You’ve made great strides to prepare for this moment. You have a client in your office, and they’re ready to hear what you have to say. Now it’s time to prepare for the close.
To give you the tools you need to help you write more business and grow your practice, we talked to a $30-million producer. The seven tips below are what this advisor uses to close with prospects at his conference room table every day.
1. Put It All Out There
It’s important to share both the positive and negative aspects of the products you’re selling so that your clients know what they’re investing in. When you explain the downsides to your product, you have the ability to present them in a positive light before your client hears negative information from another advisor.
For those who sell and recommend Fixed Index Annuities, remember that your product speaks for itself. Even after surrender charges, market value adjustments, and bonus recaptures, clients can grow their retirement money with protection not offered in the market.
2. Know When to Hold ‘Em and When to Fold ‘Em
The second secret to becoming a closing machine is to recognize when you have the opportunity to close, and when it’s time to pull back and give the clients the space they need to finalize their decision.
If the clients aren’t answering questions directly, if they seem visibly uncomfortable or fidgety, or if one spouse seems ready to leave, give them a little more time to decide. If it seems like spouses aren’t on the same page in the decision to move forward, bring it up carefully with a comment like, “I don’t want you to proceed unless you’re both on board and feel this is what’s best for your family.”
3. The Nudge
There are times when prospective annuity purchasers need a little nudge to get them to commit to moving forward with a decision they already know is best for their financial situations. People procrastinate, and your job is to help them move forward.
This is the difference between an educator and a true advisor. An educator is more concerned about dispersing information. An advisor not only wants to educate but help their clients move forward in a direction that will most benefit their financial futures.
Nudging is a delicate process, and should only be used if closing is a matter of when and not if. We’ve all heard the concern, “Should I wait for the market to recover before I move my money?”
Waiting for the market to recover would be a good idea if you were advising them to retreat and go strictly into fixed accounts. However, this strategy is a new way to participate in market returns. The main difference is if the stock market goes down, you won’t have negative market risk. If the stock market skyrockets, you’ll participate in those returns.
The closer: “You tell me when you want to stop accepting market risk. My recommendation is yesterday!”
4. Sell Yourself
Selling the product is fine, but it’s something every advisor who can read an informational booklet can do. You have to sell what it is about you and your company that your competitor can’t match.
What makes you so much better to work with than the guys down the street? Incorporate this into your close!
- Do you have strategic partnerships with CPAs, attorneys, or banks?
- Do you offer personal touches like driving to your clients’ homes for visits and annual reviews?
- Are you an advisor with a big office and a staff to continually support your clients’ needs? (Either answer can be made into a positive!)
- Are you an author or educator at a local campus?
Use and share what makes you the best.
5. Don’t Over-Close
As mentioned in secret No.1, it’s important to give your clients all the product specifics — the good, the less good, and the great. That being said, know when the hook is set and avoid over-closing.
For example, when someone is sold on the base product, avoid going over the intricacies of an income rider, and explain how the base product’s crediting methods function.
It’s a great idea to mention all the benefits, but once they’re sold, something like a 7% bonus can become an “Oh, by the way…,” as opposed to a key feature of the product.
6. It’s Not Over Until It’s Over
Closing any annuity or life insurance policy is a process, not a static event. The process is unique from client to client depending on their source of funds, whether it’s qualified or non-qualified money, and/or underwriting requirements. Until funds are moved, policies are issued, commissions are received, and free look periods are over, nothing is final.
- What is your process for tracking all of these events?
- Do you know the average time it takes you and your company to move money?
- Do you have regular contact with these folks during the money-moving process?
Look at your model. Do you have a system? Will that system run independent of you if you happen to be gone for a week? If the answer is no, you run the risk of losing a client due to lack of organization and structure.
Believe in what you’re selling. Learn it and know it better than anyone else. Ask yourself the tough questions, and role-play the resolutions with someone you trust. Believe that you are the best advisor and that no one will take better care of your clients than you. Make sure these beliefs are coming across with every prospective and existing client you meet with.
Customers crave confidence. They want to be assured that you know your stuff and that they can trust you. Live up to that trust, and take it seriously.