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Financial Advisors: Do you really want to “pitch” your clients?

By ClientWise | May 24, 2012

I subscribe to
SmartBrief, a service that I find very valuable. The company is on a mission to “save you time and keep you smart.” (Great value proposition, btw.) Each day SmartBrief scours thousands of articles and sends subscribers a compilation of the best-of-the-best. For financial advisors who want to stay on top of interesting, relevant newsworthy items in a well-organized manner, I highly recommend SmartBrief.

The other day, I saw a link entitled, “7 Steps to making the perfect pitch to a potential client.” The link leads to an article in The Sydney Morning Herald entitled “How to pitch to clients.”

Although the article includes a number of pretty good points, I completely balk at the word, “pitch”. (Pun intended)

Here’s why.

First off, I recognize that “pitch” is a word that is deeply embedded within the marketing and sales culture. Think of the various marketing terms with the word “pitch”.

  • Sales pitch
  • Elevator pitch
  • Pitch book
  • Pitchman

Wikipedia defines a sales pitch as “a line of talk that attempts to persuade someone or something, with a planned sales presentation strategy of a product or service designed to initiate and close a sale of the product or service.”

So, what irks me so much about using the word “pitch”

Let’s review the above definition of “sales pitch”. My question to financial advisors is, as you look at this definition, what do you find notable about it as it relates to the client and potential client?

What do you see? Or not see?

Here’s what I don’t see. I don’t see any reference to the client. The focus is entirely on the presenter, the pitch, the talk, the product and service. No mention or attention to the client. None whatsoever!

One of the main problems is that this establishes a hierarchy...that places the salesperson and the client on completely different levels. To the extent that you are a financial advisor who seeks to collaborate with your clients on a non-hierarchical level, as well as creating value by partnering with each other…you won’t get there by using a “sales pitch” or any other “pitch” for that matter.

Words matter. As the financial advisory industry has evolved, as well as the desired partnering relationships that many clients seek from their financial advisor, so should the vocabulary. Certain words and phrases sound "old", and impart an outdated type of relationship between financial advisor and client. In other words, ditch the “pitch”.


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Topics: Communication Marketing Approach Selling

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