The big problem with sales scripts is, what if the prospect doesn’t say the right lines back to you? Most agents and advisors can address this issue, but the question highlights problems with complicated approaches. What you need are some simple “one liners” or short conversations for various social situations. If the prospects pick up on the hint and ask questions, great! If not, move on to a social topic.
Seven Simple Strategies
The Existing Relationship – You meet someone at a party. They ask, “What do you do?” After you answer, they respond, “I already have a financial advisor.”
Rationale: Who doesn’t? It’s likely that everyone who has some money also has an individual or firm providing some financial guidance. Accept that fact.
Response: “I’m sure you are very happy with your financial advisor. Here’s my card. If anything ever changes, give me a call.”
Result: It’s likely they keep the card. Down the road, if they have a falling out with their advisor or the advisor leaves the business, they can retrieve your card and connect a face with the name (assuming you’ve seen them again from time to time). Rather than find another advisor (which is a daunting task for them); they bring their assets to you, who will handle the details (an easier task for them).
 The Common Issue – You and an acquaintance both have young children in school (or share a similar issue). One day, you mention, “We’ve decided to take care of college for our daughters. We set up college saving plans last week. What are you doing about your son’s education?”
Rationale: You both want the same things for your children, such as the best education and opportunities in life. You are each facing these shared issues in your own lives.
Response: Wait for their answer. If they ask, “What’s a college savings plan?” give a short answer. They might say, “My parents have told us they are paying for their grandson’s education.” Tactfully ask, “Have you thought of setting up an account so other relatives can contribute at holidays?”
Result: The issue isn’t going away. They need to do something. They need a solution. You put one in place. They might ask for more details later.
 After Playing Golf – An insurance agent new to an area is advised to buy a new Cadillac and join the most exclusive country club. Several times a week, he plays golf with his accountant and their clients or he goes to the club with chamber of commerce members. These guests are the owners of small to medium-sized businesses. After treating them to golf, the advisor buys them lunch.
Rationale: These business owners belong to a club, but they don’t belong to the most prestigious one in the community. They play the best course in town only when someone else takes them. As a result, they are indebted to their host.
Response: Over lunch, he asks, “May I call next week and set up an appointment? I have a few ideas I would like to share. I think I may be able to save you money.”
Result: Lunch and golf created an obligation. His guests often agree to the appointment. The agent gets in front of the business owners. Sometimes getting the appointment is the toughest part of the sale.
 Spousal Referrals – An advisor and his wife attend parties. They often mingle separately. A guest asks the wife, “What do you do?” She replies, “I stay at home and raise the children. My husband is a financial advisor.”
Rationale: The guest realizes that the wife, as the spouse of an advisor, would know investing terminology. The guest and the wife talk about their investments.
Response: The wife waits until something “explodes” in the conversation and then says, “You really should talk to my husband, Michael. He may be able to help you with that problem.”
Result: The wife updates her husband at the first opportunity. He might sit at the guest’s table if there’s open seating and introduce himself to the other guests he doesn’t know. This guest has a problem, and the potential solution just sat down at the table. The advisor also might ask to talk privately with the guest.
 Passions – Another couple shares a common interest such as gourmet cooking with you and your spouse. You are shopping at the mall together. Stores or product manufacturers often are owned by publicly traded companies.
Rationale: The wealthy may not talk about money, but they are passionate about a hobby or special interest.
Response: “(This store) is owned by a publicly traded company, (name). You would be amazed at what they are doing and the other brands they own. A research report about them just came across my desk. Why don’t I email (or fax) it to you?”
Result: They might not want you to go to any trouble. You insist that it would be easy. They read the report addressing a subject of passionate interest. This opens the door to additional communications about earnings, news, competitors, the industry and eventually the sector. Gradually, you have positioned yourself as a financial resource.
 Asking for Something – An advisor is solicited for charitable contributions from time to time. She scans the board or committee list, looking for familiar names. If she sees one, she writes a contribution check and mails it to the home of the person whose name she recognizes.
Rationale: A friend or acquaintance has added the advisor’s name to a solicitation list for charitable donations. Mailing the check directly to the friend highlights the fact that the advisor is responding to the donation request.
Response: The advisor calls the friend a few days later. The friend confirms that the check arrived. The advisor says, “In my business, I often speak to groups like yours about timely subjects such as identity theft. If you or your group would like me to speak, I would be glad to do it.”
Result: In a tactful way, the advisor has established: (1) You asked for money. (2) I sent it. (3) You confirmed receipt. (4) I’ve asked for something. (5) How about it? She might be brought in as a guest speaker at a group meeting.
 Asking – The problems with asking friends for business are our friendship and familiarity. We talk differently with friends than we would when prospecting a senior executive. Show your friends the same respect by using the same tone and questions you use professionally. They’ve told you they work with an advisor at a competing firm. They use a money management platform.
Rationale: They have needs. They are professionals in their field. They are comfortable with this respectful approach.
Response: “You’ve explained you use professional money management at (firm). We offer it at my firm. We are competitively priced. We have good performance figures. When do you review the performance of the managers you are using at (firm?) I’m interested in winning some of your business. Are you open to presentations about additional money managers at that time?”
Result: You want to see her a day or so before she visits her advisor. You are fresh in her mind when her portfolio is reviewed by the competitor. If she’s dissatisfied with the results, it’s easy for her to move some of that money in your direction.
Strategies don’t need to be complex. People aren’t off limits because they work with another advisor or have an account at another firm. Sometimes, prospecting means having the right conversation with the right friend at the right moment.