By FRANK CREAGHAN
Consistent client touch points and strong relationship-building are proven methods to secure excellent referrals. Setting up an initial fact-finding appointment is only half the battle. You now have an opportunity to significantly change their lives and set a solid foundation for your relationship by helping them visualize their financial future and achieving economic freedom.
Educate On Economic Freedom First And Foremost
Remember there are two goals for every meeting, which are to arrange the next meeting and gather names for more excellent referrals. Additionally, prospects are usually unaware – or overlook – the importance of saving for economic freedom and you should enlighten them about its definition in your first meeting. Economic freedom means you are financially capable to consider career changes, investments, entrepreneurship and retirement. You are self-directed, spend your life your way and can seek better opportunities throughout your life.
The initial discussion should involve more fact-finding than anything else. You must be patient and never get ahead of your prospect by offering solutions too soon. Offering product-based solutions from the onset is flat-out selling instead of educating as a way to build trust and show your dedication to find the right solution for them. We must be educators first, listening to prospects’ answers to determine our next questions. If you take the time to guide the prospect in their self-assessment by shining a light on their goals, successes and failures, then your fact-finding meetings will have prospects naturally looking to pursue economic freedom.
Earn Trust And Actively Listen
To be successful you must earn the prospect’s trust, which starts by thinking only of the prospect’s best interests and never your own. If they sense, correctly or incorrectly, that you are looking after yourself, you will lose their trust and their business. To earn trust you must care for them and can convey this through active listening. Truly listen to their needs and ask questions to fully comprehend how you can serve them better than another advisor. For instance, ask about their personal goals and listen for cues to learn how that could transfer to their financial planning. They should feel as though every step along the way is their decision with you at their side guiding them through the planning process.
Guide The Self-Assessment
Discuss assets, liabilities and net worth with prospects. You may be surprised by how few people have savings, which is key to attaining economic freedom. In fact, most are in debt, with lines of credit, mortgages and monthly payments. Saving a portion of one’s income for 20 years in the future is not top-of-mind for most people and can influence their current financial stability. To help them understand the importance of saving, ask your clients the powerful question, “when would you like economic freedom to pursue your dreams?” When they realize they want and need a process to achieve economic freedom, you can then help them visualize their future and how they might arrive there.
For instance, if the prospect is 35 and wants to achieve economic freedom in 20 years, I ask them to visualize life at 55 with debt-free ownership of their homes, a generous pension and paid up cash value life insurance. This leaves prospects dreaming and confident about their futures, and provides you with an ideal transition into the wonders of retirement planning.
Tailor Your Message
It’s important to consider that the paths to economic freedom may be different for everyone. While economic freedom is a reasonable aspiration for those who are employed by others, self-employed individuals, such as family business owners, may want to achieve ownership freedom. Ownership freedom includes having the means to run their company and establish a legacy that will outlive themselves.
Successful Set Up
The sale is made or lost in the fact finding meeting. Conduct the meeting professionally yet thoughtfully, and you are on your way to a well-established client relationship that will continue well into the future. Your financial freedom as an advisor is a byproduct of your clients’ success. Together, you can seek and pursue better opportunities throughout your lives.
Frank Creaghan CLU has been an MDRT member for more than 50 years and is the founder of Creaghan McConnell Group Ltd. of Toronto, Canada. Theirs is “The Family Capital Company™” working with high net worth entrepreneurial families and their businesses to help provide family clarity, financial security and innovative insurance solutions.