Recently, during one of my group coaching sessions we were discussing the topic of turning strangers into clients with what I refer to as the “9 Step Client Acquisition Process.” After I explained the details of each of the nine steps, we role-played them. After our initial role-play session, one of the advisers said, “You made is sound so natural.” He paused and added, “I need to find my flow.”
He was referring to the ability to seamlessly respond to anything a prospect or client may say in order to take them down the path of helping them understand why they would want to accept his recommendations and ultimately buy them. When you can do this—and practice it often—you will naturally find your flow.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can find yours.
- Finding the Clog: We all have a clog (or two) in our pipeline. It may be getting a first appointment or securing a second appointment or closing the sale. In order to “find your flow” you have to be honest with yourself and find your clog(s). The best way to do this is to ask yourself, “What would need to happen in order for me to find new business?” The easy answer might be, “I need to prospect.” For the sake of argument let’s assume that you are prospecting. Then you need to figure out whether your clog is in your prospecting technique or somewhere else.
- Unclogging the Pipeline: At this stage, it’s important to figure out specific solutions for your specific challenges. For example, if your clog is not getting the first appointment, then a possible solution is to learn how to handle objections better. If your clog confusing clients and prospects because you can’t explain your recommendations in easy-to-understand terms, then your solution is to learn story-based selling. This is the art of using metaphors, analogies or stories to help make a better connection with your prospects/clients. The point is you may need to figure out your weaknesses and do what it takes (training, coaching, finding a mentor) to assist you in mapping out a plan to turn those weaknesses into strengths and thus clear out those clogs.
- Perfecting the Process: When my client pointed out that I sounded natural, I quickly assured him that I didn’t always sound that way. It had taken years of perfecting the process. However, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel—simply learn what has worked for so many other advisers and agents. Customize the process to make it sound like your own, then practice and role-play with a trusted peer or colleague and ask for feedback so you can make additional tweaks to smooth things out.
Turning on the Faucet
Most advisers know that “winging it” doesn’t work. That’s why it’s so important to use the preceding steps to unclog your pipeline and build a better connection with prospects and clients. When you take the time to understand what is not working, how you can work smarter and apply what you learn, you not only help yourself but you help the prospects and clients feel more relaxed and confident because you are more relaxed and confident.
If you read this blog and need help mapping out your “9 Step Client Acquisition Process,” email Melissa Denham, director of client servicing at firstname.lastname@example.org for our complimentary white paper on this topic.
Daniel C. Finley
St. Paul, Minn.