See It from the Other Side

Reed, an advisor in LA, was telling me about his frustrations with a doctor-lawyer couple.  He thought they were already his clients, but he had left several messages for the lawyer-husband to set up a time to meet with them, and he had not yet gotten any response.

“I finally had a great conversation with his wife, and I told her I had been trying to reach him and schedule a time to see them,” he explained,  “But she told me that  because of his schedule, I’d have to set it up with him—right back to square one.”

“These are clients who are obviously not jumping up and down at the idea of meeting with you,” I confirmed, exhibiting as usual my keen grasp of the obvious.  “Do they know why you want to see them?”

“Well, no,” he responded.

“Then why should they want to see you?” I asked, “You don’t have a close relationship with them and it looks like they’re pretty busy.”

“But I have this great product I want to convert them to,” Reed confessed.

“OK, that’s a good reason why you want to see them,” I conceded, “But they don’t know that, do they?  And even if they did, why would they want to see you to buy another product you think is great?”

“I guess there’s no good reason,” he concluded.

So, I pressed him a little more.  “Let me ask again, then.  Why might they think you’re reason for wanting to see them is great?”

After thinking about it for a few more seconds, Reed had some insight.

“This is one of the new policies that could add Long Term Care coverage to their existing life and disability insurance,” he explained, “and possibly without increasing their premiums.”

“Great!  So what if you let them know that this is the reason you’ve been trying to reach them?” I asked. “Do you think they might be more responsive?”

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Reed now understood that he wasn’t getting the appointment because these clients assumed he wanted to see them to sell them something—a situation they probably wanted to avoid.  It was about him, and what was going on in his world.

He hadn’t thought to tell them why he wanted to see them, because he assumed that since they were existing clients, they would be interested in seeing him “just because”.

But all sales—even the sale of an appointment—happen in the client’s world, not in the advisor’s.  If you have not maintained a very close relationship, and their world is busy, they might not be interested in seeing you, especially if they don’t know why you’re reaching out.

If your clients aren’t responding, ask yourself how the client is seeing your efforts to meet.  Specifically:

Why would they want to set up a time to see me?

Why would they be excited to talk with me about what I want to show them?

When Reed asked himself these questions, he remembered that this was coverage he had already discussed with them and that they had decided against it because of the additional expense.  His was a new opportunity to have them snag that same coverage while limiting the expense they originally feared.

When he explained that to the doctor, she got her husband to set up a meeting for them right away.  In person, Reed discussed the benefits of the policy upgrade—and they applied for it at last.

Always look at your approach, and your services, from the client’s perspective.  How do you and what you offer fit into their world?  Keep asking, and keep REACHING…

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