How to build your business in a down market, Pt. 1Article added by Katherine Vessenes on August 9, 2010
Katherine Vessenes

Katherine Vessenes

Chanhassen, MN

Joined: August 21, 2010

My Company

Vestment Advisors

I am probably the only person in the country who is perversely happy the market has tanked. The reason? This is a fantastic time to be gathering new clients, keeping them happy and then reaping the rewards as the market climbs.

Here is my first strategy:

This is a fantastic time to go after orphan accounts. These accounts are particularly vulnerable. Not only has their portfolio taken a beating, their advisor is MIA. This is the worst possible situation from both the consumer's point of view and for legal counsel for your broker dealer.

Orphans are going to be fearful and angry -- good candidates for lawsuits or arbitration. Here are some scripts you can use to turn this situation around, diffuse them, and get them into your office, where you can help them.

Try this telephone script to open the conversation:
    "Hi, this is Katherine Vessenes from Blue Bonnet Financial Group. I just noticed that your advisor has left the business right in the midst of turmoil in the market. If I were in your shoes, I would have a lot of questions. I want to make sure you were taken care of, so I am checking in with you to let you know I am available to answer any questions you may have about your account and I would be glad to give you any help you need." (wait for answer)
There is a good chance your orphan is so angry, they just need to vent. If that is the case, shut up and listen. Don't try to cut them off. If you listen carefully, you are going to hear what is really bothering them, and you will know how you can help.

At this stage, a lot depends on how the client answers. Here are some possible scripts you could use, depending on their response. Obviously, you would not use all of these, but if you have them in your hip pocket, you can pull them out when they are appropriate.
  • "What are your top three concerns about the current market situation and how it is affecting your portfolio?" I always like to ask these questions in sets of three, because it helps the prospect stay focused.

  • "Is there anything, specifically, that is bothering you about your financial situation?" This question is designed to get at their key point of pain. Let's face it, clients don't work with you unless they are in some kind of pain.

  • "Is there anything about your finances that is keeping you up at night?" Another pain question.

  • "Tell me about your relationship with your last advisor. What did you like about working with them? What would you change if you could? You are looking for what they liked and didn't like. This is your roadmap for wowing your new prospect and keeping them happy.

  • "Do you have any investments with other firms? (pause) Do you have any questions about the rest of your portfolio?" Here, we are trying to see if they have other investments that might possibly be moved over to your firm. An important part of this process is to try to capture all of the prospect's wallet.

  • "What can we do to best help you?" This question tells you what they want to buy. You solve this, you have a new client.

  • "How can we best meet your needs?" I use this question a lot when I am stumped on how to get through to a client. This helps them focus on exactly what they want from us and becomes an implied "Yes, I want to hire you."

  • "What are your expectations of me and our services? How did your last advisor fail to meet your expectations?" Setting expectations up front is huge when it comes to creating happy, satisfied clients who love to send you new referrals.

  • "Would it be helpful to you, if I/we could make some suggestions that might help you feel more comfortable about your finances?" Depending on the answer here, you might choose some of these replies:

    • "I could suggest some investment options that might be less volatile. Is that something you would like to explore?"

    • "I can suggest some investments that provide decent returns that are not dependent on the stock market. Does that sound like something we should consider?"

    • "One possible solution would be for me to address all your concerns by putting together a full financial plan that covers all of your goals and your investments, so you can see exactly where you are now and we could begin to create a road map to where you would like to be. I would be happy to do it for no charge. Would that be helpful for you?"

      • If yes: "Great, we can go ahead and set up an appointment. (Go into setting up the appointment and the information you will need)
Depending on how well the conversation is going, you might add this towards the end:
  • "I bet you have some friends or family who are also concerned about the market? You have probably heard plenty of complaints about their vanishing brokers. (pause for answer) I just wanted you to know, If I can help bring some clarity to their situation, I would be happy to help." Or this would be a good time to invite them and their friends to an educational meeting. The key message you want to get across is that you are there to help them and their friends feel more comfortable in the current market.

    Whenever I am doing telephone sales, I never end the call without this key question:

    • What are our next steps? It is important that you and the prospect both have clarity about what you are going to do next, and what is required of each of you.
No matter how the conversation ends, whether they are considering working with you, or they blow you off, I would then take the following steps:

1. First, send them a follow up e-mail with the key points you discussed in the call. This is a nice reminder for them and good for you. If you are making dozens of these calls every day, it can be hard to remember who said what. Your compliance department should like this too.

2. I am also a strong believer in sending a handwritten thank you note after the call. Here is what I would say if the call went well and the client wanted to take the next steps: Dear Jane, it was great to talk to you today. Thanks for taking the time to share your concerns with me. I look forward to working with you during these turbulent times. (or, "I look forward to meeting you in person next Tuesday"). In the meantime, feel free to call me personally if you have any questions. I am here to help. (signed) Katherine Vessenes

For the call that did not go well:

    Dear Bill, thanks for taking my call today and being so frank with me. I really understand your frustrations. If I can be of any help to you or your friends in the future, please feel free to call. I am here to help. (signed) Katherine Vessenes
Here are the key messages you want to get across to your orphan accounts:

1. I realize you are unhappy and that is very understandable

2. I am here to help

3. The best way to build trust with these prospects is to have them into your office to create a written plan. It will raise their confidence level with you and show your value.

4. They probably have friends who are being ignored by their brokers. You are happy to help them, too.

Take these steps and you, too, can build your business during bad markets.

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