Today we will dive into Insight to Increase Sales so you can achieve your goals.
In a recent workshop I attended on strategies to increase sales, the instructor asked, “What is the worst thing a prospect can say when you ask them to do business with you?” Most of the 200-plus consultants and advisors agreed that the worst reply would be, “No, I’m not interested.” On the surface, that appears to be true.
Dig a little deeper and you find that may not be the case. Depending on the “type of prospect” you’re talking to, a response of “no” can actually be the best outcome. Let me explain.
There are three levels of prospects, clients, and even advisors. To improve or double your results, you need to understand the levels and create a process of sifting and sorting through them. We use a one to three scale to rank the different levels.
The first step is to determine where on this scale your prospect spends most of their time.
Level One Prospects
Level one prospects lack accountability and are defensive, rude, and generally unhappy. They gossip, complain, blame others, and have excuses for everything. They have a track record of firing advisors. Regardless of how wonderful you or your firm are, the odds are that you too will be fired. Level one prospects have a need to be right. They don’t listen and spend their time telling versus asking.
Level Two Prospects
These prospects lack focus, time, and/or money often because they’re overextended. The good news is that when the need to hire an advisor arises, they often become a level three prospect. Follow-up is the secret to convert level two prospects.
Level Three Prospects
Level three prospects are ideal clients. They listen, focus on solutions, and are enjoyable to be around. They’re clear on what they want and focus their energies on completing high value activities. When challenges come up, they look for the solution and focus on a quick resolution. They take responsibility for their lives and take action to make things happen. They are loyal and match your ideal prospect profile.
Responses from your prospects offer clues to what they’ll be like as clients
It’s easy to see that you’ll be more productive if you avoid level one prospects and work with level three while following up with level two prospects, until they are ready to commit. Understanding how each type of prospect typically responds will help you focus your energy and increase sales.
Level One Responses
Level one prospects often flat-out say, “No, I do not like or trust financial planners, so I do it all myself.” When they do this, consider yourself lucky!
But another typical level one response is “Yes, but…” When a level one prospect says this to you – and you find yourself actually working with them – prepare to waste a lot of time and destroy your closing ratio.
Level ones will set appointments and miss them. They’ll find excuses not to work with you and do their best to make their problems your problems. When you offer solutions, they’ll spend hours giving you reasons why they won’t work. Some experts believe that their problems are working so well for them that they have no reason to change.
Level ones are the people you need to get out of your business and life – fast. Ultimately, these people (in addition to ruining your well designed marketing plan) also deplete your energy and make you want to switch careers. So unless you want to join them in the insanity club, just get rid of them as graciously and as quickly as you can.
Level Two Responses
When you ask level two prospects if they’d like to meet to review their financial plan or portfolios, they might reply, “No, I’m not interested, now. Please contact me in three or six months.” When you check back with them, there’s a good chance they’ll give you the same kind of runaround but it’s important to keep following up. The best insight for this type of prospect is to create a follow-up campaign that touches them each month or quarter.
At some point, they’ll either become a great level three client or revert to a level one who you can let go. Often, when you start staying in contact with a level two prospect, they’ll hire you to manage their money years later when they sell their small business or come into an inheritance.
Level Three Responses
Level three prospects will respond, “Yes, I’m interested” with enthusiasm. They listen, are accountable, and don’t get defensive.
As you can see, “No, I’m not interested” isn’t the end of the world, as the majority of entrepreneurs and advisors attending that recent training session had assumed. Having a level one prospect tell you “Yes, but…” is far worse!
Your closing ratio will soar once you understand that the best-case scenario is when a level three prospect says, “Yes, I want to start working with you.”
Now that you understand the different levels of prospects and clients, you may wonder how you can attract more level three’s and increase sales.
Attract Level Three Clients by Being a Level Three Producer
Attracting level three prospects and clients requires that you become a level three service professional. Just as you can’t listen to radio station 100.3 if you’re tuned in to 99.9, you can’t attract a level three client if you’re a level one or level two producer.
Follow these four guidelines to raise your practice to a higher level.
First, level three advisors ask questions without planning a response. They want raw input from their affluent clients and prospects that they can use to provide better service. Listening to your prospect will turbo-charge your business and production.
Second, level three advisors know that they’re in a “numbers game.” Their plan reflects this knowledge and they qualify and sift through prospects to get rid of level ones. They focus on filling their pipeline with level three and level two prospects.
Third, level three service providers focus on what they want versus what they don’t want. They’re crystal clear about their desired result. They take the time to create a road map, set affirmative goals, and perform HVFDAs (high-value fixed daily activities) to keep themselves on task. They also understand that once they decide what they want, they don’t have to worry about how it will come to fruition.
Finally, level three advisors understand the importance of a solid foundation. They take time to work on their inner game, get adequate sleep, have an excellent diet, think positive thoughts, and surround themselves with advisors, clients, and referral sources who also operate at a level three.
When you become a level three producer and firm, you’ll not only achieve your goals, but also find that your entire life becomes more enjoyable and fulfilling. All it takes is a little discipline, an understanding of the three prospect types, and a feeling of gratitude when certain affluent prospects tell you they’re not interested.