Be a Mentalist and develop faster rapport with clients


The mentalist sits across from a very pregnant television host. She and her husband have chosen the name of their baby but have not yet told anyone. The performer looks into her eyes, writes a few letters onto a piece of paper, and confidentially shows it to his interviewer. “Oh, stop it” she blurts out. But is it true, her co-hosts ask. Yes. That was Sarah Harris being amazed by Lior Suchard on Australia’s Studio 10.

What if a prospective client, interviewing different advisors, maybe not even convinced about the importance of hiring one, was amazed that you could tell them exactly what was on their minds? That you could articulate the questions other advisors never touched on. That, even never having met them, you seemed to know all about them. Who do you think would be there next advisor?

Understanding clients needs and goals, of course, is fundamental to financial planning. Many, if not most, have some sort of “discovery” meeting or stage at the beginning of the process. What would it do for your ability to attract clients and referrals if you somehow magically knew most of them before the client ever walked in?

You may. If you have focused your business on a well-defined target market, you probably do. The key is to communicate it upfront. Mentalists use tricks, influence, and gimmicks to entertain us by giving the impression that they can read our thoughts. But you use expertise. The power of target marketing is that by coming to know a particular group of people intimately you get familiar with what’s on their minds. The key is to better communicate it.

When a prospective client goes searching for an advisor they, like any consumer, is asking “what’s in it for me?” And that leads them to the ultimate question and marketing financial services “why should I choose you over other advisors?” In an initial meeting or conversation, you may present your title or describe what kinds of activities you engage in for clients. You are a financial planner. You help people develop retirement strategies. Even more powerful is to let people know you have a way of addressing the issues keeping them up at night. And that requires you know what those questions are.

What are the unique needs of your target client? What are the needs, wants, and desires that separate them from the rest of the population? Articulate those, and you will help answer that ultimate question. The client should choose you because you know exactly who they are and what they are up against, what they seek. We have found that incorporating these unique needs into the conversation early on helps develop that rapport that helps clients know, like, and trust you.

Let’s say your target market is people approaching retirement. One way you might describe what you do would be “we help people navigate the transition into retirement. We prepare plans, create a withdrawal strategy, and make sure your portfolio is allocated properly.

Incorporating their unique needs into the conversation might sound something like this: we help people make the best decisions as they transition into retirement. Most of the people we work with worry about things like do I have enough? How I know when to start Social Security? What pension option should I take? What do I do about healthcare? Do you ever worry about any of those? We have a process that addresses all of those questions and more.

Explaining what your ideal clients struggle with helps give them the impression that you understand them. You can relate to them. And you have a process that addresses specifically what’s on their mind. Articulate them clearly enough, and you may leave them feeling like you could see directly into their mind. It’s almost like having a superpower.

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