The Advisor Loved You—So Who Sunk the Sale?

The Advisor Loved You—So Who Sunk the Sale?

If you sell to advisors, you’ve probably experienced at least one deal that seemed like a sure thing—but you just couldn’t make it happen.

You hit it off with the advisor. He or she seemed to really get your message. But the sale just petered out, leaving you to wonder why.

On the other hand, maybe you had a client relationship that inexplicably soured. You lost the account without ever understanding what happened.

Pay attention to the people behind the curtain

You might have forgotten an important fact: Advisors aren’t the only gatekeepers you need to get past. Behind the scenes at any advisor firm are the unsung heroes who keep it running. Assistants. Office managers. Operations people. The owner’s right-hand person. These are very powerful individuals, and you ignore them at your peril. Any one of them can squelch a deal or spoil a relationship.

These people aren’t out to get you. They have legitimate concerns. Often, the owner will be tossing your solution onto their desks for them to implement. Getting trained, converting systems, fixing problems, dealing with client complaints, repapering accounts, hanging on your support line for hours—these tasks will all be added to their workloads if you succeed at making the sale. Worst of all, they’ll be first in line take the blame if anything goes wrong. So it’s understandable if the gatekeepers are not exactly rooting for your success.

How to turn a gatekeeper into your biggest fan

The good news is, if you get the gatekeepers on your side, they can become your most loyal champions—not only during the initial sale, but for retention as well. It takes a certain amount of finesse to win them over. You wouldn’t pitch them directly on a formal sales call, and you can’t come out and ask what their role really is. It’s mostly about acknowledging the importance of their relationship with the owner, and creating messaging aimed specifically at them. Then incorporate that messaging into your sales process and collateral. Make sure the website explains how you make their jobs easier and more interesting.

I’ve seen annuity wholesalers handle gatekeepers with real flair. They would roll in with flowers, pastries for the office, or candy for their kids, and win some serious relationship coin. And more importantly, they would spend extra time at the office answering their questions, or scheduling personal training calls with the product team. They recognized if they could make this one woman happy—and it usually is a woman—she would fight tooth and nail for their product.

A word of caution

Do not cross a gatekeeper. They feel easily threatened, and are worried that vendors will throw them under the bus or tell the advisor they don’t know what they’re doing. Convince them your product will help them do their job better, and never, ever say it will reduce the firm’s headcount! Offer extra training and extra servicing to make them the in-house expert on your product.

Take extra care of the gatekeepers at the start of a client relationships, and they’ll reward you with a longer relationship.

Megan Carpenter
Twitter Email

Megan is CEO & Co-Founder at FiComm Partners, LLC. Her team develops winning communications strategies for entrepreneurs in the independent advisory community, and busines ... Click for full bio

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: April 17-21

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: April 17-21

Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on, April 17-21, 2017 

Click the headline to read the full article.  Enjoy!

1. Market Keeping You up at Night? Look for the Right Hedge

Like so many others in the industry, I was wrong. For years, I was certain that the bull market was nearing its end. I thought the market was over-extended, and that, surely, the wild equities run was coming to an end. But everyone else was bullish, and perhaps rightfully so. And while I’ve watched equities continue on their spectacular rise, I do think now is the time (really!) to put a hedge in place. Here’s why. Here’s how. — Adam Patti

2. How to Manage Bond Market Pain and Seek the Gain When Rates Are Rising

The realities for fixed income investors have changed. How is this being reflected in markets? Bond investing has become increasingly difficult over the past decade. Markets have been heavily distorted by ultra-low interest rates and quantitative easing, as well as by extreme risk aversion in response to the global economic crisis and the eurozone debt crisis. — Nick Gartside

3. Seven Reasons You'll Fail as a Financial Advisor

Is being a financial advisor worth it? I am an optimistic person and I encourage other people to keep a positive mental attitude (shout-out to Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone). However, by taking a good, hard look at the negatives in life, we can successfully pivot towards the positive aspects that will help us achieve our goals. — James Pollard

4. The Secret to Turning Every Prospect into a Client

How do you treat one of your most valued, existing clients? Here’s a list of some things that come to mind. — Andrew Sobel

5. Why Do Clients Change Advisors?

According to many advisors I speak with, the only clients that leave are those who have died. And while attrition may not be a big problem in this industry, I have to assume that at least a few clients change advisors without doing so via the funeral home. — Julie Littlechild

6. Why You Should Focus on Getting Referral Sources

I was talking with an advisor last week about how to get into conversations about what he does. He was relaying the story of going jogging with a friend who could be a good client but is, more importantly, connected to a large network of people who fit this advisors ideal client description. — Stephen Wershing

7. How Big Picture Thinkers Seize More Opportunities in 7 Steps

Big picture thinkers are not unicorns - rare and mystical. And they were not born with the innate ability to think big. They do, however, pay attention to the broader landscape and take the time to think, analyze and evaluate. — Jill Houtman and Danny Domenighini

8. 5 Actions to Build Your Reputation

Your reputation is who you are and how you show up, Monday to Monday®.  Many of us take our image and reputation for granted.  Give careful thought to the kind of reputation that you would be proud of Monday to Monday® and that would resonate with your purpose and priorities. — Stacey Hanke

9. How Are You Poised to Begin Welcoming GenZ to Your Workplace?

The generational changing of the guard is a fact of life as old as time. Young replaces old in responsibility, importance, control and culture. Outside of the family, the workplace is perhaps where this is seen most regularly by most people. — Shirley Engelmeier

10. Are Price Objections REALLY Price Objections?

Next time you hear your prospects give you price objections, it’s not because of the price. The give price objections because they don’t know the full value proposition that they’d be paying for. And it’s not based on their need, or your features and functions. It’s based on the buying criteria they want to meet internally. — Sofia Carter

11. Understanding the Economic Value of Transition Deals

Last week we wrote about the economic rationale behind going independent vs. moving to another major firm as an employee. As a follow-up topic, we thought it prudent to analyze transition packages attached to big firm moves and peel back the layers of the onion to show the components of these deals. — Louis Diamond

Douglas Heikkinen
Twitter Email

IRIS Founder and Producer of Perspective—a personal look at the industry, and notables who share what they’ve learned, regretted, won, lost and what continues to ... Click for full bio