The art of finding facts: turning needs into wants
Posted On August 4, 2022
This morning I took the time to make our bed. I cut it down to 1½ minutes and I’m very proud, but please don’t tell my wife.
The reason I make it fast is because it’s simple and pretty boring.
Some things in life are really simple. When we do simple things, like making the bed, we go into autopilot, in other words, we automate it so that it requires as little attention as possible from our consciousness. So we can focus on something else. We speed up simple processes because they are boring.
Now, finding out the facts with our clients in a face-to-face interview is quite simple. Gathering information to fill out a form is not difficult. Most of the time specific data is needed to complete a form. Once we have the facts, we, as fully trained and educated financial advisors, know the products that the client needs and counting them is also simple.
Saying no is selling, especially not selling relationships.
Finding facts to sell rapport involves getting into the hard stuff. Not just asking questions to get data, but asking a variety of questions that simulate a discussion to open opportunities with our client, finding softer information that helps us link our products to them personally. Knowing what drives them to do what they do, making them feel worried about their lack of coverage, excited about a goal they had in the back of their mind.
Above all, make them want what we have to sell. Turning needs into wants is the hard part but the most rewarding for them and for us.
So how do we do this?
You need some skills and some process. The skills come from your ability to ask the right question, turn this into a conversation and genuine interest in your client and have first class listening skills.
The process is this:
o Prioritize customer needs and take one at a time
o Discover the situation around the need
o Turn need into desire
o Gain engagement
Like any process, it can be adapted as you go, but it’s important to follow some structure. What is most important is that your client accompanies you. Ask them to join your journey. Tell them where you are taking them. Explain the process in terms of benefits so they know exactly what is going to happen and what is expected of them.
“I’d like to spend some time exploring your current situation by asking you a lot of questions. I’ll be listening a lot if you’re okay as you talk about yourself, your situation, your goals and dreams, and the issues you’re having around your personal finances. That way, I can provide you with the best service and advice. Are you okay, Mr. Brown?”
Have a priority of needs that hopefully your client has agreed to and actually prioritized for you. This is usually why they see or recommend you in the first place. Companies use all sorts of acronyms to help you decide on needs, and each data search page is usually dedicated to one particular need.
o PIMPSIO – Protection, income substitution, mortgage, pension, savings and investment, others
o PEPSI – protection, income replacement, pension, savings and investment
o SLIM – savings, life protection, insurance, mortgage
However, above all, the client decides the priority, not you. And you take one need at a time.
discover the situation
The factual findings are usually completed with the usual situation type information. Name, policy details, coverage amount, retirement date, coverage gap needed, etc., etc. Now you need this, of course, but you also need softer information. You need their feelings about the coverage they have, what they know about the alternatives, you need their priorities, their goals, their purposes for their family. He wants to find out what they thought of their previous adviser, how much the state provides them when they retire or die.
These are just examples of your current situation.
Lots of open-ended questions, probing, and just a good old-fashioned silence and listen will give you this information.
Turn a need into a want
The principle here is that people move away from pain and problems or towards pleasure. Do you think about this in your life? What cheers you up? It’s probably one of those two.
This part is the smart part and also the most complicated. There are three avenues you can explore that will get the client thinking about finding solutions. They can discover the problems they are facing if the current situation holds, they can see that some goals may be unbalanced or off target and this can cause a problem or they can rediscover or re-ignite a goal that prompts them to take action.
Take life and protection needs. Having a lack of this can cause problems for people, especially when the cause occurs. They die or are out of work for the long term due to illness. Your questions should allow them to consider the issues personally and the consequences as well. Your questions can get them thinking about what kind of solution will solve these problems and turn the need into a genuine want for the products. A good mix of questions: open and probing, summaries, pauses will pay dividends here.
Beware of entering like a bull in a china shop. You are dealing with personal information, so we must be sensitive. Be careful about the style and tone of your questions. Use a lot of “tell me…” and “I’m curious” and “I wonder.” Also make sure your question tone rises slightly in the sentence. This is very important because the opposite, a descending tone, suggests an order and will be interpreted as an attack or an interrogation.
And you don’t want that, do you?
Take savings or investments. Having these or wanting this area of need requires an end result. Why are they saving? A rainy day, a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, retirement income, a new car, a house. This list goes on. Your questions will allow you to explore these goals, to visualize the goal clearly, to discover the pleasure that achieving this goal can bring. This will be enough to turn this need into a want.
What about re-mortgages? This is big business these days. Is this a motivated need to move away from pain or towards pleasure? That really depends. You can ask what their concerns are regarding the mortgage they already have. They may be anxious about paying a higher interest rate than other people or having to make payments longer than they wanted to. Here we have a problem.
Explore this further to see how it affects them personally and you may find them motivated by a desire to get a better interest rate or the ability to pay off the loan earlier than planned. You could explore the issues of staying with your existing lender and perhaps the personal consequences. This turning away from pain could be your motivation.
So, to achieve fact-finding success, we turn a need into a want. A longing desire for some advice. This may be a bit utopian, but this process armed with the right questions and many hours of listening will get you down the road.
Along the way of exploring needs with your customer, you’ll want to get small bits of compromise along the way. Subject to affordability, they’ll be interested to see more details shortly. Asking about affordability at an early stage is a brilliant way to avoid an objection later on.
All the while you’re building a vision of a package of options that will take away this pain or give them the pleasure that they definitely want. At the end of the formal fact-finding process, we need to announce that this is what we’re going to show you and that you can look at the options and make some decisions.
There isn’t much more you can do to make the process of making your bed more interesting and stimulating, other than research. But I think I’ll take the minute and a half and keep quiet. The pain of having other jobs to do around the house is too intense.
The next time you conduct a fact search, focus on the most challenging and challenging part: turning the needs you’re discussing into wants. Remember away from pain and trouble or towards pleasure.