Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Dan Richards

Even advisors who are successful in every aspect of their business struggle when it comes to getting meetings with prospects.

That’s understandable at one level – prospects are besieged with demands on their time and many are deeply skeptical about anyone trying to sell them something. But if you can get past those barriers, unhappiness with recent markets and uncertainty about their finances has created an opportunity to engage potential new clients.

The key to capitalizing on this opportunity is to understand how prospective clients look at requests for action – and to frame anything you ask of prospects with two words in mind. Those two words: Reduce risk.

How prospective clients look at things

Let’s say you ask a prospective client for a meeting or to attend a luncheon seminar. Immediately, he or she weighs two things.

First prospects look at the potential upside – the benefit. And then against that they weigh the possible downside – the risk. Prospects don’t make this decision consciously – it takes place at an instinctive, subconscious level.  Most of the time it happens in a split second.

Some advisors who don’t get a positive response conclude that they haven’t done a sufficient job of demonstrating the benefits of meeting, so they respond by showing more benefits – and if that doesn’t work, they pile on still more benefits.  While that might work sometimes, often the more you try to change a prospect’s mind by showing more benefits, the more it feels like a sales pitch and the more their guards go up. 

When asking prospects for a commitment, by all means demonstrate the benefit of their saying “yes.” But don’t forget the other side of the equation – the downside.  In addition to showing benefits, consider two words that can be critical to success in getting prospects to agree – Reduce risk.

There are four ways to reduce the risk for prospects – borrow credibility, build your reputation, reduce the time you’re requesting, or focus on a lower risk commitment.