I believe there's a real problem happening right now in our industry. There's a large number of really smart, talented, savvy advisers who are amazing at what they do, but they just cannot convert prospects into clients. The art of 'selling' as an adviser is truly about having powerful conversations with people, which leads to a conversion and ends with a transformation for that client.
This article is essentially a detailed overview of my robust conversion conversation process, designed to drastically improve your confidence and your conversion rate, which inevitably leads to increasing the fees you are charging your clients - for the phenomenal value you know in your heart you deliver to them.
This methodology is one built on mutual respect and responsiveness. Gaining respect from your prospects, and attaining responsiveness by converting prospects in the first meeting.
So with that said, let's dive right in.
My Conversion Conversation Process...
...helps advisers take a leadership position in their meetings. It helps open up the space for your clients to confide in you and feel comfortable telling you their inner most secrets and biggest problems.
There's really three types of problems your clients might have:
#1 The 'known spoken' problems:
These are the finance problems your prospects have that they speak about. It's the stuff they are happy to tell their friends, their partner, their family, their neighbours etc.
The 'unknown unspoken' problems:
These are the things people just don't know about and don't know to even talk about.
The 'known unspoken' problems:
These are the problems your prospects have, but they've never told anyone else about. It's the stuff that they're too ashamed, too embarrassed, too fearful to tell anyone else about.
Tip - you know you're doing really well in your conversations when you can get your prospects and clients to tell you these types of problems. When you can do this, you've gained their trust, you become their confidante and once you are able to provide them with a solution, they will be jumping to work with you to help them solve these problems.
The 3 Conversion Forces™️
If you're not converting well, it's generally due to an issue of one or both of these. It's either something to do with people skills or process skills. To get better at converting, you need to master your conversion skills, and optimise your processes.
Here's the three forces which, when working well - turns your business into a growth engine.
Part of the conversion process is getting people into the conversion process. These days it's pretty easy to bring prospects into your business with the use of a lead magnet, social media posts, a webinar, a media appearance etc. You need to make sure your messaging and your brand voice is strong enough that when a prospect is ready to take the next step in their financial journey, they will be heading down your pipeline and not elsewhere.
This is your pipeline funnel filter. You don't want to bring just anyone down your pipeline. You want to make sure you have a filtering process so that leads coming down said pipeline are the people you want to work with, while filtering out the people you don't want to work with.
You've got to convert and get good at doing it. Theres two levers you can pull to grow your business - get more leads or convert better. If you ask me, I think it's better and a lot easier to convert than it is to constantly go out there and find new leads. Now what happens when one of these forces aren't working correctly in your business?
If you don't have a really good pipeline - you end up with no prospects to talk to.
If you don't have a really good triage process - you waste time dealing with people you shouldn't be working with.
If you don't have a really good sales/conversion process - you end up squandering opportunities.
And in the reverse, when these forces are working harmoniously...
If you get your pipeline right - you end with a good amount of leads coming through.
If you get your triage right - you end up with the right kinds of prospects.
And if you get your sales/conversion part right - you end up with paying clients.
All of this = Business Growth Engine!!
Five Hot Principles
These principles are about having a really good 'fee for advice' conversation with your clients.
#1 Your meetings have to follow a format
Your meeting needs to have a process and a rhythm. You might call it a good 'flow'. Advisers need to stop 'winging' meetings and expecting things to just 'happen'. It's up to the adviser to lead the conversation and it is here where you want to evoke a 'what's possible' mindset, where you inspire your prospects to think big around what they want to achieve in life and show them you are the conduit to help them achieve those dreams.
Tip: Don't start the conversation with "where are you now?". This kicks the meeting off in a negative frame of mind ("where are you now" is really just code for "tell me the mess you're in right now") where you then have to drag your prospects out of that mindset to get them thinking positively again about what it is they want to achieve in life. It's MUCH easier to start the conversation on a positive note by getting them thinking about what's possible and then bringing it back to street level and evaluating where they are at right now.
#2 Balance 'Teach & Sell'
Let me explain The Coolness Meter™️.
Imagine a graph with an 'X' and a 'Y' axis. The 'Y' axis is your 'coolness' meter. Not how cold you are, but how well you're going in your meeting, how confident you're feeling. The 'X' axis is the 'time' (length) of the meeting.
Here's what happens over the course of a typical meeting from start to end.
In the beginning, you're doing awesome. The line on the graph is going up and up and up (representing your 'coolness'). You're feeling confident. You're feeling really good about yourself, because at this part of the meeting - you're teaching. You're sharing your knowledge, your expertise and you're doing everything that an adviser is comfortable doing. Then something happens at about 3/4 of the way through your meeting. Your coolness meter takes a dive and so does the vibe of the meeting. Why?
Because you've just moved away from teaching, to selling and converting. And at this point, things get weird. When you start talking about your fees, and the work you'll be doing, you get uncomfortable, you get nervous. Because all of a sudden you're not doing what's comfortable and what comes naturally to you. You've moved into 'selling' and you have this unconscious bias that selling is a 'bad' or a negative thing. Of course, its not a negative thing, but we think it is because it's been positioned that way.
You can't just give information and technical stuff for the whole meeting though. At some point you've got to stop talking about them and talking about you. So what do you need to do in this situation?
Don't teach THEN sell. Teach AND sell. You want to be seeding and weaving in the sell as you are teaching, throughout the entire meeting. The teaching part shows them what they want, and the selling part shows them how they can get what they want.
#3 Stretch the gap
You want to stretch the gap further between where they want to be and where they are right now. The better you can articulate this to them and demonstrate how far the gap is between where they are now and where they want to be, the MORE they are going to need you. And when done correctly, they will quickly realise this.
#4 Teach them what to want
Most people don't know what they want. Most people can't decide what they're going to wear today, let alone what they want in life. To get buy-in from your prospects, you have to teach them what they want. To streamline the process in your meetings, I encourage the advisers I work with to adopt a checklist they can go through with their prospects to help them get clear on what it is they want, which correlates to the things/areas you know you can deliver value on.
#5 Engineer the outcomes
If you're not using an agenda in your meeting, you MUST start using an agenda. At the end of the day, either you're in control of the meeting, or your prospect is in control of the meeting. I also encourage advisers to use a physical agenda, and the reason why is this. It's so the client can see clearly everything you've set out to cover in the meeting and beyond, so they can effectively give you the car keys and let you be in the driver seat to take them on the journey.
The 12-step conversion checklist:
This checklist will help you bring structure (with natural flow) to your meetings to gain your prospects respect and put you in the position of becoming their trusted adviser.
Here's a high-level overview of the 12-steps:
- Make sure all the decision-makers are in the room (this has to be positioned before the meeting).
- Set the scene and the expectations of the meeting.
- Frame up the purpose of the meeting and its expected time frame.
- Background questions - understand the 'now' by asking a series of background questions.
- Motivation questions - understand what their motivations, goals and objectives are and what they want to achieve.
- Problem questions - ask what some of the problems are right now.
- Consequence questions - ask what the consequences are of not doing something differently.
- Acknowledgement - ask how they would know if they had achieved their objectives.
- Value questions - ask what it would mean to them if you helped them achieve their objectives.
- Realisation questions - ask what their current plans are to achieve their objectives.
- Timing questions - asking timing-related questions - when they want to get started to achieve their objectives.
- Pause and validate and transition into the conversion process: Pause (let them consider), Stretch (and embrace the silence), repeat back the consequences, give them the 'super' summary, get agreement you've got their problems clear in your head, check-in for value, find out "what's been most helpful so far?" and finish with "If you're happy, would you like me to keep going?".
To summarise, and for maximum success, here are some sales tips that go hand in hand with this meeting format:
→ Don't go in armed with a long list of questions (and sound like a robot). Remember the process is to keep the meeting on track, but let it flow.
→ Remember it's a conversation, not an interrogation. Use question softeners before each question. Learn the skills required to take the edge and the sting off of what might otherwise be perceived as hard or tough questions for prospects.
→ Your tonality will play a big part in the rate of your success. If you have a weak tone or mumble, you will not gain as many clients.
→ Your enthusiasm is really important, and make sure you SMILE.
→ Always book the next steps. B.A.M.F.A.M (Book A Meeting From A Meeting)
→ Finally, remember to be confident, proud and FUN. Be yourself and let your personality and authenticity shine. What's the worst that can happen? Your prospect says no.
If you know in your heart you've put in the work, and followed this framework and they still say no after all of that, they weren't the right client for your business anyway.
- Steve 🤙