Neil’s guide to Winning a Financial Planning Beauty Contest (Stop Laughing At The Back🤣)
Wondering what financial planning has to do with beauty contests? Don’t worry, you don’t always have to be the prettiest – you just have to be ‘the one’. Let me explain.
We’re all participants in the Financial Planning beauty contest
I’m sure we’ve all been unwilling participants in the Financial Planning beauty parade. It happens when a client attends for a site survey (with their issue) and after you’ve talked them through the big questions, your process, your service, structure, pricing and value, they say, “thanks for that. But I’m not making a decision yet, because I want to see a number of other planners first.”
It can all feel a bit personal. It’s a bit like being on a first date and the person says, “I really like you but I’ve got 2 other dates next week, so I’ll see how they go and maybe get back to you.” I suspect there are a number of things you might say, if that was a real date! But in business, we just can’t do that.
What’s driving your client to go and see other advisers?
To understand why your client feels the need to approach other advisers before committing to you, it’s helpful to think about how you approach new services.
In some situations, you are probably happy to choose a service after only speaking to one service provider. Imagine you have a burst pipe, for example. You ring a plumber, he quotes £65 to come out and fix the pipe, and you might decide to go ahead because (in your experience) the price sounds reasonable. You don’t feel the need to shop around. Had they quoted £1500, you would know that the price was off the scale of what’s deemed reasonable.
But what about services that you’ve never experienced or bought before? How do you know what price is reasonable?
Clients often experience this feeling with Financial Planning and Financial Advice. Why?
- It might be the first time they’ve met a Financial Planner – they genuinely don’t know if it should cost £65 or £1500.
- Shopping around helps them to gauge the pricing scale.
- Speaking to a range of advisers helps them to understand the landscape that they are walking in, and where your service sits.
How can you help yourself to win the contest?
Rather than taking it personally and feeling defensive, be the opposite.
- Be honest.
- Be accommodating and generous.
- Ask who else they are planning to go and see.
- Ask what criteria they are planning to use when they choose who they are going to use.
It’s important to know your local and national competition. Have an awareness of their charges, the services they offer and their strengths and weaknesses.
If a potential client is planning to go and speak to one of your local competitors, tell them their good points:
- “Yes, they are local and have been around for 20 years – they are great people. They charge a bit less than us because they don’t x, y or z, but are a good option if that’s what you are looking for.”
If they are considering a national competitor, be honest:
- “Yes, they offer a 24-hour telephone service and cost less (but they aren’t face to face) so if that’s what you want then they would be a good choice.”
How does this approach help you?
By providing this information, and being so honest and magnanimous, you are colouring in the landscape for your potential client. You are actually putting them in a better position to make a decision because they can understand where you sit on that scale.
If you are in the client’s sweet spot – if you are ‘the one’ – then you’re giving them the emotional comfort to be able to commit to that and get things moving.
If you’re not the one, that’s okay. You’ve still guided the client to a suitable alternative. At least someone is going to look after them. Signposting them in the right direction shows good will – it shows that you are a decent person and you’ve helped them out, at some cost to you. It’s the right thing to do.
You’ll also find that it will probably get you more of the right business in the long run – you’ll be working with clients who are right for you. And so will all the other firms.
So remember, if you want to win the contest, it’s not about being the prettiest. It’s about being the one.
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