How Financial Planners Engage, Connect and Sell More By Talking Less

shutterstock_94008607 What if you can save at least 60 minutes worth of explanation, reasoning, justification, comparison and analysis in your client interviews? I believe that in the financial planning business there is still a traditional reasoning-centered approach to selling the service. It’s not strange. Most advisors don’t know about the possibilities of right brain selling. I didn’t for 11 years although I continually studied during this period. Are you still using the traditional approach and therefore missing chances to engage, connect and sell more? The traditional approach follows a linear path which goes like this: ABCD Let’s define A, B, C and D as:

A = The service or solution, which we perceive to be the answer

B = Why financial planners think others should buy their service

C = Financial planners add more compelling reasons to buy

D = Get a decision

Financial planners often present a solution (A) that we think or hope will answer client’s needs. We start telling them about features (B) such as taxes, the process or what your sevice is about. Tradtionally, at this point we wait for objections and attempt to meet those objections with more compelling left brain logic (C). Finally, hoping our powers of persuasion and reasoning have prevailed, we invite a decision (D).

A presentation process that relies exclusively on linear left brain logic is inherently flawed. There are 3 reasons for that:

1. it fails because it fails to engage the client’s emotions or imagination. (You’ve got to appeal to people’s emotions. They’ve got to buy in with their hearts and bellies, not just their minds)

2. reasoning-based presentations invite objections

3. step-by-step logical explanations take up valuable time that could be spent listening to your clients

Another problem occurs when we try to get a decision. Clients raise their objections and we answer with more proof. Now their objections go underground and are unspoken. We are now trying to close over these unspoken objections. I believe that this is the reason why clients say they feel pressured to buy something they aren’t sure about. When financial planners tell their clients that they are a Certified Financial Planner CFP), they’re inviting a comparitive objection.

First of all you’re client is probably thinking: “Does that mean anything?”. Second, he’s trying to find an alternative to compare a CFP with. So that you have to explain why a CFP is better than another ‘abbreviation’. Pretty distracting from what you want. You want your client to believe your message so that he’s going to work with you.

Instead of overcoming objections, you want to move your client past them and go to the emotional or imaginative trigger that causes the decision to be made. I call this the ‘right brain approach’. If you are able to tell a story or share a metaphor, video or illustration that hits the right brain emotional bullseye, it minimizes the need for explanation, justification, comparison and reasoning. If your clients don’t have a good feeling about the idea you’re promoting, all the rationalization in the world won’t alter that feeling. You’ll save yourself time and frustration by using well-timed and clearly targeted videos, illustrations and analogies to enlighten your clients.

The right brain approach begins by making your client feel (by for example sharing a story, metaphor, illustration or video) what your client can achieve (A) and inquire whether your service fits their ‘wants’ (D). If, at this point, clients have questions about particular features and analysis, you can work backword to those areas (B). Why spend so much time explaining details that may not be necessary (C)?

‘A sale is never an exchange of goods, it’s a transfer of emotion’ ~ Seth Godin

ABCD_new Once clients are emotionally secure and calm with your service, the issue is settled. They can take the paperwork home and study it if they wish. The best use of your time is for you to get to know the clients. Effectiveness in using your right brain potential is contingent in part on your ability to empahtize with your clients most pressing intangible wants. Financial planners with a strong social radar (empathy) are best at picking up on what clients’ intangible wants are. Clients don’t come to you simply because they want a financial plan. Rather, clients come to you because they want hope, freedom, status, independence, security, peace of mind, stability and simplicity in financial affairs or any other number of intangible wants. You must develop your right brain to pick up these particular needs. This skill can only be developed by being a totally involved listener tuned in to the emotion of the client. Not tuned in to the assets.

If you want to know what the 9 Answers Clients Give After Asking What They Want to Feel are, I’ll send you the PDF with those answers. All you have to do is to answer this question:

What do YOU do to appeal to your clients right brain?

Please, leave your answer here below in the comment field. You’ll receive (within 24 hours) a personal email from me with the 9 Answers Clients Give After Asking What They Want to FeelWith your comment you’ll help me and other readers of this blog with insights. So that we can inspire each other and think together to improve and innovate our financial planning business.

To your success,

Ronald Sier

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Leave a Reply 16 comments

Adriaan de Klerk Reply

Helpful read thank you,

This might sound unorthodox, but I tend to greet my clients with a hug, not a made up hug, but a tightly squeezed one. Most of the time this creates an immediate bond or trust between the two of us.

I used this greeting manner after attending a psychology lecture which was based on familiar love and trust. People only tend to be HUGGED throughout their lifetime by people who care for them and love them eg (mother; father; family; Spouses etc), thus creating a recognizable emotional response. You will receive the odd look or (weird) feeling from clients every now and again, but this will also affect your retention ability as your clients start seeing your competitors as commission chasers only.


Steve Kostovski Reply

I agree that every financial planners has step-by-step process on how they conduct a financial planning service to their clients, from presenting a solution up to final decisions just like the A, B, C and D as well-defined from this article. Thanks for this it really helps.

Monisha Reply

I get my clients open up about what triggered them to move towards financial planning.

Gunasegaran Reply

Hi…. Ronald

My approach is to ask then what is their reasons for engaging
a Financial Planner – what is it that they want to achieve in their life and WHY???

What kind of activities give them Meaning in their Life? Why is that so

Just Listen Listen Listen……

Wendy Reply

in my first meeting with a client i initially build credibility with my experience and qualifications and then move on to the type of lifestyle that the person would like to live and whether they have sufficient capital to support their lifestyle needs. I tend to focus more on the factual aspects of the plan so probably miss a lot of the \’right brain stuff – this is very interesting for me as I view myself as being a very empathetic person.

Prudence Reply

I listen to them and I am honest and open with them. FP is not about the products for me, anyone can sell products. To me FP is about \”how do I help my client/s achieve their dreams?\” When people realise you genuinely care about them and exactly what they are going through the business will flow. Develop the relationship and the products will come.

Mike Leffler Reply

I give people a big picture vantage point with which to view their financial situation. From there, we can work together to achieve what they want to achieve, with the comfort of knowing that they are viewing things holistically.

Melissa Reply

Firstly, thanks to everyone for sharing, I have certainly picked up something new to share with my team. I used to think of each of my clients as a personal family member and appeal to the needs I knew my own family was experiencing at that particular stage of their lives. I would share stories I knew people could relate to and 9 times out of 10 I\’d have the business in the bag in the first 10 minutes. People buy dreams not products. I get the chance everyday to help them realize those dreams.

Milton Toal Reply

I have just sold my FP Practice to focus on building other people\’s businesses but I want to share my approach to client capture which never failed.

\”Good morning Mr and Mrs Big. Is it OK if I start with one question to be sure we are on the same page? OK, then what is it that you want to get as a result of meeting with me today; why have you decided to give up a lot of your valuable time to spend it with me?\”

You can almost hear the hot-buttons rattle on the desk. Write them down.

Next question after the hot-buttons are exposed: \”So if I can provide you with answers to all those questions that are troubling you and my answers are understandable, affordable and acceptable to you, will I get your business?\”

At the end of the interview \”Now are you comfortable that we have ticked off on all the questions you needed addressed? Then I need a week to put together a full report for you to consider so can we please meet again on (date) at (time); is that OK for you?\”

With this approach you should never get objections

Wil Huizinga Reply

Ronald, In the meetings with my clients I use mind mapping to visualize information. I experienced that it supports mine creative processes and I also become a better listener.

Langdon Brown Reply

Selling is relational. Storytelling is an excellent way to convey a message or theme

Helen Reply

Hi, I describe a picture of their life and the benefits to come from restructuring their situation…..I say and this is what it looks like…

Kees Klijsen Reply

I try to life by the following: \’they don\’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.\’

Aloys Harmsen Reply

Ronald, I agree that metaphors work well so that customers understand what we really mean. The pension world can still learn a lot. They think that customers have the ability to connect their pensionproblems to personal purchasing power. In my communication I sometimes work with the \”smileys\”. The expression on the face, very happy to very sad, everyone understands this to their personal financial context.  

Robert Reply

I try to help them imagine the benefits they will experience.

    Ronald Sier Reply

    Thank you Robert. You\’ve nailed it with the words \’imagine\’ and \’experience\’. These words are highly engaging.


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