Keep It Simple for Better Client Conversion

people around a desk

In my experience, football coaches seem to have the funniest and most memorable sayings that never leave your brain.  I remember one instance of this happening clearly.  In reviewing assignments before a high school game, I was lobbing a barrage of questions in a fit of over-analysis.  My coach simply replied, “Eddie you need to use the KISS method.” Curious, I asked what a kiss could possibly do with the task at hand.  His response revealed the meaning of his acronym:

“Keep It Simple, Stupid!”

Now, what does that have to do with how we communicate as financial professionals?  I feel that too often, we can get distracted by the noise of everything we can possibly say in a client meeting that the client leaves with more questions than answers.  I propose a “less is more” approach so that conversations are flexible, productive, and consistent.  So, here are 3 ways we can enhance client conversations to “Keep It Stupid Simple.”

1. Simple Proposals

Top 3 - Icons (17)-2Let’s not meet the complexity of our client’s financial lives with even more complexity through how we communicate the proposed financial plan.  I suggest utilizing proposal summaries that hit the key points of the plan that speak to the person’s specific needs and goals.  This will communicate that you truly listened to their pain points, and their more complete understanding will empower them to take action. (Quick plug - if you’re looking for reports to help simplify the client conversation, check out these options by Stonewood.)

2. Simple Silence

Learn to be comfortable with an extended pause in your conversations.  If you’ve just communicated an important point or asked a question, your client/prospect may sit silently for several seconds processing the information.  Instead of filling that (sometimes uncomfortable) silence with more information, watch their body language.  Body language will give you great indicators of where to take the conversation next – and simplify your interactions.

3. Simple Sayings

One of my favorite quotes is, “Brevity is the Soul of Wit.”  Quotes like these are easy to remember, they are short, sweet, and communicate a poignant message (something my football coach clearly understood). Here are a couple of short, simple frameworks that we use in our Stonewood marketing toolkits that are easy for your clients to remember that call to mind key points: 

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  • Mandatory vs. Optional: “Mr./Mrs. Client, would you rather pay mandatory or optional taxes? If you reallocate to tax-free, you’ll pay a mandatory tax amount of X. If you don’t make any changes to your financial plan, you could end up paying additional taxes, which I refer to as “optional”. While I can’t help eliminate your mandatory taxes, I can suggest strategies to ensure you don’t pay more taxes than necessary.  Let’s look at some approaches to make sure we limit your tax bill to what’s mandatory."

  • Wrong vs. Incomplete: “Mr./Mrs. Client, you’ve done a great job saving; I can’t say you’ve done anything wrong up to now.  But while there’s nothing wrong with your plan, based on what you’ve told me today, there are some areas where your plan is incomplete. Would you like to discuss some of the options to complete your approach, and ensure you’re protected against the complete risks of retirement?”

Hopefully, these tips will help you navigate conversations with even the most reticent of potential clients.  At the end of the day, what you say should reflect who you are, and who you are will be the biggest attractor to your practice.  So, as you sit down in your next meeting, remember what my old coach told me: “KISS”!