Asking people about their money has been a long-held taboo, and for many women advisors it just feels RUDE; it’s too personal, it feels intrusive and pushy (at least until they come in for an appointment). Yet you are a Dr. of Money, your job is to identify and fix financial challenges, your job is to enhance their overall financial health. So why be shy about asking about money?
There are so many reasons why it’s important that you ask about money EARLY in the relationship for both you and your lead. It doesn’t matter if you are speaking to a complete stranger or a valued friend, asking about money can have a long term significant impact on the growth of your business.
Three Qualifying Questions to Ask Yourself:
1) Are they the right fit? Certainly who they are as a person and their character is an unspoken criterion, if you don’t like them leave them but let’s get to the real question.
Is this person a good fit for my business?
If you were a brain surgeon would you bring someone in to treat them for a cold? Would you spend time teaching them about antioxidants or put them on a diet or give them a flu shot allowing them to call you from time to time to ask questions?
You are a money surgeon, you have developed amazing skills, experience, and wisdom when it comes to managing wealth. When meeting people and engaging in financial conversations you must ask yourself “Is this person able to truly tap into and benefit from your time and talents? Will this person be able to take advantage of all you have to offer? When you treat someone who is really not a good fit for your business the work you do for them, (while a boon in their world) will eventually drain you of energy. How would you want your cancer specialist spending her valuable time? Working with a few cancer patients who need her expertise or treating colds and flu’?
To stay highly energized and inspired you to need to be challenged, you need to be able to turn complex issues into powerful solutions. This is what you do and what you love about the job. When you can tap into what you were truly trained and qualified to do you stay energized, the quality of your work is elevated and the value you provide is off the charts. While unqualified clients might sing your praises for selecting a couple of mutual funds, who do you think they will refer to you? Ultra-high net worth prospects? I think not.
2) Are they ready? To determine whether a person will do business with you, it’s important that they meet three important criteria:
- Need – THEY must acknowledge a need whether it is urgent or not. It’s easy for a financial advisor to have a conversation and recognize the need (Boy do they need a plan! Or, They are way over concentrated) but its the listener that must acknowledge they have an issue. Listen for words like, “I need, I want, I should” because these are all indicators that they know they have a need. You can help them with their plan and allocation later.
- Dollar – There is no point in pursuing a lead or contact if they don’t have any money. Knowing whether they can tap into your time and talents in the most meaningful ways is essential.
- Commitment – If both need and dollar are checked off what are you willing to do for them and what do you expect them to do in return? It’s so easy as an advisor to do too much but if the commitment of time and energy is not reciprocal you are simply wasting your time and talents hoping they will see the light.
3) Who will they refer to you? In my humble opinion, this is one of the most egregious mistakes women advisors make. By not clearly spelling out who is most suited to be your client everyone who knows you, likes you, respects you will send you their friend, cousin, and neighbor that does NOT have money! Turning referrals away because they are not qualified is a much more difficult task vs qualifying them early on.
To do this well you must first become crystal clear as to who is your ideal client, what is their character, their issues and yes how much money do they have. Knowing your minimum is important to know even if it’s just in your mind but set the bar high.
When you are able to articulate your ideal client two things will happen:
- You will immediately earn the interest from high net worth leads. Those with substantial assets will immediately realize you have experience working with clients in their situation. They will feel you will be able to understand their unique and sometimes complex high net worth issues and concerns.
- Those who don’t qualify will send you qualified referrals. Most people don’t really know what you do nor do they realize you manage millions in assets (they thought $100,000 was a lot of money!). When you share that most of your clients come to you with well over a million dollars they will first be impressed, recognizing the value and importance of your work and will immediately start thinking about people they know that have those issues and dollars.
Female advisors listen up!
It is NOT rude to know your value, it is not pushy to articulate who can best leverage your talents, it is NOT too personal asking about what potential clients have been able to save. This is your job, this is what you were destined to do and who you are best qualified to do it for.