Schlocky financial advisor prospecting questions NOT to say on LinkedIn!

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Many of you are asking bad financial advisor prospecting questions that are getting you nowhere on LinkedIn. Or just as bad, some of you financial advisors aren’t prospecting at all on LinkedIn for fear of “sound like a salesperson.” What do you say to someone? Here are some questions to avoid asking. Also, I’ll teach you how to come up with your own good prospecting questions for financial advisors to ask so you don’t feel “like a salesperson”.

You’ll learn:

  • How does a financial advisor get new clients?
  • Why direct solicitation stinks usually, but doesn’t have to
  • The bad financial advisor prospecting questions you should never ask on LinkedIn (or anywhere else)
  • The good questions for a financial advisor to ask a prospect

For those of you who are new to my blog/podcast, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and financial advisor marketing consultant. I have a weekly newsletter in which I talk about financial advisor lead generation topics which is best described as “fun and irreverent.” So please subscribe!

Let’s get on with the blog!

How does a financial advisor get new clients?

First of all, the question: how does a financial advisor get new clients in the first place? There are three ways: word of mouth, creation of marketing “pull” assets, and direct solicitation.

Word of mouth

This is clearly the #1 way to grow a business because the trust is higher than in all other forms of marketing. For that reason, you should be connected to all your clients on LinkedIn, send them a monthly newsletter, and take great care of them. However, you can’t control what your clients say and for that reason I advise people to consider the chance of getting referrals to be a bonus rather than what you rely upon to grow your business.

Marketing “pull” assets

You create blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos, guest blogs, etc., that people consume. This is nurture marketing. You are looking to earn trust by educating people over time.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t happen overnight. You have to teach people something that goes further than what the last advisor said. Also, you have to make sure it gets distributed to enough people and that may mean you have to get those who have influence over them to push your content out.

The other thing is that you will get a good amount of people who benefit from your content, but never buy anything. There are takers who will read your blogs and do it themselves. I’m a blogger and I’ve given away so much value to people who will never pay me a dime for it. However this is effective for me because enough of the people eventually convert. If you don’t like occasionally get used for your content, this isn’t for you.

Direct solicitation

Going out and knocking on doors. Let’s talk about it.

Direct solicitation stinks…but it doesn’t have to

Some people don’t like solicitation because it makes them “feel like a salesperson.” They can’t do it, they feel uncomfortable. Let me tell you why. It probably has to do with your own personal ideology. The people who get irritated at telemarketers and who can’t stand when people sell them things are likely the ones who are uncomfortable doing it themselves. It has to do with your belief system. And that’s okay. Some people just can not ask for business.

For me, I had to go out and at a young age, have jobs where I had to sell. When I was in high school, I had no connections, my parents had no connections and couldn’t get me a good job. So it was either checking groceries at the supermarket, answer phones for $7 an hour, or I had to learn how to telemarket. I remember this one summer, I had to call college students at a certain university and it was the same summer I broke up with my high school boyfriend who went to that college, and I was so worried I was going to call and Raul (not his real name, btw) was going to answer.

So to say the least it was humbling as all hell. But I learned how create business out of nothing at a very young age. I found that with the skills I gained, I could get better telemarketing jobs and eventually ended up making kind of a lot of money for someone that age. And, I was able to become an entrepreneur using these skills.

The point I’m making is that solicitation is humbling. Some may call it soul killing. Look, I get it. But it doesn’t have to be like that. To some extent it is a numbers game and it does involve putting yourself out there. Let’s redefine it, though! But what if you could do it in a way that makes people feel you are a valuable resource, somebody with answers that they need, somebody who possesses useful information that will make their lives better? The key to getting here is great, high quality questions.

But first, let’s clear the slate of the bad financial advisor prospecting questions that I see a lot of you asking.

Bad financial advisor prospecting questions

  • If you could retire right now, would you?
  • I have a question for you today. Could you be saving more money?
  • When do you plan to retire?
  • What’s your retirement plan?
  • What’s your risk number?
  • Are you looking for financial advisor?
  • Do you need help with your money?
  • Are you happy with your current financial advisor?
  • Do you have any credit card debt you’d like to pay down?

You know it’s a bad question if, by answering yes, the next statement out of your mouth would naturally be, well then let’s meet and discuss. That’s the litmus test.

You see where I’m going with this.

  • They are obvious bait.
  • Also these questions are none of your business until you’ve earned the right to ask them.
  • Asking these questions makes you look like you’re not humble because you’re making the assumption that the person trusts you enough to engage by answering.

For all of these reasons, it makes you look like you’re not high quality.

How to ask good financial advisor prospecting questions

#1 Look at it as business socializing

Yes, the people who are best at this do it so naturally because to them it’s just another conversation. They see it as a person to person conversation in which they get to interact with another person.

The game changed for me once I realized that positive interactions with other people are the key your success; much moreso than your experience or how skilled you are. You never know when someone you talk to may just say something to change your life for the better.

Understand that the way the numbers work, if you talk to enough people most won’t be interested at that time, a few will be, and some will be total jerks. For the jerks, look at it that you found out who to cross off your social agenda early in the game, and be thankful you know to block them out of your LinkedIn network from now on.

For the people who aren’t interested at that time but might be in the future, think of it that you planted a seed. You can make those seeds grow through consistent, positive interactions with them. But just like a tree can’t be rushed to grow, neither can a relationship.

That’s why I love LinkedIn. You can connect to these “maybe later” people, and they’ll be frequently seeing your content if you post good stuff and the algorithm likes you. I can’t tell you how many times, out of nowhere I get contacted by someone who I’ve been lightly messaging and who has been liking my content, and then BINGO out of nowhere they buy my LinkedIn book or signs up for my membership.

#2 Smile

Smile before you click send or dial the phone. Think of how fun it’ll be to interact with someone that you can maybe help, or be helped by. And by the same token, if you’re not in a good mood, then don’t do this. Wait until you are.

#3  Ask yourself what seed you want to plant

Before you open your mouth or write that message, ask yourself how you want to help the person.

  • How do you want to lift them up?
  • What do you want to give them?
  • How do you want to change them?
  • How can you serve them?
  • How can you be their hero?

Planting seeds is fun!

#4 Use the two sentence rule

Two sentence financial advisor LinkedIn scripts help you lead into the question instead of just dropping it on the person. Adding context strengthens your credibility because it makes it look like you are not just dropping in on them with a sales pitch.

Keep in mind also that if you are doing this on LinkedIn, you really should be proceeding in sequences of three messages. You have to lead up to the question somehow. I explain this in this blog on financial advisor LinkedIn messages and sequences.

Here are some examples of good financial advisor prospecting questions that you could ask on LinkedIn after you have set it up with your prior messages:

  • Maria, I sometimes post here about retirement related topics. Are there any questions you’d like me to answer in my next post?
  • Roberto, what information can I get you, if any, that could possibly make retirement easier to understand?
  • Carla, how do you think knowing somebody like me could possibly be useful to you, other than working directly with me? I say this because I only work with a small percentage of people but don’t want to limit my influence to just my clients.
  • Lashelle, my goal is help everybody around me have a better retirement – and I don’t care whether they are my clients or not. What questions do you have about retirement?
  • Emily, what do you feel we financial advisors misunderstand about doctors like you? I am looking to further my ability to empathize with those whose lives I want to enrich.
  • Pierre, dentists typically have a lot of trouble saving money while they pay down their debt. Is this something you want to self-learn, or are you open to reading a blog I wrote about it?

When you show people that your first goal is to understand them, it creates a sense of distance and removal from the sales pitch, for both the seller and the buyer. This objectivity is rare. It gives clarity to the purpose of what you are trying to do for them, for both you and the buyer.  

A word about desperation and objectivity that goes beyond just the questions you ask

When you are doing direct solicitation, it’s easy to slip into the mindset of “I’ve got to get them to buy this specific thing (or do this specific thing) right now.”

This is a loaded gun and it can’t have a place anywhere in the entire marketing ensemble. Get it out, quick!

This is harmful and dangerous.

This closed-minded approach is going to limit your long term success.

Essentially you are pointing the gun at the buyer’s head. It’s not a good feeling for either of you to feel. Being a financial advisor isn’t like selling washing machines. People’s financial futures are at stake. It’s not like selling someone a $200 washing machine that is going need to be replaced in two years anyways. There is alot of harm that can be done by making decisions under pressure.

Look, I understand that it’s a cold world full of people who will turn their back on you so fast, and you’re out here trying to make a dollar. I’ve been in this position many times and what I’ve come to see is that there is a right way and wrong way to do this. Your needs can never be the driver because it’s so easy to lose objectivity. With that comes a loss of objectivity. Financial advisor prospecting has to be done with integrity and inevitably pressure leads to its compromise.

If you are in a position of desperation and it is leading you to compromise objectivity, do something about it before you solicit. Maybe it means getting a second job to take the financial pressure off you while you build your business. Maybe a “eat what you kill” sales job isn’t for you. Maybe you should have gotten a salaried position somewhere. I just say that because I’m sick of financial advice being a profession with a bad reputation. We can say all the fiduciary rhetoric that we want, but if until we get to the point where we can hold back from being biased, financial advice is always going to be a schlocky industry where people get asked schlocky financial advisor prospecting questions like the ones I’m trying to get you to avoid.

My point is that it’s not in just the words you say. It’s in an overall approach of non-desperation, patience, objectivity, and nurturing positive outcomes in all you encounter on LinkedIn and elsewhere.

Sara’s upshot

What’d ya think? Was this helpful?

If yes…

Learn what to say to prospects on social media messenger apps without sounding like a washing machine salesperson. This e-book contains 47 financial advisor LinkedIn messages, sequences, and scripts, and they are all two sentences or less.

This is a book about financial advisor LinkedIn messages which contains scripts you can use to get new prospects.

You could also consider my financial advisor social media membership which teaches financial advisors how to get new clients and leads from LinkedIn.

The Sara Grillo membership is a social media program for financial advisors - but only the cool ones.

Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll at least join my weekly newsletter about financial advisor lead generation.

See you in the next one!

-Sara G

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