‘Effective Communication’ Archive

Kill The ‘Elevator Pitch’

Perhaps one of the most ineffective ideas perpetuated in our industry is the “elevator pitch.”

ElevatorThe idea of the elevator pitch is that you say something so unique and clever that people will want to talk to you about becoming your client. Can you envision it? You just say the magic words and prospects clamor for your business card. It’s so alluring that I’ve been guilty of wanting to believe this is possible myself. However, I have come to recognize that the key to engaging people, especially wealthy people who have lots of experience with financial advisors and institutions, is to ask great questions. Especially in that first 30 seconds … even if you are actually riding an elevator.

People would rather talk about themselves than listen to other people talk. Even as a cold-calling rookie 30 years ago, I remember that nobody hung up the phone while they were talking! And the same is true in person. People don’t become bored talking with you when they are talking. People don’t perceive you as just another typical FA while they are talking. People don’t conclude that they already have all of their financial affairs taken care of while they are talking. People don’t become uninterested in speaking with you while they are talking.

Ask-The-Right-Questions-So what do you do if you literally have that proverbial 30 seconds in the elevator with someone who could become your next ideal client? Or more likely when you meet someone at a cocktail party or fund-raiser? Ask a great question that gets them talking about something that is meaningful, important, significant and compelling to them. Imagine the elevator doors open, they are still talking, and they would like to continue talking to you. They will be much more receptive to your offer to continue the conversation and, eventually, to your offer to take the next step in the journey of becoming your next ideal client.

While this may seem self-evident, very few FAs have developed this skill.

What kind of questions?

First of all, these are definitely not simple-minded conversations about the weather, sports or the news headline of the day. Nor are they questions about the person’s money, the markets, economics or financial planning needs.

In fact, I asked the most interesting and successful people I know to send me their favorite questions and I put them together in a worksheet. I’ve included some of their contributions below:

Scott McKain
www.scottmckain.com
“What’s the one thing you learned growing up that still impacts you today?”

Patricia Fripp
www.fripp.com
“How did you meet and fall in love with your spouse?”

Peter Legge
www.peterlegge.com
“How did you decide to become a ___? What influenced that decision?”

Shep Hyken
www.hyken.com
“What keeps you up at night?”
“What are you reading?”

Dianna Booher
www.booher.com
“It depends on where I am when I ask the question, to whom and the context—serious, private and so forth. Here are three:

“‘Looking back, what would you say has been the happiest time in your life? Now or when you were younger? Or college days? Or just when?’ Then I follow up with, ‘Why do you say that?’”

(The purpose is just to get them talking enthusiastically about a happy time and to find out more about their background.)

“The next question is, ‘What one thing are you most excited about in your business these days?’”

(The purpose is to find out more about the person’s business, learn new ideas—and particularly what they are passionate about.)

The next question, she says is, “‘We’ve known each other for a very long time. There’s one thing I don’t recall ever having talked about … where do you stand on spiritual issues? Heaven forbid and you didn’t wake up tomorrow morning and God asked why he should let you into heaven, what would your answer be?’”

(The purpose of this is to determine spiritual understanding and see if the person is willing to talk about spiritual matters, possibly opening the door for a deeper conversation about what the Bible says about how a person can have a personal relationship with God on Earth.)

Tony Alessandra
www.alessandra.com
“Tell me a bit about your business?”

“What kinds of activities do you like to do outside of work?”

“What are the top three business concerns you’re facing today?”

“What opportunities from us, or your competitors, do you see as being missed or overlooked?”

“What are your thoughts on how the changes and trends in your industry will affect your current and future business?”

The goal of asking questions like these is to move people a step closer to possibly becoming your client without feeling like you are selling, convincing or persuading. It’s all about them.

Bill Bachrach and his team train the best Financial Advisors in the world, and those who aspire to be, to create their Ideal Life, build their Ideal Business, and work with Ideal Clients. Email us at info@billbachrach.com or call 619-255-4888 if you wish to learn more.

www.billbachrach.com

Financial Advisor Magazine Bill Bachrach Two Bridges Article – Part 1

The above video and below text is from the website, Perfect Client reviewing Bill Bachrach’s article, ‘Crossing the Relationship Bridges.’ It’s always nice to hear others giving us a review about our work and how we train the top Financial Advisors in the world, and those who aspire to be. Enjoy!

*We will be doing a 3 part series on the article “Two Bridges” by Bill Bachrach in Financial Advisor magazine.

According to Bill Bachrach, there exist two bridges for clients.

For the first bridge, on one side, clients like you and trust you enough to do some business with you. On the other side of this first bridge, clients trust you so much they give you all of their business.

For the second bridge, on the other side, clients do all their business with you AND they introduce you to their friends, family and colleagues. This entails a very high level of trust since they are risking their relationships by referring you.

But, the key here is getting your clients to cross the bridge. By crossing the bridge, your clients are making a statement about you. You have done the work to make them come to you. Now, how do you get clients to cross the bridge? In this blog post and video, we cover Bill Bachrach’s first two strategies.

1) Don’t be in relationship denial.

As an advisor, you have to come to terms with the fact that some of your very best clients may have money with other advisors.

2) Elevate your client value using these four words:

Visual: Make everything you create visually interesting.

Engage: Engage all parties about their future and the financial decisions needed to make that future a reality.

Compelling: Make every recommendation more compelling.

Experiential: Improve the experience of working with you and every human and non-human element of your process.

But, we believe Bill Bachrach is not addressing a critical piece of the puzzle.

You have to develop the relationship first or else none of these strategies matter. Without a strong and trusting relationship, there is no way you can get your clients to cross these bridges.

Lastly, who are you developing this relationship with? Who exactly do you want to cross these bridges? At Perfect Client, we develop relationships with centers of influence, in most cases CPAs, which provides the benefit of strategic leverage. When you do that, the CPAs’ best clients are going to cross the bridge with them.

Stay tuned for part 2 and 3 of this series!

What Has Financial Training Done For You?

Watch these Financial Advisors share their whole story in the videos to follow.

Learn more about the program at:
http://www.billbachrach.com/top-financial-advisor-training/

Get Started At:
http://www.billbachrach.com/business-accelerator/

Communication Skills: The Key to Getting More Clients and Better Clients in Any Economic Environment

Could your communication skills save your life? According to my colleague in the Speakers Roundtable, Capt. Charlie Plumb, the answer is YES!

He survived 6 ½ years in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp – the Hanoi Hilton. The same luxury accommodations as John McKain, only Charlie was there longer. Here’s what he has to say about communication, “I had been through the survival schools in the military and been told repeatedly, that if I were a prisoner of war to, ‘maintain contact with my fellow POW’s!’ I thought this was very logical. How else could we pass along the escape plans? Much to my surprise, the ‘life saving’ value of communication in the camps wasn’t the information we were passing around, but the simple VALIDATION of another human being! After months of solitary confinement in a very dark cell a person loses track of ones very existence. There is no sounding board … no feedback … nothing to prove that you are real. The simple tapping on a wall (shave-and-a-haircut?) and the response (six-bits) proves your existence. Someone is responding to you! The point for a Financial Advisor: It’s not the ‘data’ that’s the important part of the communication process. It’s the simple validation of an individual and their pain.”

Do not underestimate the power of human connection. Communication is how human beings connect. Check out the rest of Charlie Plumb’s inspiring story at www.charlieplumb.com. And be prepared to stop whining. If he can survive 6 ½ years as a POW you can certainly survive a recession. The quality of your communication skills will help.

You may never rely on your communication skills to save your life, but they are the key to whether or not prospects and clients trust you, whether or not they move all of their money and financial affairs to you, whether or not they follow your advice, whether or not they stick with you during challenging times, and whether or not they refer you and introduce you to others.

Yes, communication skills are vital for financial ad-visors. What you say, how you say it, and when you say it can make all the difference in the world to your success, failure, or mediocrity.

Continue Reading

Working Well

In order to be the highly successful financial advisor that you are capable of being, you must have good work habits. This is crucial for several reasons, foremost being a trust issue. How can one person who doesn’t have their “stuff” together expect people to pay him/her to get their stuff together?

In other words, if you are sloppy and disorganized and if you spend too much of your time on low-payoff activities that are not moving you toward your goals, then why should clients trust you to help them get their finances organized and make the smart financial choices necessary to achieve their goals?

Being trustworthy is more than just being an honest person who isn’t going to steal a client’s money or give bad advice. Let’s explore some of the work habits of successful advisors as well as some of the work habits of not-so-successful advisors; you can use these as examples of what to emulate and what to avoid.

We will break this down into four key elements:
• Client service work habits.
• Client acquisition work habits.
• Leadership work habits.
• Time management work habits.

First of all, what is “success”? In my opinion, success is three things:
1. The value delivered for the client.
2. The financial success of the advisor.
3. The quality of life of the advisor.

Notice that numbers 2 and 3 also benefit the client; they are not just about you. If you were a financially successful client, would you want to have a financially unsuccessful financial advisor, or would you want to have a stressed out financial advisor who is living a crappy quality of life?

Client Service Work Habits

1. Successful advisors spend their time with clients who are profitable.

Unsuccessful advisors work with too many people who are not profitable and probably don’t even know how much revenue a client must generate in order to be profitable in the first place. They say, “I know we’re losing money on each of these clients. We’ll make it up with volume.”

2. Successful advisors are either truly comprehensive or, at the very least, do much more than most financial advisors. It’s interesting how many financial advisors do exactly the same thing as pretty much the rest of the financial advisor world but claim to be “different.” The most successful financial advisors have a value proposition that is driven by their knowledge of what is best for the client, rather than by what the client is willing to buy.

Unsuccessful advisors will pretty much sell anything to anybody anytime. Whatever the client is willing to buy is what they are going to sell. They are not really “advisors” at all. They are salespeople.

3. Successful advisors serve a finite number of clients who pay them a predictable amount of recurring revenue. They are not only clear about how much money each client must generate, they also know how much time to budget per client in order to serve the client and be profitable.

Unsuccessful advisors have little clues how much time to budget to serve a client. They tend to rationalize this with silly statements like, “Every client is different, and so it’s impossible to know how much time it’s going to take to serve them.”

4. Successful advisors are orchestrating a systematic process for delivering the promised value for each client.

Unsuccessful advisors struggle to do the best they can with what they’ve got on an ad hoc basis.

5. Successful advisors are excellent at helping clients manage their emotions about external events. Regardless of what’s happening in the markets, the economy, politics or world events, the successful advisor is able to keep her clients focused on what they can control and stick to the plan. There is no time or energy wasted writing market or economic updates or reacting to the ever-present uncontrollable events.
Unsuccessful advisors are whipped around by the clients’ emotional responses to the negative news about the market or the economy or politics or world events. They churn out long written explanations about the fiscal cliff or the debt ceiling, or what happens depending on this or that political event/election, or what happens if one European nation or another defaults on its debt. And many of their discussions with their clients center on these events over which there is no control. The downside, of course, is that these activities are an enormous waste of time. This is time that could have been invested in acquiring another ideal client or enjoying life or making a difference.

Client Acquisition Work Habits

1. Successful advisors build their business by referrals and introductions.

Unsuccessful advisors typically deploy multiple time-consuming and expensive marketing tactics, usually mastering none of them and ultimately investing large sums of money that produce very small results. Or they never do much of anything to acquire clients because they can never afford to.

2. Successful advisors are very good on the phone and use some of their client acquisition time to connect with people they have been referred to by calling them. Because they have excellent people skills and are eager to engage people face-to-face, while some people are more “outgoing” than others, successful advisors have consciously developed their people skills.

Unsuccessful advisors seem to be afraid of people and tend to do just about anything other than talk to another human being. They are often “wrapped around the axle” trying to get people to call them by building the perfect website or deploying the fantasy social media plan.

3. Successful advisors ask really good questions, are excellent listeners, truly empathize with people, and when it’s their turn to talk, are very effective at articulating how their process will help the prospective client achieve meaningful results in their life.

Unsuccessful advisors tend to talk about the features of their products, the markets, investment performance, why their company is great, etc.

Being successful is a matter of integrity and good client service. You don’t have to be a rich financial advisor whose quality of life is perfect in order to acquire and serve financially successful clients. However, if you’re not on the path of financial success and living a great life, you’re a fraud. People who give other people advice about their money and goals should also be financially successful people who achieve their goals.

Leadership Work Habits

1. Successful advisors recognize that everything they do is about leadership, especially their client service work. They lead their clients by understanding exactly where the client wants to be (also, when and why), and then they lead the client with great advice and accountability to get there.
Unsuccessful advisors tend to be subservient to their client and have an upside-down accountability relationship where the client is holding them accountable instead of the other way around.

2. Successful advisors lead and give advice. They are not educators, therapists or salespeople. They tell the client what he needs to hear, not necessarily what he wants to hear, even if it means risking the relationship.

Unsuccessful advisors tend to do just about anything but lead and advise. Instead, they justify wasting the client’s time by educating him, or they take the sales approach and present options so “the client can make his own decision.” This is not leadership.

3. Successful advisors lead a team of other subject matter experts to do the best possible job for the clients. They are the point people who make sure the accountants, the money managers, the financial planners, the lawyers, the insurance agents, the bankers, etc. are all doing the job they are supposed to do to contribute to the clients’ financial success. When all these professionals are in the same room together, it’s obvious that the advisor is in charge.

If the unsuccessful advisor is even in the same room with the accountants, the lawyers, the money managers, the financial planners, the insurance agents, the bankers, etc., he is just another player on the team and not the “head coach.” If your client ever checks your advice with someone else, then you know you’re not the leader.

Time Management Work Habits

1. The successful advisor spends most of his or her time engaged in productive client service, client acquisition, and leadership activities. Until your ideal client community is complete, you can expect to invest at least eight hours per week in direct client acquisition work.

An unsuccessful advisor tends to “study” much more than is necessary. They study the markets, economics, politics and world events as if they can somehow predict what’s going to happen and capitalize on it. They tend to spend less than two hours per week in anything that could remotely be considered serious client acquisition work.

2. Successful advisors are good delegators, especially when it comes to the administrative elements of running their businesses.

Unsuccessful advisors seem to never have enough time to go get more ideal clients because they are stuck in the minutiae of running their businesses. As the saying goes, if you don’t have an assistant, you are one.

3. Successful advisors delegate and outsource to highly-qualified technical subject matter experts rather than trying to maintain an expertise in everything, including financial planning, investments, insurance, taxes, law, etc. They have a good fundamental understanding and they make sure things get done rather than feeling like they have to do things all by themselves.

Unsuccessful advisors tend to act as if they have to know everything themselves. They are trapped by the illusion that one person can be an expert in all the areas of finance necessary to help their clients make smart choices about their money.

It’s impossible to cover every element that distinguishes the successful advisor from the unsuccessful advisor. However, if you shift your behavior and habits to fall on the successful side of the habits ledger outlined in this article, you will tap more of your true potential. Your clients win and you win.

©2013 by Bill Bachrach, Bachrach & Associates, Inc.  All rights reserved. Bill Bachrach is the author of several books, including the best-selling Values-Based Financial Planning. He has delivered approximately 2,000 keynote speeches and presentations teaching financial professionals to build high-trust client relationships. For 25 years he and his team have trained successful advisors and planners to dramatically improve their client loyalty, build their business by referral only, and live a very high quality of life.

www.billbachrach.com

Tips for building client trust – and how to tell if you’ve earned it

Check out the short article by Mackenzie McCarty who did a brief recap of a recent speech by Bill Bachrach to Brokers in Sydney Australia.  Bill Bachrach, offered some practical tips for making solid and lasting connections with your clients.  To read this short recap, go to http://tinyurl.com/calf2w3.

Not Bad Enough to Fire. Not Good Enough to Refer. – Insights to What High Net-Worth Clients Want From Financial Advisors

A few weeks ago I had lunch with a very successful couple. She had recently sold her business and for the better part of the past year has been interviewing Financial Advisors. She described the experience as “dismal.” To be specific, none of them impressed her with their deliverables, if they were able to show her actual deliverables at all. She felt more like money they were trying to capture rather than a human being they were trying to help.

Another striking element of our conversation was her experience seeking referrals to financial advisors from her most successful friends. She contacted 10 of her mentors who had helped her build her business over the years. They were worth millions on the low end and upwards of $100 Million on the high end. Virtually all of them told her they were not happy enough with their advisor to make a referral and asked her to contact them when she found the person she hired. Whoa! Not a single person among the most financially successful people she knew was willing to introduce her to their financial advisor. Sobering.

What’s the moral of the story and action-able lessons for you? There are several:

1. Where do you think you stand, really, in the mind of your clients? Is it possible that some of them have been asked about you and chose to not make the introduction? Are they telling you the truth when they fill out those client satisfaction surveys?

2. Consider refer-ability as a metric of trust. The more your clients trust you the more likely they are to refer you to their friends, family, and colleagues. If you are not being referred there could be a trust gap. What will you do about that?

3. Consider refer-ability as a metric of value received by the client. Even if they trust that you are an honest person, this does not mean they are impressed by the value they are experiencing. If you are not being referred there could be a value delivery gap. What will you do about that?

4. Don’t presume that when prospective clients tell you they are happy with their advisor, that they are really happy with their advisor. What’s more likely is that they feel too busy to do something about finding the advisor they would really like to have or they don’t really believe that there is something better so they settle for what they think is normal. Many financially successful people do business with their current advisor more because of inertia than true satisfaction or happiness. How will you use this knowledge to attract and convert more financially successful people to become your future Ideal Clients?

5. Bill Gates once said, “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” Have you become at all complacent about the 1% you collect on your clients’ assets?

Not Bad Enough to Fire. Not Good Enough to Refer. – Insights to What High Net-Worth Clients Want From Financial Advisors

A few weeks ago I had lunch with a very successful couple. She had recently sold her business and for the better part of the past year has been interviewing Financial Advisors. She described the experience as “dismal.” To be specific, none of them impressed her with their deliverables, if they were able to show her actual deliverables at all. She felt more like money they were trying to capture rather than a human being they were trying to help.

Another striking element of our conversation was her experience seeking referrals to financial advisors from her most successful friends. She contacted 10 of her mentors who had helped her build her business over the years. They were worth millions on the low end and upwards of $100 Million on the high end. Virtually all of them told her they were not happy enough with their advisor to make a referral and asked her to contact them when she found the person she hired. Whoa! Not a single person among the most financially successful people she knew was willing to introduce her to their financial advisor. Sobering.

What’s the moral of the story and action-able lessons for you? There are several:

1. Where do you think you stand, really, in the mind of your clients? Is it possible that some of them have been asked about you and chose to not make the introduction? Are they telling you the truth when they fill out those client satisfaction surveys?

2. Consider refer-ability as a metric of trust. The more your clients trust you the more likely they are to refer you to their friends, family, and colleagues. If you are not being referred there could be a trust gap. What will you do about that?

3.  Consider refer-ability as a metric of value received by the client. Even if they trust that you are an honest person, this does not mean they are impressed by the value they are experiencing. If you are not being referred there could be a value delivery gap. What will you do about that?

4.  Don’t presume that when prospective clients tell you they are happy with their advisor, that they are really happy with their advisor. What’s more likely is that they feel too busy to do something about finding the advisor they would really like to have or they don’t really believe that there is something better so they settle for what they think is normal. Many financially successful people do business with their current advisor more because of inertia than true satisfaction or happiness. How will you use this knowledge to attract and convert more financially successful people to become your future Ideal Clients?

5. Bill Gates once said, “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”  Have you become at all complacent about the 1% you collect on your clients’ assets?

My Advice: Do Less Therapy and Less Selling. Be a Trusted Advisor

My Advice: Do less therapy and less selling. Be your clients Trusted Advisor.

Over the years, I have written a number of industry-specific articles, conducted thousands of presentations that have been audio and video recorded, and participated in numerous content-rich webinars. To learn how to get access to all of these resources and be on your way to becoming a Trusted Advisor, please click here: www.billbachrach.com/members-area/

Special Message for Financial Advisors – Make 2013 Your Best Year Ever!

Special Message for Financial Advisors: Spend 60 minutes and learn how Bachrach & Associates, Inc. can help make 2013 your best year ever! Click here to learn more and to schedule your free qualifying appointment today!

www.billbachrach.com