: Control over health

Diamond ring

  1. Rational reason: Express love
  2. Real reason: Control over loved one

Financial Planning

  1. Rational reason: To reach financial goals
  2. Real reason: It depends on the HOT button 

The “Hot Button Principle”

“Hit the heart, and the head will follow”.

That’s the principle in one sentence. Win the hearts of your customers and their minds will follow. The key is to know your customer’s hot buttons. You can even choose the hot button you want to use (because it brings you ideal clients), and base your service on it.

The reason why hot buttons work so well, is that you’re dealing with humans. And as 60 years of science proves, humans buy more on emotion than any kind of logical thought process.

Via Hot Button Marketing: Push the Emotional Buttons That Get People to Buy

“The Hot Button Principle means you stand on the same emotional footing your customer does. Instead of making your prospects change their behavior and opinions to adapt to your service, you adapt to your customers, learn their thought process, and find out what keeps them awake at night.

Identifying and then fulfilling a consumer’s emotional need is much more effective and less expensive, in terms of money, time, and reputation, than the traditional corporate mentality of “we made it, now sell the features and the physical benefits”. 

By establishing the hot button link that wins the heart and minds of consumers, you make your service something of great emotional value.”

Now, this doesn’t mean you don’t need to pass along information about your financial planning service. That’s important too of course.

But you also want your prospect to feel a certain way about your service.

You want to impress them, get them excited and encourage them to buy it. The better job you do at making them feel, the more influential you are, and the better the chance of getting what you want.

So, you might wonder….how?

Before You Start

The key to make your prospects feel something is to know exactly what they’re going through. Show them that you understand their concerns.

The basis for this is not some collection of ideal demographic characteristics, but four simple drivers of human behavior: dreams, desires, fears and frustrations.

If you know your target audience’s biggest dreams, deepest desires, most paralyzing fears and most frequent frustrations, then you hold the keys to a passionately engaged audience.

7 HOT Buttons Your Financial-Planning-Prospect Wants You to Push

Since starting this blog, a lot of financial planners have asked me: “How do I create an emotional connection with my financial-planning-service-prospect?”

“Is there a manual? Or a book I can buy?”

Sadly, not that I’m aware of. That’s why I created this list.

I catalogued all the buttons (with a little help from Hot Button Marketing: Push the Emotional Buttons That Get People to Buy), applied them to our financial planning service, and organised them into categories based on the emotion you want to create, so you can easily find the right way to use them.

It costs nothing. All I ask in return is you share it with your friends when appropriate, helping it reach the people who need it most.


One warning though: hot buttons are defined by its ability to make you feel. If they are making you feel icky, that just proves their power…:-)

1) Help people feel in CONTROL

Control is one of the strongest hot buttons. It’s also the one that’s very easy to apply to your financial planning service. It’s an insurance policy that’s going to make your customer’s life better by taking care of their money issues.

Loss of control is synonymous with the fear of the unknown. People equate loss of control with loss of power over one’s own destiny – or of the destiny of one’s loved ones. They fear they’ll become victims.

That’s why you’re not selling financial planning, you’re selling security. People who want security most of the time don’t want to change. If you have an innovative (new) financial planning service, you’re probably not going to attract people who want to be in control.


  • Remind people financial planning is well worth the money
  • Build trust before you begin to sell your service
  • Be authorative (write a book, start a blog, give presentations)
  • Reassure your customers of others satisfaction with stories almost identical to your prospect’s circumstances

Words you should use

  • Backed
  • Cancel anytime
  • Certified
  • Guaranteed
  • Proven
  • No obligation
  • No risk
  • Lifetime

2) Help people feel SPECIAL

In other words: status is really important.


Because people buy high-end financial planning services to communicate that they are better than the next guy or are equal to the peer group they aspire to be with. Most planners think this is some kind of snobbism. It’s not. In fact, it has a social function. It’s a reflection of your customers’ need to belong and fit in.

The thing is, that most people won’t admit to buying your service on status-appeal. They usually rationalize it on some other basis.


  • Your office and the way you dress must mirror the status image you’re selling
  • Your service should imply: “This is what you’ll achieve by having this financial planning service”
  • Put your customers on a pedestal
  • Charge a high fee (and don’t be afraid to discount)

Words you should use

  • Elite
  • Exclusive
  • State of the art
  • Unique
  • Quality
  • Dignity
  • Impressive

3) Help people feel RESPECTED

I love this one. It’s the hot button I use myself on this blog. Ever heard me say you’re smart, have lots of knowledge, studied long and hard, want to help people? That’s because I respect you. I believe in you.

People who want to feel respected are typically babyboomers. They are entering another phase in their lives. Saying: “This is my chance to be happy”. They were taught that by working hard and living up to others’ expectations in society and at work, they would ultimately achieve a comfortable retirement. Many have discovered that just isn’t true. And, now, they’re saying, “It’s time to look after me and what I want, because apparently no one else is going to.”

They also have a greater concern for their legacy, relationships, maintaining a purposeful existence for as long as they live. In other words: they want more meaning in their lives.


Words you should use

  • Time saving
  • Lifestyle
  • Respect
  • No hassle
  • No gimmicks
  • You decide
  • Fast service

4) Help people feel SMARTER

Ever heard this quote: “Half of knowledge is knowing where to find it”?

And finding it is one of the great enjoyments of life. Better-informed customers make more and better decisions. For example to do business with you 🙂

Smart planners know how to make a prospect feel smart for buying their service. They know that their prospect wants people to recognize their intelligence.


They make them want to learn more about financial planning. They listen to their customers and try to fit their service into what prospects want. Now, you might think: “This whole blog is about fulfilling right-brain potential and the irrationality of people buying financial planning, and now we’re talking about appeals to the left-brain?

In a word: yes.

People want to believe they are smart – and, they want others to think they’re smart.


  • Teach them something their neighbors, friends, colleagues, and even Google doesn’t know
  • Prepare yourself with material from respected independent sources (even other financial planners is ok)
  • Don’t contradict your prospect, even if they’re wrong
  • Remind them how smart they are

Words you should use

  • Did you know?
  • How to
  • WOW
  • … Things You Don’t Know about …..
  • What you Ought to know about ….

5) Help people feel like SELF-ACHIEVERS 

Most financial planners sell advice and people are willing to pay for it. It is that simple. This system always worked in the old world because there was no alternative. But now we live in tge age of DIY. Do It Yourself.

So, why hire a financial planner?

Because you’re not adviseing. You’re empowering.

Not talking, but listening.

Not managing, but leading.

Leading people to more success, towards fulfilling their dreams. People who are self-achievers want to stand out, but have difficulty pursuing their goals without support. They want someone who cares about them. Who gives guidance and encouragement. So that they can achieve new heights.


Words you should use

  • “Picture yourself a success”
  • “Fulfill your potential” (sounds familiar…:-) )
  • Do It Yourself
  • Personal
  • Be all That You Can Be
  • Self-identity

6) Help people feel NURTURED

This might be a hooray-moment for many financial planners. Why? Because you might care a lot about your client’s well-being. Well, here’s the good news: your clients care about you too (if you nurture them).

Empathy and empathetic situations are key drivers of the nurturing hot button.

Ever used the “classic” approach of negative selling (“What happens when you die?”)? Stop doing it immediately and be empathetic by giving care, comfort, growth, and support to your prospects and clients. Protect them from harm.


  • Touch your prospects (on the arm…)
  • Focus on the relationship
  • Provide solutions in your communications
  • Make your service a learning experience

Words you should use

  • Well-being
  • Relationship
  • Care
  • Connection
  • Comfort
  • Growth
  • Enrich
  • Heart and soul

7) ….

So, I promised you 7 HOT buttons, I know. But before I give you HOT button number 7, I’d like to ask you a small favor:

If you want to discover and learn about a new and innovative way to uncover your prospect’s reasons for buying your financial planning service, the only thing you have to do is to answer the following – scary – question:

How do you feel about me? 

(me = Ronald; the guy who writes the stuff you just read)


Then, I will finally reveal the state of the art HOT button number 7. Right now.

Please, answer this scary question by leaving your comment – here below – and you’ll receive a FREE pdf with:

The New and Innovative Way to Uncover Your Prospect’s Reasons for Buying your Financial Planning Service with the State of the Art HOT Button number 7

And please, be brutally honest with me. Thank you for your comment.

Let’s make financial planning matter.

Ronald Sier


Leave a Reply 86 comments

Evan Reply

Well said and very timely!

Brian Reply

You are righting much of what I am thinking about when it comes to effective marketing and working with people to achieve their success. I really appreciate you doing the work of figuring some of tis out for me.

Jim Reply

You help balance the scale of right-brain, left-brain discussion for advisors!

Eusta Cler Reply

Well Done!

Jim Reply

You really are different from the rest.

Irvine Reply


You have shown me a different perspective to prospects\’ minds. Keep doing that!

Martin Reply

Inovativní and interesting. Great For my opiji on.

Gregor McDonald Reply

Interesting and thoughtful topics

David Reply

You seem to have a good grasp on human psychology, especially of financial planners 🙂

Michael Anthony Curan Reply

This is a very informative blog. I stumbled on it upon browsing google because I\’m a new financial advisor and have not much of an idea on how to approach new prospects.

Cynthia Reply

Ron, I think you are an impressive person and youre helping many with your articles. Keep up the excellent work!!

Erik Olson Reply

Ron, I\’m sure my impression will evolve as I read more of what you\’ve written, but so far you seem to be a creative, thoughtful, earnest professional who is most directly helping financial planners with understanding and articulating their value to clients and prospects.

John Reply

A unique asset to the financial planning community.

em Reply

Well done!

Tom G Reply

I really enjoyed your post. I look forward to the pdf! Best, Tom

Val Reply

I really enjoyed your article! Thanks!

Elke Touchette Reply

Ron, I think you are spot on. Providing detailed financial plans and reviewing them on a regular basis, along with providing investment management for my clients shows them how a disciplined process makes them successful from a rational point of view. The feelings of control, empowerment, peace of mind, relief, and other feelings they experience, however, are immeasurable. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

John Dankovich Reply

Your comments highlight that what financial planners do is help others gain clarity about their needs, desires and experiences, not sell products. Thanks.

Simon Glazier Reply

Ron, I appreciate that you\’ve taken the time to impart your thoughts and approach to financial planning. It was sufficiently in line with my own opinion of financial planning (though far better articulated), without being wrapped up in hype or salesmanship that I was unusually impressed. I\’m glad this one dropped into my emails today.


P.S. I\’m not an advocate of the Right Brain/Left Brain argument from a scientific point of view, but as for an analogy I\’m willing to accept it.

Neal Reply

Incredibly meaningful content

Martin Higgins Reply

I think your work is awesome. I\’m glad I found your site!

David de Freitas Reply

Ronald, This is the first time that I have read your blog and I have found it very interesting and relevant to what I do and the way I want to develop. Thanks for your input. David

YC Reply

Hi Ronald
Your passion resonates in your sharing. You\’ve made things so simple and sensible.
I enjoy reading and learning from you.
Thank you.

Chris Reply

Ron, I always enjoy your articles because you see things in a very different light to me. I have over three years of paraplanning experience and am very strong in the \’Left Brain\’ side of financial planning. But if I want to take the next step in my career I need to develop my \’Right Brain\’. The experience and wisdom you share through your articles helps me to achieve this!

Lenny Hirst Reply

Great thoughts Ron. I like how you remind us that we need to think like our clients and prospects. The \”Tips\” and \”Words\” were a great addition. Thanks!

Dan Reply

You have hit some of my hot buttons and have enpowered me to dig deeper to create my selling/connecting philosphy.

Theo Reply

Another great article Ronald and it\’s quit hard to find some negatiev critic because everything you published till now is just so accurate, positive, true and useful in our everyday work. Maybe one thing, your blogs are quit long, but on the other hand, who cares?
As I mentioned earlier already, my deepest compliments and keep up the Good Work (please)

Andrew Reply

So true…and so relevant for me right now! It helps refocus our communication with our clients.
Thank you Ronald

Monica Reply

Thanks for synthesizing the positive way to build a financial planning practice – love your thinking and your posts, Ronald!

Dave Reply

Ronald, you have provided much thoughtful and useful information to help me and other financial planners to better relate our services to our clients and prospects. Thank you so much for sharing!

Chris Reply

Thank you for consistently articulating the benefits and value of a financial planner.

Beau Reply


Your request was for us to be brutally honest. The loads of comments posted are positive, as they should be. I\’m having a hard time critiquing anything you\’re doing. I hope your bucket forever continues to be filled. So you can continue to create ideas and share them with us!

Nik Reply

Hi Ron
You are so refreshing from the others. You get it. It is all about adapting to the client and delivering a great service to them.
Thank you for sharing your views.

Phil Reply

Ron it is great to see new ideas and new ways of operating in the 21st Century. I\’m sure your blog will help me charge the correct level of fees without the need to apologise for these.

    Ronald Sier Reply

    That\’s right Phil. In fact, I\’ll be telling you more about that in the coming months. Keep an eye on your inbox.

Alex Reply

Hi Ronald

You explain the stuff I want to know but was afraid to ask.



Yogin Sabnis Reply

I have been reading your posts for some time now. I continuously marvel at how you can simplify and lucidly put forth seemingly complex ideas.
I am able to glean a lot of learnings from your posts.

Andreas Reply

Ronald, I enjoy reading your blog more than any other. I would be interested though, in how much time you work with clients and how much time you spend writing articles.

    Ronald Sier Reply

    I still work about 36 hours per week on clients. And the rest of my time I spent mostly on my family and my blog. This article was about 10-hours work. Luckily for me I don\’t publish every week 😉

Thomas Reply

Hi Ronald,

great Content as always! I wish you could write in German too. 🙂
Keep on rolling, Thomas

Glenn Reply

Ron, love reading your blogs, people buy on emotion and what we provide is a means to realising their values, keep up the great work.

David Reply

Challenging (in a good way – so we can review & continually improve)!

Shane Reply

Like reading your posts – they are practical and insightful.

Ben Reply

Ron thanks for your thought-provoking blogs. I always enjoy reading them and thinking of ways I can use them in my business.

Tony Reply

Thanks Ron,
I feel you are passionate about connecting with clients for the right reasons and I am aligned with that view.

Kim Reply

Another great article Ron – your emails are always read, rather then put in the \”to read later basket\” – you have my respect for the work you do!

James P Reply

Fantastic information, ego-less author. Like it when you use stories. Has really made me understand the importance of relatability and emotional draw when giving advice. Thank you!

Marc Reply

I feel you have a deep understanding about what clients are really looking for, and how we can best serve them. I\’ve been following you for a long time, and I\’ve learned a lot from you. Thank you for your insights.

Peter Reply

Thanks Ronald,

Your blog makes me realise how much difference I can make in my prospects life and how much work I need to do to be a more effective and influential communicator of the value I provide.

Yianni Theodorou Reply

Ronald, you always makes sense to me, as everything you say feels right. I don\’t have to think about what you say, it is natural, real and true to life, which makes it even more valid and credible to me. I tend not to comment much about people in this industry (unless it\’s not recorded anywhere that is!) but I take great pleasure in making a comment about your good self. It would be fantastic if there was ever an opportunity to meet up with you one day. Thank you and keep up the great work.

Don Reply

What is meaningful to you? Why do you make time to blog when you could be applying what you teach?

    Ronald Sier Reply

    In short: It gives me energy to do this Don. I\’m this kind of guy who loves to do new things. So, be prepared for the future 😉

Dennis Reply

Ronald, I enjoy reading your posts as you have the ability to quickly summarize and outline key points or tips that make certain people in our profession successful. One comment, you seem to joke about your fluffy side a bit, when in reality it is a quality that differentiates you from the rest. Keep up the great work!

Mark Reply

Ronald, I feel that you are a man who cares passionately about his chosen professional and who is doing an admirable job in re-educating his fellow professionals. Some of it is plain, good old-fashioned common sense…..nonetheless we are but human and so forget these things as time passes us by. Thus we need a \’gentle\’ reminder now and then. Much appreciated.

Francois Meyer Reply

You have have just showed us that you can, put yourself in the shoes of your clients, looking at the solution through their eyes and yours.
Wishing you enough!

bo Reply

You have the guts to challenge and go beyond the status quo.

Al Reply

That you are committed to your beliefs!

Amar Pandit Reply

Greetings Ron,

I feel that you make financial planning really matter….You are doing justice to your sign off (\”Let\’s make financial planning matter\”)…Excellent stuff…

In Pursuit of your Happiness,


Justin Reply

I really enjoy reading your post Ronald, it\’s valuable and insightful.

bert Reply

Ron, you are a thoughtful and interesting guy who seems genuinely
interested in helping to bring the right brain alive in our financial planning

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