If sales were easy, everyone would be doing it. Everyone would be successful. Everyone doesn’t do it, and everyone is not successful. Your superpower is the ability to look someone in the eyes and ask them for money. The operative word is “ask.” You need to ask for the order.

Prospects do not say: “Stop talking. You’ve convinced me. Where do I sign?” They sometimes give signs letting you know you should stop presenting and start closing.

How Do Advisors Make Decisions Timely?
It can be a problem when prospects do not feel a sense of urgency. They own stocks. You want them to buy different stocks. They feel one basket of stocks is just as good as another. They are in no hurry to make a decision. How can you make the case they should act now?

1. Create a sense of urgency. This is easier when you are talking about initial public offerings (IPOs). If you buy now, there are no purchase commissions. You can buy later, but it will probably cost you something. It works if the item is in short supply, as in the case of individual municipal bonds. Maybe a money manager or mutual fund is closing to new money soon. Perhaps an investment posts a declared rate of interest, but that rate will be going down on a specific date in the near future.

2. There is a process. This makes sense if you have explained you have a five-step process. We have done the data gathering, presented the financial plan and reviewed the proposal. Funding the account is the next step in the process.

3. Missed opportunity. Prospects can choose to wait. It’s their money, they call the shots. The stock market and interest rates are cyclical. If interest rates head down and the quoted rate is no longer available, it might come back up to that level again, but it might take years.

4. Proactive follow up. Fans of the TV series Columbo know the detective in the raincoat was always showing up unexpectedly. When he would say “One more thing…” he was usually bringing new information. You might keep in touch with the prospect afterwards, keeping them current on rate changes or other relevant factors. Some people make a decision based on who was the last person who spoke to them.

5. Asset allocation rebalancing. This is always timely because the market valuations are changing every day. If you tell your client they are overweighted in bonds and underweighted in stocks, you have identified a problem. They might decide not to take action, but the problem doesn’t go away. It’s still present until they do something about it.

6. Cost of inaction. Many people do not realize “no decision is a decision.” If they decide not to follow your advice, they are also deciding the holdings they currently own are appropriate going forward. A Pennsylvania advisor I knew had a great expression: “Your portfolio is ideally positioned for the economic cycle we just left.” They need to accept some responsibility for the results if they decline to act on your advice.

What Are The Signs The Prospect Is Ready To Buy?
I interviewed advisors about closing strategies. They told me about four sets of signals.

1. Interaction. One advisor said it best: The questions they ask sound like they already own the product. “Will I be getting income monthly or quarterly?”

2. Body language. You have read all this before. Leaning forward and nodding is good. Leaning back with their arms crossed is bad. They are leaning forward.

3. Providing statements. You asked for lots of paperwork. They brought it all. They invested time preparing for this meeting. They are serious about finding a solution.

4. You have been asking directly. You have been utilizing trial closes like “Does that make sense to you?” All the answers have been “Yes.”

How Can You Ask For The Order?
Let us take “Enough talking! Are you going to buy or not” off the table! Some advisors might say: “Implementation is the next step in the process.” Another advisor has them completing paperwork.

Let us look at six of the best “asks” I have come across in those interviews and surveys.

• “Are you ready to address the issues?”

• Are you comfortable enough with the recommendations to proceed?”

• “What do you think? Can we proceed with the plan?”

• “Can I have your business?”

• “Can you see yourself benefitting from the strategy?”

• “I want to work for you. I need the go ahead from you.”

Yes, they all sound cool. All six are very similar. Here is what they share in common:

1. All are closed-ended questions. The answer to each is yes or no.

2. It’s all about you. Every question includes the word “you” or “your.”

3. No is the uncomfortable answer. You might have been using trial closes with the logic a string of yes answers is rarely followed by a no. In every question “no” is the uncomfortable answer. Try it for yourself and see.

Prospects don’t say: “You’ve convinced me. Where do I sign?” You need to help them get to that point.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book Captivating the Wealthy Investor is available on Amazon.