Five hot buttons that make clients buy

imgbd MasterMind is a joint initiative between Sundaram Mutual and Wealth Forum, in which we offer insights into how you can become a more effective advisor to your clients, by understanding them better, understanding how they think, understanding how they take financial decisions. This gateway into your clients' minds we believe will help you relate better to them, communicate more effectively with them and thus serve them better. Mastering your client's mind is your gateway to becoming a more successful advisor. Its not for nothing that they say, "Its all in the mind!"

Selling is actually the art of getting clients to buy. To do this, you need to understand how your clients make their buying decisions. Here are five hot buttons that make clients buy.

We are all salesmen - whether we call ourselves advisors, distributors or wealth managers. Some of us focus on selling products to boost our revenues while others focus on selling ideas and strategies to help shape client portfolios the way we think is best for our clients. Importantly, we need to sell them in a manner that clients buy our ideas and agree to implement them.

Getting clients to buy therefore is the key to success. It therefore follows that what we really need to focus on is not selling, but on getting clients to buy. This means understanding what will make your client buy, and ensuring that your presentation / your pitch addresses these points very effectively. Getting into your client's mind is therefore what makes all the difference.

Here are five hot buttons for you to keep in mind, the next time you make a presentation or a pitch to your clients. Address these five hot buttons - in the suggested sequence - and you can vastly improve the probability of clients buying into the ideas and strategies you recommend.

1. Investors decide emotionally

MasterMind has discussed at length about how it is the right brain of your client (the part that deals with emotions) and not the left brain (the one that takes logical decisions) that takes most financial decisions. Greed, fear, security, ego, love - these are some of the emotions that drive investors to take financial decisions. If we know this, the question we have to ask ourselves is whether we know which emotion we are tapping into when making this presentation to a client. If we know it, are we commencing our presentation / pitch by highlighting the emotion, to ensure that the client will get interested from the word go.

If a client is feeling left out because he was underinvested in equity, yet nervous about entering the market when it has just scaled a new high, and you think you have a good strategy in mind to help him get adequately invested into equity, you may want to start with a something like this: "I would like to discuss a strategy with you that I believe will decisively put your portfolio into wealth creation mode. I believe that 10 years from now, when you look at this portfolio, you will pat yourself on your back for taking decisive action today, rather than waiting on the sidelines like so many of your friends, and watching a huge wealth creation opportunity pass you by."

Your opening statement has not a single word about products, about market levels, or any form of technicalities. It plays directly into the emotion you know is uppermost in your client's mind.

2. Investors justify their decisions with facts

MasterMind has discussed how the left brain swings into the act after the right brain has made a decision based on an overarching emotion. This is a very important aspect of the decision making process: human beings don't like admitting that they take decisions emotionally. They like to justify their actions with logic, facts and figures, so that it appears like a well considered and balanced decision.

Your pitch therefore has to provide the relevant facts and figures to support your contention that the next 10 years hold out a strong promise of wealth creation. This however is done after you see your client buying into the strategy - not before. We are all very good with market data - P/E levels, projections of earnings increases, GDP growth, investment cycle kicking in, etc etc. All of this is useful - but essentially to justify a decision that was emotionally taken.

3. Investors have doubts that need to be addressed

Once the appropriate emotion has been triggered and interest in your proposition has been aroused, you then give facts and figures to support a decision you can see your clients taking. Now what? Its not over yet. There will be doubts, what-ifs, risks - which need to be covered off. What if the market were to correct sharply just after I invest? What if FIIs start selling because of events outside India? There will be many concerns - you need anticipate likely objections and have responses to them ready, which in a nutshell will demonstrate that markets over the long term are driven primarily by earnings growth and all else is just short term noise.

4. Investors buy convenience

This is a very big aspect that many advisors do not pay adequate attention to. Look around you and see the buying behaviour of your clients and indeed yourself - isn't convenience one of the biggest drivers of your purchase decisions? In the context of a financial portfolio, the convenience you need to highlight is the fact that this portfolio is highly liquid, will be monitored constantly by you, is incredibly tax efficient and that your client is always in control of every part of the portfolio - he can switch / exit / buy more - essentially do anything he wants, any time - by just signing an appropriate form and that you will get the instruction executed immediately.

You may not need to stress on all of this for existing clients, who are very familiar with how open ended mutual funds work, but it doesn't harm to add a line that reinforces that your client will always be in full control of the portfolio and can move it around very easily. Convenience is a big draw. Many investors may never exercise the convenient features - but the knowledge that they can, is enough to reassure them.

5. Investors follow others easier than leading the way

Most of us find it a lot more convenient to join a crowd rather than leading the way. It takes a lot more courage to be the first one, it takes tremendous conviction to be the first. It's a lot easier to gain conviction when you know others before you have gone down a particular path. Same is the case with investing. If your clients know that some of their friends who are also your clients, have adopted a similar strategy, it gives them a lot of confidence to go ahead and give the final nod. It need not only be their own friends - testimonials from clients who stayed invested through market cycles and who have reaped the rewards of patience, will go a long way in reassuring your client about the strategy you are trying to get him to buy into.

Its important to tailor your pitch by addressing these 5 hot buttons, in the sequence suggested above. Try this, and you might find it a lot easier to get clients to buy your ideas and strategies. Selling is ultimately nothing but getting your clients to buy.

All content in MasterMind is created by Wealth Forum and should not be construed as an opinion of Sundaram Mutual Fund.

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