Have you ever found that you’ve spent hours or days on a prospect, done all your homework, had a great meeting with them…only to find they say ‘no’ when the time comes to bring them on as a client? Though there could be several reasons for this failure to convert, one of the most prevalent I’ve seen is because the advisor is giving away his or her value too quickly. What do I mean by this? Basically, it means that you’ve given the milk away for free without the client ever having to invest in the cow—and it’s a common issue.

Why Giving Your Value Away Undermines Your Business

In the rush to show your clients how much you can do for them, you usually end up with two results: either you push the client away because you appear desperate for their business, or you give away all your knowledge so the client has no incentive to actually employ you as their advisor. Neither is the result you are going for. Giving away your value too quickly is one of the biggest reasons why some independent advisors never reach the levels of success they strive for.

Clients can smell desperation. Though you may not actually be desperate for their business, rushing to solve all their problems and answer all their questions when they aren’t paying you makes you appear this way. In your mind, you’re being helpful. In their mind, you’re willing to give away all your expertise in the mere hopes that you will land a client.

Even if a client isn’t put off by this, you’ll still get some who will take the knowledge and run.

If you don’t have an effective way of finding prospects, you might be tempted to throw all of your expertise at the ones you do have in hopes of quickly converting them into clients. If your prospect happens to be a taker, they could easily take any advice and bring it to one of your competitors or implement it themselves—without ever paying you a cent for all your time and hard work.

What You Should Do Instead

It’s very tempting to show your prospects everything you can do for them and start problem-solving in the very first meeting. However, we’ve seen that it’s just not effective (and, in many cases, is counterproductive). Here’s what you should do instead in the prospecting stage:

Listen More Than You Talk  Do prospective clients care about your expertise, your years in the business, and the myriad ways in which you can help them build a retirement nest egg? Sure they do. But guess what they care about more: that you are interested in them. That’s why listening more than talking—especially in the beginning stages of a relationship—is so crucial.

Develop a Foundation  Your ultimate goal is to have a group of clients whom you can mentor, and you need to set that precedent from the very first meeting. This is a time to get to know them as a person and understand their situation. It’s also a time to figure out if this would make a good client for you and if they are open to the mentoring type of relationship that will benefit you both. If the prospect tries to rush you and demands financial answers or solutions, you may be better off ending the relationship before it even starts.

Always Talk About Cost BEFORE Problem Solving  After effectively asking your prospect the proper questions and truly listening to their answers, you can develop a proposal that lays out the cost for working together. This should be done before any solutions are discussed and before you put too much time and effort into investigating their financial solution. This shows that you value your own time and they should as well.

As with many mistakes that entrepreneurial advisors make, giving away value is something that comes from the very best of intentions. However, it can have disastrous results, especially if you are in the habit of doing it with all your prospects. If you’d like to chat more about effectively turning prospects into clients, please reach out so we can further discuss.

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