By Antoinette Tuscano
In some areas, the pool of high-net-worth clients appears limited. As a result, competing financial advisors call on the same business owners and other white-collar professionals. Many of those prospective clients aren’t interested.
For most advisors, that’s the end of the line. They move on to the next person on their list. The more people they call on, the quicker they’ll get to a yes. For some advisors, though, the rejection is just the beginning.
When a prospective client says no, 15-year MDRT member Kulinchandra Ramanlal Patel, of Vadodara, India, is happy. “Other advisors don’t want that client, so now I don’t have competition,” Patel said. When he hears no, he understands this means the person is not convinced because they don’t yet comprehend their need for financial protection and risk management.
“When that door closes on me after the prospective client hears the word ‘insurance,’ I know I’m going to sell that person a policy,” Patel said. He also knows that might not happen right away.
“Slowly over time, I work on understanding the prospective client’s needs and mindset. I study his case profile. It can take two or three years. I don’t mind. I keep approaching him,” Patel said.
Patel doesn’t approach with sales pitches, though. The prospect has already heard that from everyone else. Instead, often for years, Patel delivers flowers, calls them for their birthdays and sends cakes. Eventually, the prospective client sees Patel’s courteous — yet persistent — professionalism and makes an appointment with him.
For one client, it took 15 years of cakes, flowers and seeing each other at social functions before he agreed to meet with Patel. It took an additional five meetings before he purchased a policy.
“A ‘no’ isn’t permanent,” Patel said. “With time, it will convert.”
Toilet paper and teleconferences: A winning formula during a crisis
By Matt Pais
During the financial crisis of 2008-2009, Bryon A. Holz, CLU, ChFC, wanted to find a way to calm clients’ concerns. So when he mailed information to clients to explain market changes, he attached a “calming chamomile” tea bag.
The 24-year MDRT member from Brandon, Florida, has always believed in “sense-sational” service — as in, service that incorporates the senses. Holz is not mailing tea bags during the current, coronavirus-based crisis because of sensitivity to unexpected packages. He has, however, found new ways to communicate and connect with his pre-retiree and retiree clients, for whom he handles investments and life insurance.
This goes beyond email, snail mail and social media, though Holz has done a lot of that as well to share information about investments, financial scams, mental health recommendations and more. For clients within a 15-minute drive, he has personally dropped off information about products and services. For each, he includes a roll of toilet paper and either wine or a gift card for carryout/delivery from a local restaurant.
Clients know Holz is coming by but don’t know about the gifts they receive, and the whole process is touchless.
“It’s just another way to connect and show we care,” he said.
Fortunately, Holz has been set up for a situation like this for a long time. Two years ago, he hired a scheduler to schedule teleconferences with clients, not to replace in-person meetings but supplement them and help connect more regularly. So his practice has been extremely busy and extremely successful in communicating with clients, both in terms of reassurance during the current crisis and in driving new business as well.
During her regularly scheduled teleconference review, one client, a veterinarian, said that the pandemic showed her how important she and her income were to her family. Holz helped her double her insurance coverage, with all necessary changes done by phone and email.
Another client with about $1 million invested with Holz (half in mutual funds and the other half in annuities) decided to transfer some of the non-protected assets into risk-managed assets like annuities. “He felt very good about that while allowing him the opportunity to have potential market gains when the markets come back,” Holz said.
It’s all about putting people at ease and keeping eyes forward, he added.
“The message I use is, ‘We’ve planned for this, we’re going to get through this; this is a detour, but we’re still going to make it to our final destination,’” he said, often reminding his Florida clients that during a storm, people should batten down the hatches, not wander off. “There’s a saying in sports: Don’t look at where the ball is. Concentrate on where it will be.”