Overcoming Objections To Setting Up Annual Reviews With Clients

06/01/2018

Scheduling Annual Reviews

 

In the last post, I gave you three reasons for why it’s critical to conduct an annual review with all of your clients.

It makes sense from a client perspective as their financial needs change over time, but it’s also really important to your business.

In this post, you’ll gain some practical ideas on how to schedule the annual review meetings with your clients and overcome potential objections.

Setting A Time For The Annual Review

Everyone has his or her own idea as to how to approach setting up the annual review. In my practice, I called all new clients from referrals and any others I wanted to meet for the first time. My staff called all existing clients in my system for the annual reviews.

Their language should be very simple. Your staff does not want to deal with conflict, and they aren’t salespeople, so it should simply sound like this:

“Hello, Mr. Prospect, this is such-and-such, Jim Effner’s assistant. I just wanted to let you know that it’s time for your annual review, and I was wondering if next Tuesday or Wednesday would be better for you at 2 o’clock in our office.”

Objections To Annual Reviews

The client can schedule a time — or they may make up an excuse. The first time they often make excuses.

“Well, nothing has changed. I don’t need to get together with Jim now.”
“I’m really busy.”

“I’m not interested now. I’ll see him next year.”

“I don’t really see any benefit right now.”

Before teaching you how to deal with that, I want to teach you to be very introspective about what clients are actually telling you. What they’re saying is they don’t see much value in what you bring to the table.

If a client only wants to see you when they need to purchase a product from you, this indicates that they do not view you as an advisor, but as simply a sales person who distributes product.

In these cases, my assistant simply says, “Okay, why don’t I have Jim follow up with you?”

Those files are brought to my office, and I personally call those clients. I say something like this:

“Mr. Prospect, it’s Jim. My assistant called you and mentioned that you weren’t interested in getting together for an annual review. I wanted to follow up and see what was going on in your mind.”

About half the time, they would say, “You know what? I thought about it. Let’s get together.” The change came simply from hearing my voice.

However, they might proceed by repeating what they told my assistant. I simply reply with:

“You know what, Mr. Prospect? I apologize. Maybe I didn’t make myself clear when we first met, and I told you that it’s a very important process in my practice for me to get together with clients each year for an annual review.”

“The reason for that is because I take my responsibility seriously, and I need to build a relationship with my clients. Things change in life, both in family and finances, in careers and objectives and goals.”

“If I’m not together with my clients on an annual basis, I don’t feel I can do my job. I’m not interested in only whether things have changed or whether you need to do anything. What I’m interested in is building a relationship with you and helping you achieve long-term financial security. Having said that, what time next week works well for you for your annual review?”

When The Answer Is Still “No”

If they push back after that, I have a very direct conversation and inform the client I’m no longer interested in working with them.

See, when you say you stand for something, you have to be willing to fall on your sword for it when tested. If not, you don’t truly stand for your principles. This is where the rubber hits the road on your value system.

From my perspective, if someone is my client, I will do the best job I possibly can, and they’re damn lucky to have me as a financial rep.

If they’re not serious enough about their planning to sit down with me just once a year, I’m no longer interested in being their financial representative.

When I share this with reps, it blows them away, but I promise you will experience a transformational amount of growth through this perspective. The first time you fire somebody, you will feel like a million bucks. Carry that self-confidence with you. It’ll pay back in spades.

I did that once with the client, and every year after, they scheduled the annual review with my assistant. It is typically only with a new client on the first annual review call, that you may have to push for a meeting. Even then, that will only be occasionally.

Once you have this system in place, you’ll find the process runs smoothly and that the majority of annual reviews are easily scheduled.

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