I know you love your product. I probably do too. But advisors just don’t.
I understand how you feel. It’s frustrating for a vendor who works day and night to stay on the cutting edge of technology to realize advisors aren’t interested. When I worked as the right-hand person for owners of advisor firms, I was the one coming back from conferences excited about something new and cool. And the advisor would say, “Why should I care?”
The uncomfortable truth you don’t want to hear.
To advisors, cool doesn’t matter. They are completely focused on either bringing in the next dollar or servicing a current dollar. Every day, they’re bombarded with client demands, operational glitches, new regulations, market disruptions. Rarely do they have time to look at their business from a business perspective. Vendors? Advisors can’t stop to digest what vendors are saying. Even if they did could, they’d be very hesitant to do anything to disrupt their clients, staff or ability to bring in new business. Besides, they ignored the last ten vendors who came by. Why shouldn’t they ignore you?
I’m not saying it’s impossible to sell to advisors. But you have to promise a specific, significant improvement—or they won’t take the time to learn about you. Vendors speak way too broadly. Right now, they’re all busy building out sales teams that have no idea how to sell to advisors. They march into the room speaking from a corporate perspective, promising efficiency, integration, a one-stop shop, cutting human capital, scaling the practice, industry awards. Then they wonder why their lunch meeting got canceled.
Learn to see things from the advisor’s perspective. Advisors aren’t big corporations. They’re entrepreneurs. Garage bands. They operate in constant protection mode—trying to safeguard their clients, their staff, and their practice. As soon as you start talking, they start thinking: What will it cost? What’s in the contract? Do I have to commit for twelve months?
If you want to sell to advisors, you need the ability to create a pitch on the fly. You have to ask the right questions, find a current pain point and focus on that one specific solution like a laser beam. Yes, yes, advisors could benefit from adopting your whole suite. But they don’t have time right now.
Two other barriers to a sale.
There are two other reasons why advisors don’t think your product is all that cool.
First, their friends aren’t using it. Or if they are, they aren’t talking about it. Few advisors can afford to be a guinea pig. They want to use whatever their friends and competitors are using. These advisor communities wield tremendous influence. Before you contact a prospect, make as many relevant connections as you can, so they’ll hear good things when they ask around. And build up a library of successful case studies.
Second, if you can’t prove your product’s ROI, don’t bother calling. Sales people don’t understand that each advisor is a small business owner that doesn’t receive any funding from anybody else. No advisor cares about the standard percentage of revenue spent on marketing or technology across the industry. Every dollar in advisor firm is already accounted for—and it can all disappear tomorrow if the market goes down or a disgruntled client causes a fuss. You need to prove not only that your product is better, but that it’s worth spending money on in the first place.
“Cool” isn’t enough. Educate your salespeople how advisors work. Promise specific solutions to immediate problems. And when it comes to ROI—prove it.
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