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Knowing When (& What) To Dangle

Summertime Selling Skills

We’re almost at the halfway point in my Summertime Selling Skills series, where I dissect and comment on the top 10 mistakes advisers make at the first meeting.

As we return back from the sunny Bank Holiday, I’m talking about the subject of balance, and knowing when to shut up, and when to give!

First Meeting Mistake 4:

Not Giving Enough At The Right Time

I know I’ve told you to do “less telling” (or to shut up in other words), but there is a phase of the meeting where doing a little bit of telling can be useful.

Assuming you’ve asked some great questions and found out lots about the client’s situation, I believe it is important to not only feed back what you’ve heard to ensure you’ve got it right, but to also dangle a few ideas, wins or strategies (at the highest level) to demonstrate to the client they’ve come to the right place. This doesn’t have to be too detailed but it has to be enough for the client to see some wins.


So that when you then hit them with how much it costs to do the initial work, they have some understanding of the potential value you will add.

Don’t get me wrong, asking the great questions and letting the client answer is the magical part of the meeting, and should create the rapport you are looking for, but being able to dangle some carrots late in the meeting shows that:

  1. You listened when they spoke

  2. You understand the clients’ issues

  3. You can help them resolve these issues

  4. You are a genuine professional

For example, a client approaching retirement has given you a good overview of their assets and liabilities along with an insight into how they want to live their lives after retirement. You then sum up as follows:

Adviser: “The key issues I’ve heard are that firstly you need a clearer understanding of ‘how much is enough?’ We have to work out your retirement number. Once we know that we can work out where you are in relation to that number.”

Client: “That’s right.”

Adviser: “In relation to your pensions we need to look more closely at your various pension pots and determine how much they’ll contribute to that and if they are well structured. Correct?”

Client: “Yes”

Adviser: “Just on that subject I can see a potential quick win here. If we can move these two pensions into a lower cost scheme we may be able to reduce your overall fee structure by 0.5% pa. On the money you have invested that should save you around £800 per year. Also, if we can alter the ownership of that life insurance policy that will remove it from your estate and save around £160,000 in estate taxes. Now don’t hold me to all of this because I’ll need to build some financial models and check in with recent changes to legislation, but can you see how we might be able to add some real value here?”

Client: “That sounds great.”

Adviser: “And thirdly, we will need to create a model that shows that you won’t run out of money even if one or both of you live to a ripe old age. If we can put a plan together that addresses these key issues will you feel like you’ve come to the right place?”

Client: “Absolutely, that’s what we’re looking for.”

Adviser: “Ok, let me tell you how it all works.”

…you then explain your fees and the next steps in the process.

Some advisers believe they should tell the client nothing of value at the first meeting but, once again, I believe this is a mistake. You don’t want or need to tell them everything that you might be thinking of, but a little carrot dangling of some value at this early stage can help clients feel comfortable in engaging you for a substantial fee.

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