What To Do When Clients Don’t Buy



We’ve all been there before: You meet with a prospect or client. You make a recommendation for a particular product that makes all the logical sense in the world, and yet the client decides not to buy.

It’s important to have a system to follow up with these individuals moving forward, but prior to that, it’s more important to understand why they didn’t make the purchase in the first place.

If all you do is work in a logical world, you’ll never understand why people don’t buy. You have to understand that this is an emotional business and go beyond the superficial responses to get to the real reasons.

Think about it: You meet clients. They tell you their goals. You have all their facts and financial information. You know they have a need for your product or service. You know you have a great company behind you and the people to put everything together.

So, why wouldn’t they move forward with your plan? They must be crazy, right!?

While it may make you feel better to think that way, the truth is that they probably have a really good reason why they aren't doing it. The question is: Do you know what it is?

Do you know their reason? Have you asked the questions that help you go beyond the numbers and understand their real story?

For instance, imagine you have a 42-year-old, married male who is drastically underinsured and needs to purchase additional life insurance. It’s obvious to everyone. But what happens if he’s on the brink of going through a divorce and you didn't have a clue?

Many times you’ll meet with people who are not going to buy from you. But, by understanding their story, truly seeking to understand them, you'll at least know why.

Remember, people buy for their reasons, when they are ready – not for your reasons. As the old saying goes, “When the student is ready, the teacher shall appear."

Create Your Own Luck

The way that you make luck predictable is through your activity. Having a system that keeps you on track to create an abundance of activity is what is really going to bring that sustainability to life.

If you embrace activity and approach all your clients by leaving your needs at the door, the time will come when prospects and clients are ready to work with you. Every month, people will buy from you. It’s just that you don’t know which ones will do it ahead of time.

One of the practices that I had in place was a follow up system for clients and prospects who didn’t buy. If I left everything on the field and someone didn't buy, I would put them back in my system. Every six months they would come up, I would call them and it would be timed based on their birthday. I would call them on their birthday and six months after their birthday.

In my early years in the business, I read an article in a financial planning journal about a poll conducted among a group of clients. The poll asked clients to name the top five things they disliked about their financial advisors, and the clients’ top complaint was that advisors only called them when they wanted to sell something.

You know the old saying, “the truth hurts”? That really hit home with me, because not only did it sound bad when I read it, but upon examining my practice it rang true. I was guilty. I was cherry picking and didn’t want to waste my time.

I knew I needed to make a change, so I instituted the birthday call. It turned out to be one of my greatest decisions, simply because it not only defied the “truth hurts” principle, but it also became something I found incredibly enjoyable.

It's critically important not to discuss business, nor ask for referrals, on the birthday call. The purpose is to strengthen the relationship by getting to know them better and to differentiate yourself from other advisors. If the client asked about anything business related, I would simply say, "We can address that at our annual review in six months. That was not the purpose of this call. I simply wanted to wish you a happy birthday, catch up with you and let you know how much I appreciate our relationship." That really stood out because it was totally different from what was expected.

Six months later, I would follow up again. Some of my best clients it took me three, four, even five years before they purchased anything.

If I was calling up “Bob” and I've called him for three and a half years, we've met a couple times, and he had not moved forward with any recommendations yet, I’d continue to call him up every six months. I’d have fun with it. I'd say "Hey Bob!! It's your favorite guy, Jim Effner again. I bet you've been dying to hear from me! How's it going?!"

Really good sales people have the ability to break tension and reaching out to a client in that manner worked effectively for me.

Have The Belief In Yourself

It’s no secret that to be successful in this business you’re going to have to deal with your fair share of rejection. When your intentions are to understand your clients, make a meaningful impact in their lives, one client at a time, you learn to let it go. Have the courage to continue to follow up with the individuals that would make a valuable addition to your practice and I am confident that this system will work for you, just as it did for me!

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