Presentation Skills for Financial Advisors: 4 Strategies for Building Trust over the Phone
Here’s a question I was asked in a recent teleseminar by a financial advisor about delivering and soliciting information over the phone:
Question: "I’m a financial advisor. Most of the first phone calls I have are about building trust with the client. The more they talk, the better for me because I’m able to gather a lot of information from them. But in a 30-minute call, at some point I need to jump in with my “pitch” or to just give my message to them and I don’t want to cut them off in the middle of a conversation.
How do you manage that when you want them to feel comfortable, but time is kicking in and you need to be sure that there are certain points you’ve made before the call is over? What do I say?"
This is a common problem for financial advisors and others who need to deliver as well as solicit information during a phone call. Here are 4 strategies for handling the call:
1. Set the expectations up front
At the start of the call, let them know how you see it unfolding. Say something like, “Since this is our first call it’s important for me to learn a lot about you so I’m going to ask you some questions. Then I also want to share the products and services I have at my disposal that I think can meet your needs. So do I have your permission to interrupt you gently if I need to, in order to share something I think can help you?”
Acknowledge that the call will be a give and take, which can be difficult over the phone. The first time you want to interrupt, wait for a break in the conversation and say something like, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but you mentioned something about having a child going to college next year. Let me tell you a little bit about the plans we have for college saving.” Make sure the interruption is targeted and relevant and get their permission up front.
2. Don’t assume you can cover it all in one phone call
It might not be feasible with some clients to get everything you need from them and to give everything you feel you need to give to them, all in a 30-minute phone call. For example, send them general information ahead of time and then after the initial call, send a targeted, follow-up email and then have a second phone call or an in-person meeting. Be clear about your own goal for the first phone call – is it to convey everything you can or is it to get them to agree to an in-person meeting?
3. Think about it from the client’s point of view
Maybe it’s important for them to share their story, their needs or their concerns, rather than hearing the laundry list of your products. Other clients may have specific questions about exactly which products and services you offer. You have to decide on the fly what is important to the client and then act accordingly.
4. Understand that it takes time to build trust – especially over the phone
Trust takes time to build – and only a moment to destroy – and can be even more difficult to build over the phone. Be a good listener. At the end of the call, summarize what you’ve discussed and establish the next steps. And after the call, follow up with what you’ve promised within a reasonable time frame.
Following these strategies will help you make the most of your phone conversation and build trust with your client.
Gilda Bonanno is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people from all walks of life improve their communication and presentation skills.
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