Detroit, MI - "So, what are your thoughts on 'rainmaking' in a down market? People are spooked. Should I give it a rest?" asked Philip on an initial coaching call with my associate Bill. After taking a few minutes to explain that this is a perfect time for acquiring new affluent clients, and then outlining our four steps for capitalizing on this "perfect storm," Philip responded, "Okay great Bill. I got it, thanks. I have a few more things I'd like to run by you today." ?
?On the surface, the above conversation wouldn't raise many eyebrows. Philip and Bill engaged in a brief discussion on the volatility of the markets, the current state of affluent skepticism, confusion and dissatisfaction with their financial professionals, and the tremendous opportunity these factors create for financial advisors who "get it". It's when I compare this conversation to a discussion that I had on a separate coaching call with Stuart that the issue becomes clear. Stuart and Philip were essentially asking the same question: How can I prospect the affluent under these market conditions? Despite the similarity, there was one significant difference between Stuart's call and Philip's call.
Stuart was already a rainmaker; he had attended one of our weekends, and continued on with a coaching relationship. With his antenna already activated, it was only natural for our coaching call to focus on the specific how-tos for capitalizing on this "perfect storm." We carefully worked through the details of each opportunity, and incorporated a version of four action steps.
Stuart gets it: Today's market environment has created a tremendous opportunity for advisors who understand the affluent and know how to sell. Yet, in contrast, Philip listened for a few minutes, and wanted to move on to another topic—he just wasn't getting it.
Philip is an $850K producer; Stuart is a $4 million producer. Both have done well, but because Stuart is proactively engaged in acquiring affluent clients, he understands that selling is an art, and he is always looking for a window of opportunity to showcase his wares. He is goal-focused, well- prepared, and fearless (and skillful) in his execution of high-impact rainmaking activities. Although Philip, an 18-year veteran, has developed a healthy business over the years, he is not yet a rainmaker.
I had already discussed the current volatility in the markets, the uncertainty of the upcoming presidential elections, and affluent dissatisfaction with financial advisors with Stuart. All of these factors—and many more—have converged into a perfect storm for rainmaking. So, what exactly did I say to Stuart during our hour-long conversation? How can he, or any advisor, effectively prospect the affluent during tough market conditions? Let me walk you through four steps you can take to capitalize on this perfect storm for rainmaking:
1.) Proactively Contact Your Top Clients And COIs
Review your list of top clients and top COIs. Regardless of what you might think, now is the time to reach out to both—you don't want them calling you in a storm. Your objective is to schedule a face-to-face meeting in order to review their portfolio. Essentially, you're giving them an emergency financial physical—whether they think they need one or not. In addition, you are approaching this meeting with the strategic intent of a rainmaker: Your second objective is to have your client agree to introduce you to a specific individual in their COI.
2.) Prepare For The Meeting
?Here you will want to make sure you thoroughly understand each client's personal and financial goals. Review your notes, and look to identify any milestone events that have recently occurred, or will occur in the future. You should know of any changes that will impact their portfolio. You also want to make certain you are the "go-to" financial advisor, overseeing the multi-dimensional aspect of their family's financial affairs. For instance, if you haven't implemented the Financial Organizer, now is a good time to start. You might find it helpful to conduct a Google search on the individual you want to meet; background information is very helpful. If you have not sourced specific names within your client's COIs (shame on you), an additional step is required during your meeting; you must have your rainmaker antenna out, and source a COI contact to be introduced to.
3.) Meet with your clients.
?Meet with your clients, and position yourself as the steady hand that will guide them through the storm. First, review their portfolio and make any adjustments based on the preparation you performed above. You want to calm your clients and get them emotionally on board with the long-term viability of their goals.
Remember, you are performing an emergency financial physical for each client. This is work—both for you and your clients. Not only are you making certain their portfolio is aligned properly, you are gauging their emotional state. I hope you're already using a financial-planning tool. If you aren't, you better start using one soon. This financial physical will alleviate many of your clients' financial concerns simply because they know you are actively overseeing their financial affairs.
4.) COI Penetration
Through your actions you will have reminded your client of the services you provide, and reinforced your value. You are now positioned to penetrate their COIs. If you have the name of a specific individual, ask to meet and offer a similar financial physical—no charge and no obligation (no sales)— as everyone needs a second opinion in today's environment. The idea is to frame this as a favor. If you have yet to uncover a name, you better get to work! You are looking to accelerate the time-line between finding a prospect and getting face-to-face with them with permission to discuss business. Keep in mind that you aren't "selling" them anything; you are offering them a valuable service.
Getting back to Philip, Bill certainly wasn't going to let him off the hook that easily. Bill kept drilling until Philip admitted that he was uncomfortable prospecting during these market conditions. He wasn't confident that his clients viewed him as their "go-to" advisor, which, in his mind, made COI penetration all the more daunting. If he follows Bills steady guidance, Philip will successfully re-position himself with his clients, and capitalize on this perfect storm. But like Stuart and every other rainmaker, he must be willing to work outside of his comfort zone.
This is a perfect rainmakers' storm for those who dare to take the helm.