Calling the People You’ve Neglected

Every advisor has people in their natural market they didn’t call. It could be ten years into your practice and you still haven’t told someone you care about that you want to be a financial resource to them.

No matter how many times I do a seminar, SOMEONE in the class brings up an important person in their life they didn’t call. Or they tried to get an appointment when they were a new, new advisor and have been “gun shy” since then.

I want to talk about how to approach the idea of calling family and friends you are close to and then give you some wording to consider.

First, the people you are closest to are the hardest to replace, so doing this call properly is critical to the overall success of the relationship. When you have so much to lose if you “blow” this call, then you are too nervous to come up with good words.

The first consideration would be to bring up the idea of getting together professionally when you are with this person in a natural, relaxed environment. Some advisors are MORE scared of this idea because they’re already prepared for rejection. Over the phone is easier than in person rejection. Or so I’m told.

The second consideration is to know that your wording can make you sound like you are selling. Or it won’t. How you approach these people starts with what is going on in your brain. If you can’t get rid of your Sales Monster thought (i.e. My aunt REALLY needs life insurance; my grandmother should get her money into an annuity… that kind of stuff) then you’re going to mess this up no matter what I tell you. As sales people I know that if it’s on your brain, it’s coming out of your mouth.

You have to sincerely believe this is an information sharing meeting. Your relative needs to know what you do. Full stop.

Here are a couple of suggestions for approaching your most neglected people:

1. You’ve been remiss in your professional role

Hi, it’s (your name). I’m calling you because I feel that I have been professionally irresponsible in that I have never called you and offered you my assistance in my professional capacity and I would like to position myself as an additional financial resource to you. In order for you to best figure out how to do that, I’d like to get together and share with you the total scope of the work that I do. That way, you’ll be able to use my experience and knowledge any way you see fit. When can I take you out for a cup of coffee – this week or next?

2. Since you really care about them, you need to meet with them

New Advisor Version:

I wanted to let you know that I started a career as [an agent, financial advisor] at [company] and I decided I am going to build my practice around the people I care about the most. In fact, they asked us to list those people and of course, you were on the top of my list. I’d like to position myself as a financial resource to you and find a time when I can show you the new scope of the work that I do and then you can use me, and all the resources at my disposal, in any way that makes you feel the most comfortable. (Close)

Experienced Advisor Version

I wanted to let you know that in my professional life, I take pride in having a practice that focuses on the people I care about the most. I’ve recently been reviewing who those folks are in my life, and of course, you were on the top of my list. I’d like to position myself as a financial resource to you and find a time when I can show you the new scope of the work that I do and then you can use me, and all the resources at my disposal, in any way that makes you feel the most comfortable. (Close)

3. If you plan to approach people in person, then you might want to start off with an apology. That usually gets peoples’ attention:

Hey, John. I realized that I owe you an apology. (You may want to pause to make sure they heard you correctly.) You know I’ve been in financial services for a long time, and yet I’ve never offered to sit with you (and spouse, if appropriate) and offer to be a resource to you. For that, I’m sincerely sorry and I’d like to make it right by (options: taking you for coffee/lunch OR meeting with you and Sara, or visiting you at your office) and sharing with you the full scope of the work that I do……….

Now you don’t have any more excuses for calling the folks you’ve been neglecting.

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Gail Goodman is known as The PhoneTeacher. Gail has developed the best structured analysis of the appointment setting phone call so that all direct sales people can master this critical skill. Being a great sales person is irrelevant if you’re not sitting with prospects, and Gail’s training materials, on-site seminars, videos and newsletters zero in on the most effective way to understand this critical part of the sales cycle. For almost thirty years, Gail has continually updated her seminar and training materials to keep pace with the changes in our culture. Despite the exponential increase in emailing and texting, the ability to communicate effectively by phone remains an important part of American commerce. Gail addresses the new “digital-personal-vocal mix” which all sales teams must learn to manage in our ever-changing society.