For financial advisors looking to initiate a relationship with a prospective client, the real competitor is the status quo. It is not any other company, organization, or individual. It is the status quo of the prospect, i.e. what the prospect is doing right now.
To this extent, the prospecting dynamic mirrors Sir Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion, i.e. an object at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. This means that there is a natural tendency for prospective clients to keep on doing what they're doing. They resist changes in their state of inertia, because the status quo is easier to maintain.
Status Quo is a Choice
Here’s the other thing. Consciously or not, a prospect’s status quo is their choice. They choose to be where they are. In order to disrupt this status quo, financial advisors must take the initiative and produce some appropriate activity that prompts a reaction from the person with whom you’re dealing with. This reaction tells you who is, and who isn’t, willing to play ball with you.
“Playing ball” is a pretty apt metaphor for what we are talking about. Throwing a ball to someone is an un-ignorable act. When you throw a metaphorical ball in the direction of a prospect, they’ll attempt to catch it…or not. Successful financial advisors focus on those prospects that are willing to play catch.
The First Step in the Sales Process
Lao Tzu, the Chinese philosopher and poet said, “A journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step.” Whatever your sales process is, and let’s hope that yours is not 1000 miles long, the first step is the most important so far as identifying prospects who are motivated to play ball with you.
Thinking about your sales process with your prospects, what is the objective of the first step?
- To establish rapport?
- To learn the needs and concerns of the prospect?
- To what makes them tick and how they process information?
- To qualify the prospect?
All of these objectives sound reasonable and convincing. Yet, we have observed that the objective of the first step of the sales process is much, much simpler.
The objective of the first step in the sales process is little more than…to get to the second step.
Assuming that you agree with the status quo premise, this makes perfect sense. Disrupting the status quo means that financial advisors want to create some forward momentum with the prospect. Forward movement means moving from Step #1 to Step #2…in partnership with the prospect.
A Fatal Flaw
It might seem obvious, but the partnership qualifier is critical. If the prospect is not moving through the steps with you, you’ve got nothing. Too often, we see financial advisors who get the first step wrong because they assume that the prospect is “playing ball”, but they really aren’t. If someone is not in tandem with you, by definition they aren’t a real prospect.
Coaching Tip: Take a look at all of the prospects in your pipeline. Ask yourself the simple question, “Are they playing ball with me?” If they aren’t, regardless of their appeal and assets, are they truly a prospect for you?
We trust this helps.