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Overcoming objections

Liz DeCarlo

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A client's 'no' is often a sign you need to communicate and educate better.

You finally nailed the appointment and had the chance to outline a plan for a new client. You’re waiting for the round of applause on what you’ve put together, but the next thing you hear is, “I have to think about it.” Objections are a part of the process for financial advisors, but a discouraging part nonetheless. However, some advisors see opportunity when objections surface.

“Objections occur for a variety of reasons, but more often than not, it is because we as advisors did not communicate our thoughts in an understandable way. So the client’s defense is to object, rather than to express a lack of knowledge or understanding,” said Gregory B. Gagne, ChFC, a 19-year MDRT member from Exeter, New Hampshire.

“If you sense this ‘check-in’ for understanding, ask them to explain in their words what they are learning,” Gagne advised. “The objection walls come down when they become part of the process. Nobody likes to simply be sold. Objections are often the way a client responds to become the one in control.”

Overcoming objections can be as simple as educating clients on the product, providing the numbers behind the recommendation, or setting up a meeting with both spouses or business partners. Here’s what other MDRT members are doing to overcome the most common objections.

The objection walls come down when clients become part of the process. Nobody likes to simply be sold.
—Greg Gagne

The client doesn’t understand the product or plan

“Perhaps the advisor simply missed a key point or fact. Or the advisor has made the presentation without connecting the client’s unique situations to the solutions being presented,” said William Marvin Richardson III, CLU, CFP, an eight-year MDRT member from San Francisco, California. “Sometimes, the client needs a better or clearer explanation. They need you to better describe how this fits for them.”

They can’t make a decision

“My favorite close is to pull out an application, look at the computer and ask the prospect, ‘Did I spell your name correctly?’ Sometimes there may not necessarily be an objection, but simply the person can’t say yes,” said Frank W. Andreoli, RFC, a 30-year MDRT member from Markham, Ontario, Canada.

They don’t have the money

This is a prospecting issue, said Walter F. Putnam, CFP, CLU. “If the reason the client isn’t buying is because he doesn’t have any money, we need to work on getting referred to more qualified people who are financially capable of taking our advice,” said Putnam, a 38-year MDRT member from Charlotte, North Carolina.

They need to talk things over

“We expect this response from our prospective clients, especially when we are dealing with a married couple. Why would they want to make a life-changing decision without thinking it over; isn’t that why they are still married?” Gagne said.

“But having the advisor sitting with them is not very productive for them to have a candid talk. So when you get to that point of the meeting — the tipping point — excuse yourself and close the conference room door on your way out.

“As soon as I leave, the conversation begins,” Gagne said. “When I come back, the first thing they say is, ‘What’s the next step?’ They close themselves when we leave them to discuss the course of action at hand.”

They’re too busy

“The most common objection I hear might not even really be an objection. It is ‘Let me think about it’ or ‘I’m too busy,’” said Matthew T. Hoesly, CFP, ChFC, a 10-year MDRT member from Norfolk, Virginia. “After following up with a prospect and hearing this three times, I tell them I am going to close their file and they can let me know when there is a better time for them to implement my suggestions. Many times, this shows a finality to their decision, and they end up moving forward because they don’t want me to close their file. If they tell me to go ahead and close their file, I am better off too because I am not wasting any more time on them.”

They don’t need insurance because of their age

“I simply ask, ‘At what age do you think you’ll need insurance?’ Once they answer, I show them what it costs at that age, and what it costs now,” said H. Larry Fortenberry, CLU, ChFC, a 42-year MDRT member from Jackson, Mississippi. “With the obvious difference in premium, the next question becomes, ‘Why would you want to wait and pay so much more premium?’ It’s cheaper to get it started now.” 


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