Hearing rejection time and time again can be a soul-crushing experience. In today’s episode, business coach John Barron stops by to share his approach to the sales process that will have you never again questioning whether you’re likable or trustworthy—and have you closing more sales.
We’ve all been there: a salesperson approaches you, and you inwardly cringe as you wonder whether you’ll be pressured into buying something you may or may not need. Listen in as John shares how his sales approach takes that pressure off the consumer and creates an enjoyable buying experience instead. You’ll learn how to offer value every step of the way and avoid feeling the sting of rejection.
You’ve now given them permission to do what they were already going to do. - John Barron Click To Tweet
People don’t want to engage with you until they’re ready. - John Barron Click To Tweet
Every opportunity you have to get in front of people, you should be providing value. - John Barron Click To Tweet
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Matthew Jarvis: Hello, everyone. Welcome to another great episode of The Perfect RA Podcast. I am your cohost, Matthew Jarvis, and I’ve left Micah alone in Alaska and instead, invited my good friend and longtime coach, John Barron to join us. John, how are you, my friend?
John Barron: I’m very good. It’s nice to see you, Matthew.
Matthew Jarvis: It’s nice to see you. You were actually our first guest on the podcast back when it was just my mom listening to it, and now we’re over 10,000 downloads a month and it’s fun to have you back on.
John Barron: Well, thank you to your mom for listening.
Matthew Jarvis: That’s right. That’s right. She put in enough five star reviews in there to get the thing rolling. So it’s really been great. Well, John, I’m really glad to have you on. I want to talk today for our listeners about probably one of the most pivotal or most foundational changes in my practice, which was, and it was something we worked on together, building a what I like to call a no rejection sales process, our prospect process, and using your terminology that is, “to help people make an educated and informed decision about my firm.” And I got to say, you and I were joking before we started recording that if I had to pay you a dollar every time I use that line, I would owe you a lot of money. So I really thank you for not just that line, but that approach.
John Barron: Yeah, you’re welcome. You’re welcome. It is what makes selling work.
Matthew Jarvis: It really is. It really is. And something you pointed out, I’d love for you to dive into this a little bit. I hadn’t thought about it directly until we were doing our pre-work for this call or this episode, which is sort of the traditional sales process if you will, really sets the seller or in this case, the financial advisors, really sets them up for a lot of personal rejection.
John Barron: Which is just horrible. It makes selling really hard. But when you think about it, if you’re typical sales process is you do whatever you do to get in front of someone for typically an hour or so, you take an hour of their time and then you bedazzle them with all of whatever it is that you say that you can do and provide for them, they’re left with a decision to make at that point, which is the only way that they can determine whether what you’re saying is true or not is if they trust you. So it becomes a referendum on your trustability, which when people say, “No,” has to occur like a personal rejection because frankly, it is. You’ve left them no other way to assess the value of what you’re telling them.
Matthew Jarvis: Now, John, I know for a lot of our listeners might be thinking, “Well, wait, John. In that hour, I talk to them about comprehensive financial planning, and how I’m a CFP and how I’m fee-only, and how I work with integrity,” they have to be evaluated on that, right? How could this be a personal thing?
John Barron: Well, because at that point in time, if I’m the potential customer, you’ve presented all this to me and the stuff you present may have been really valuable, really great, really awesome, but how do I know you’re going to deliver that?
Matthew Jarvis: That’s a really great question, right? We’ve all bought things that were promised to… You guys can’t see John, but John and I are both hair follicly challenged, right? There’s lots of great whizzbang cures that promise to regrow a great head of hair, and were we both still short on hair.
John Barron: Matthew, I don’t know if this is true in other cultures, but certainly in the American culture, we’re used to being caught. We learn early on that people will take advantage of you. And it is kind of the background that every sales scenario sits in, which is, “Are you trying to sell me something or are you going to misrepresent things to me? Or am I going to buy a bill of goods here? Am I going to end up with something that’s different than what I thought I paid for?” When your sales process requires people to make that judgment in a moment where they haven’t really had much time to think it through, there are two things people need to say, “Yes,” to a sale.
If you just watch how you and I buy, just think about what kind of process that you go through as a consumer. There’s two things that you and I need. One is we need to know kind of enough about what we’re being presented with. We need to be educated enough. We don’t need to be an expert on it. In fact, we pay people to be experts, but we need to know enough about what we’re considering buying so that we can make an educated and informed decision. We need to feel like, “Okay, I now know enough.”
The second thing is we need time to take that information and map it onto our values. What’s happening for me in my life right now? What are the circumstances I’m contending with? Is this a good idea or is it a bad idea? Is it too soon, is it too late? Is the price right? So all those things that education also needs some time to percolate with folks. And if they buy on their own without some sales person sitting in front of them, that’s how you and I buy. So the point of a sales process that doesn’t require an assessment of somebody’s trustworthiness would provide those things that people are looking for anyway in their buying decisions.
Matthew Jarvis: Those are really good points, John, and it’s probably exponentially so in professional services where we don’t have a tangible thing. I was just thinking as you were describing that, I recently bought a new dirt bike, but it was a dirt bike that’s sold all over the world and I could see that tens of thousands of them are out there. I can read everyone’s individual reviews. And professional services, especially financial advisors who can’t really have testimonials, right? You’re spot on. It’s like a hundred percent trust. I trust that Matthew’s a good guy and hopefully… I don’t really even understand what he said he’s going to do, but hopefully that’s a good thing.
John Barron: That is where a lot of people’s customers end up. The real shame of it is that at the end of the day, I don’t know if this is the shame of it, I don’t mean to say it that way because there is really something to be able to trust your financial advisor and you really do want to be able to trust them, but what they’ve bought is your … right? Now, that means that your service is only as good as you are. Rather than buying your service, rather than buying the product or service that you’re selling, they bought a personality. And if you’re a charismatic guy and you can make a lot of money being a charismatic guy, go ahead and knock yourself out. But the first time something turns south for a customer or a client and the force of your personality can’t save it, that relationship is now in trouble because what they bought was you.
Matthew Jarvis: Totally, totally. Which also is a just longer term, I think, a disservice to your team. So if you’re selling based on just having this enormous personality, and some people have that, I’ve gotten better in that, but I didn’t have that originally. When they go to talk to your team and they don’t have that same level of charisma, they’re like, “I don’t want to talk to Colleen. I want to talk to Matthew. He’s the guy,” and then you end up stuck having to do everything yourself.
John Barron: That’s right. That’s right because you’re the only one they trust.
Matthew Jarvis: Because I guess you haven’t given them anything else to go on other than, “Boy, Matthew sounds nice and I like him. I guess we’ll go with him. Hopefully, this works out.”
John Barron: Right. That’s the downside of the plus with being charismatic because you really do get stuck with… You’re on the hook for everything. You’re the only one they trust because you’re who they bought.
Matthew Jarvis: That’s a really good point. So even if you are, for our listeners, even if you are really naturally charismatic and that’s an easy thing for you, that’s a short term victory. That’s going to come back and bite you in the end, and not even the end, not too long after you get a few clients under your belt and they all want to talk to you. So what’s the alternative to this, John? So we’ve got sort of people that are super charismatic and probably just close the sale. Otherwise, everyone else is sort of just subjecting themselves to rejection. “Let me give you enough noise or enough features and eventually, you’ll hopefully say yes, please pretty please take me to the prom.” Why did you say no? I’m a terrible guy. So let’s talk about the other side of this.
John Barron: Well, and it’s interesting because you used the word features, which is a whole other… You and I could do a whole other episode just on features, but the alternative is if you design your sales process to deliver what somebody would do when they’re buying, there’s statistics out there that suggest that people buy between the fifth and the 12th time that they’ve considered purchasing something. They like to think it through. They like to get certain information. Now, those statistics have been a sale because people don’t trust the source of them, which is valid. But all you have to do is look at your own personal experience and how you buy. If you were shopping for a new car, you just decided you were maybe interested in buying a particular automobile, you’d go do consumer reports, research on it, you’d go to J.D. Power ‘s, you’d talk to your friends, you might do Yelp.
You get yourself informed about whether this thing was valid or not. You’ve probably talked to the people close to you; your wife, your spouse, your partner. “Is this a good idea? Should we do this?” You’d run some numbers. You might talk to your bank about getting preapproved for loan. You’d go through this process. At some point, you’ve talked with the devil and the angel on your shoulders. And depending upon the situation, I’m not sure which would be which, but one of them saying, “This is a bad idea, don’t do it.” The other would be saying, “Oh no, absolutely. You deserve it.” If at the end of the whole thing, you still were thinking, “Maybe I should buy this car.” Then maybe you go test drive, and that’s kind of the way that most people buy.
Now, if you can get informed more quickly than that, in a shorter process, great. But that is the process we go through. So the alternative to sitting in front of somebody and putting them on the spot to determine whether you’re trustworthy or not is to give them a process that lets them get educated about you, let’s then find out for themselves. You can say to people, “Look, you don’t have to trust me. Trust you. I’m going to give you what you need to do to make an informed decision about whether I am and my services, my firm’s a fit for you or not. And at the end, if it’s not good, you shouldn’t use me.”
Matthew Jarvis: John, I got to say, I absolutely love that because that’s what they’re going to do already. They’re already going to evaluate you. They’re already going to decide if they trust you. They’re already going to look and say, “Do I think John’s a good fit for me or not?” So what they were already going to do, whether that was conscious or subconscious, you’ve now given them permission to do what they were already going to do. Now, you seem like, even as I’m listening to you tell this and you’ve told it to me many times over the years, I think, “Wow, John. This is really great guy. That’s actually exactly what I want to do. How did John know that?” Versus your car example, which we’ve all experienced. You have to go down to the car dealership. They’re not saying, “Hey, we want to help you make an educated, informed decision and maybe a Chevy is not the right car. You should buy Ford.” No. They’re saying, “Don’t leave here unless you leave with one of our cars.”
John Barron: Right, which is why everybody really thoroughly enjoys the car buying process.
Matthew Jarvis: Always their favorite part. It goes back to our features and benefits podcast that we’ll have to do. Yeah, for our listeners; give people permission to do what they were already going to do. I shared in one of our prior podcasts about an advisor who said he hates me because what was his client, now my client, basically just repeat it back to him what I said, which was one quick example was I always tell prospects, I say, “Hey, great news. It only makes sense to work with us if the value we provide exceeds the fee that you pay.” And again, that’s giving them permission to do what they already were going to do.
“But each quarter ,you’ll look at our fee and I’ll look at it and then you can decide if we should keep going together.” By the way, this is something, John, I learned 100% for you. You and your coaching, you just say, I assume it’s still the case, “We’re just going to go two weeks at a time. And as soon as you don’t think it’s worth it, we’ll part ways as friends,” which is what I was going to do anyway, but now you’ve given me so much permission.
John Barron: Yeah. That is still the way I work.
Matthew Jarvis: It’s absolutely brilliant. I’ll have the advisors tell me, “Matthew, I don’t want to make people aware that they can do that.” Newsflash: they are aware. Now, it’s something that’s to my benefit.
John Barron: It makes a difference to take an approach with your clients that you are going to give them the information that serves them as opposed to protecting your interests. I think the moment you start to get into protecting your interests, it is a hard road to go.
Matthew Jarvis: It is and you slip into that commodity space.Then we’re trying to overwhelm them with information. “Hey, listen, we’re just going to work together one quarter at a time. And as soon as you don’t think it’s worth it, I’ll help you transfer your account somewhere else and we’ll refund a fee.” By the way, I’m thinking to myself, I’m required a lot by law to do both those things. But now instead of being a legal obligation, it’s like a moral high ground for me.
John Barron: Yeah. I really get the way that you’ve elevated the relationship with your clients inside of that.
Matthew Jarvis: I love that. Now, John, you mentioned about kind of in our previous one, it’s about just like, “Do I trust them? Do I not trust them?” Now, we’re talking about an educated and informed decision. One of my favorite things about this process that you really helped me create was telling people, “Hey, not only can you use this to evaluate me, but you can use this to evaluate any other firm that you’re considering.” Talk to us a little about this idea, John, and why this is such a powerful tool.
John Barron: Well, if you’re going to offer somebody something other than a traditional sales process, you’ve got to have it be worth their time to participate in. There’s got to be some value in the process itself. So a well-designed sales process should do two things. One is to steal a phrase from the past generations, “a kinder, gentler process,” to be pressure-free, I don’t really give them the time to assess what they need to assess. At the same time, as you take the pressure out of it, it ought to not only up to the process be valuable, but what they get then going through the process ought to make them a better consumer. There needs to be something of value that they get educated on in the process, like an educated and informed decision.
Now, the nice part is if the collateral benefit to you is if you design a well-made process that really trumpets what you do that’s unique and special in the marketplace, then suddenly what they get to get informed about is, “Oh, hang on a second. I can get that? I didn’t even know I could get that. That’d be really cool. I really like that.” So it works to the benefit of the firm as well. It works to your benefit to offer services that way. But you do have to create a process where you can sell the process based upon its value. If you can’t sell your process to people, they just won’t engage.
Matthew Jarvis: I was thinking of I’ve had several cases where I’ve gone through the sales process and we’ve mutually agreed that they’re not a good fit. They don’t become a client. And then later, they’ll refer people to me. They’ll say, “Hey, you should go talk to Matthew. Even though I don’t work with Matthew, you should work with him.” And John, I think it speaks to this that the process was so valuable for them. I think that’s a real takeaway for advisors listening, that your process should be so valuable that they should think whether they become a client of yours or not, “Wow. It was really worth my time to talk to John. Even though I didn’t work with him, I’m glad I talked to him.”
John Barron: Absolutely. Look, as opposed to people trying to avoid being in a sales conversation with you, you can actually design a process that’s a lead generation tool, that people want to come be part of because their friend told them, “Boy, this was really valuable for me. This was a great process. I really got something out of it.”
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. Yeah. I absolutely love that. Boy, there’s so many areas we could go with. This is so critical to advisors. I’m just nerding out over here. I’ve got pages of notes here. Let’s talk a little bit more, John, if you wouldn’t mind about taking away the buying pressure. So we’re all worried as consumers that we’re going to get… And timeshares would probably be the most egregious example, right? We’re going to get locked in a room. We can’t find the exit, bright lights until we agree to sign over our life savings to buy two weeks in Hawaii. I always mentioned to advisors, and tell me, John, if your experience is different. I think everyone who walks into every sales situation with that apprehension, “What am I going to be sold here?” And it results in like, “I don’t know if I want to answer your question because I worry that you might be baiting me into a path. You asked me how many kids I have,” and your next thing is, “Well, don’t you want your three kids to grow up smart?” whatever it is.
John Barron: Exactly. We’ve been, as a culture in America, pitched so many times that it’s something that people will go out of the way to avoid. It’s the single biggest barrier to people wanting to engage with you. Part of what allows people to engage with you is understanding that people are in different states as they relate to your firm, as they progress down the path of going from being simply in your target market to potentially being a client. The stages that they go through are very different.
Let’s say you go to Best Buy to buy a TV. You’re in the market for a new TV. You walk through the door. You’re at Best Buy for a reason. You’re what we would call a lead or a prospect because you’re aware of Best Buy carries TVs and you’re interested in finding out if they got one you might want to buy. You’re not committed to coming away with the TV. You’re just exploring something. You walk through the door, a guy in a, I hate to pick on Best Buy, Best Buy’s going to call me after this, you get the polo shirt, blue polo shirt with yellow writing. They walk up to you and they say, “Can I help you with something?” Nine times out of 10 you say, “No, thanks. I’m just looking.”
Matthew Jarvis: I’m just looking, yeah.
John Barron: Why? Because you are. And that’s the whole point is that people don’t want to engage with you until they’re ready. You’ll watch this, people will be at cocktail parties and they’ll actually be interested in what somebody is saying, but you have to feign this interest because you know if you look like maybe you’re interested, they’re going right for the jugular.
Matthew Jarvis: That’s right. It’s a classic chamber of commerce. You made eye contact, do you want to do a new home?
John Barron: At the point where people were just aware and interested, you’ve got to treat them like they’re aware and interested and make it valuable for them to engage. The best flags out, but you walk to the back, you look around, you find a couple of TVs that you think might be yours, by the way, at which point you can’t find a sales assistant to help you to save your life. But when you do, you have no problem engaging with them because now you’re ready. So people don’t have any issue buying when they’re ready to buy. You’ve got to know where are they.
Are they just aware and interested? Or, okay, good. Well, how do I get them to engage? Well, the secret to getting them to engage is having the process of engaging be interesting, valuable, pleasant for them. They’re going to know they’re not going to get put on a hotspot. They got to know they’re not going to get backed into a corner. They’re not going to be asked to make a decision before they’re ready. If they’re afraid of all those things, you got to take this thing out of the process because people will avoid engaging with you because they don’t want to get pitched and pressured.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. That’s spot on. I love that about taking the sting out of the process. So if they’re going in thinking, “Boy, John’s going to give me the hard sell at the end of this, maybe I don’t want to go to his office,” or, “Maybe I don’t want to commit to giving him my credit card information.” And this reminds me of, John, something that you had me do, which I still do this day is I do a quick screening call with people. They contact the office, they say, “Boy, I’m really kind of curious.” “Great. First step, Matthew wants to have a 15 minute call with you to make sure that we can add value to their situation.” And who’s going to object to that?
Well, 15 minutes, I can hang up the phone. I don’t want to talk to him. And then I walk through, “Hey, here’s how the whole prospect process works. Here’s when you’re going to have to buy it.” That’s even one of yours, John. Your lines is, “Hey, the hard sell at the end of this is going to be I’m going to ask you if you want to do a second meeting. That’s it. That’s the hard sell. Is that okay with you?” “Well, that doesn’t sound like a hard sell.” “You’re right. Perfect.” That’s not magic. It’s just how people want to buy. It’s how they think. Let’s just use that.
John Barron: Yeah. When people are in the market for a financial advisor, they’re in the market for a financial advisor. Let’s make it easy for them to find something. They’re ready to buy. They’re interested in looking. They’re interested in engaging. Let’s make the process so enjoyable for them that they actually really like the process itself. They don’t have to avoid being put in a corner.
Matthew Jarvis: Well, that’s a really good point. Back to what you said earlier, to make that process valuable and enjoyable… So probably the opposite of that would be like, “Hey John, would you fill out this 30 page questionnaire before you come in?” That’s not valuable or enjoyable. So how would we balance needing to get information or needing to walk them through a process without it just becoming this tedious beating them over the head with information?
John Barron: Yeah. Well, that’s a great question and it has a lot to do with what’s in the content of your process. So one of the things that I recommend when people build a process is that each step, you design in a way that somebody can engage with it and be complete with it in five minutes or less.
Matthew Jarvis: Okay. So give us an example of a step. Would that be like the first meeting in the office?
John Barron: Let’s say you send them an article that’s designed to inform them about ways in which they could make a better decision in buying financial services. You send them an article, right? Rather than having them read a a hour long article, tell him what’s in it. Tell them what it is that you want them to get out of it. Tell them why you’re sending it to them. I’m sending you this article because this is part of what ends up being the decision making process for most people. I thought you would appreciate having these in front of you as you go through this. You can turn to the end where it gives you a summary of the five steps included in the article. Well, here they are. So you go out of your way to make each step easy for them to deal with.
Matthew Jarvis: So many things we could dissected. You’ve made that step digestible five minutes or less, but you’ve also demonstrated that you sort of have this… Your mode of operation is making their life easier versus, “Here’s seven links to 14 different articles that’ll take you three hours to read. Good luck” “John’s already saving me time. Maybe I do like to read in depth and I’m going to read the whole article, or maybe I just want to see the five points that John listed, but either way, John has saved me time already. I’m not even paying him yet and he saved me time.”
John Barron: There really is the collateral benefit of a process like this, Matthew, is it lets you not just say what is great about working with you, you get to demonstrate it so the people have the experience of it. They don’t have to believe you. “Just look at it. You should see what it was like dealing with Matthew. Everything about that whole process was completely consistent with the way they say they operate. So I trust my own experience. Matthew said whatever he said, but what I trust is my own experience.”
Matthew Jarvis: Well, something else that comes up for me in this process is the odds that a prospect’s expectations are the same as your reality are zero. We have way better odds of winning 10 lotteries in a row. It’s even the little things like, “How long has our meeting going to take?” Well, in my mind, it’s clear that it’s going to take an hour. Maybe they thought it was going to be 15 minutes. Maybe they thought it was going to be three hours. So I think so often, advisors they just let this the role of the dicer or play the lottery of expectations being reality, whereas in a good sales process, you’re setting expectations every step along the way, again, with your article. “This article will take you five minutes to read, or it’ll take you 45 minutes to read,” but I’m managing expectations in every step.
John Barron: Exactly. People have expectations not only about the way that you’re going to work, but they also have expectations about what criteria should I use for determining whether this person’s the right fit for me? So you walk into a prospect and you’re now trying to demonstrate why you’re the right person for them. What you’re talking into is not a vacuum. We act like it is. We act like when I say green, they see lime green like I meant, not forest green. People have a number of preconceived notions about what it is that financial advisors do and what you get from their services. The most common one you know, which you always talk to people, they just want you to beat the market. Are you going to beat the market? Are you going to beat the market? Because it’s not their job to be informed on what it is that you actually do that they should be looking at from a criteria standpoint.
We make buying decisions all the time in worlds where we’re not the experts. People kind of have preconceived notions about what it is that you want to do and how they should assess the value of what you’re offering them. The beauty of this process is it lets you include in their criteria what it is that makes you valuable that most likely was not on their list of criteria when you walked in the door, but you have the opportunity to demonstrate the value of what it is that you bring to the table in a way that leaves them, even if they don’t choose you. They walk out the door with a new chess board, with a new way of assessing things, with a new way of looking at things. What it is that you provided for them maybe something they’re unwilling to hire somebody who doesn’t do that and you’ve now shifted the whole game. So not only are you providing them valuable information, you’re actually altering the way they make their decision.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah, and alternate in a way that that highlights what you do and what you’re good at.
John Barron: Stacks the deck in your favor.
Matthew Jarvis: Yes. Yeah. A kind of an extreme example trying because it took me a long time, you and I worked at it for a long time before I got through my thick skull on how this works, but an example of this if someone came into as the standard advisor listening to this and said, “Mr. Mrs. Advisor, I want to refinance my house.” You would have no problem telling them, “We don’t refinance as houses. That’s not what we do.” “I want to beat the market.” “Well, that’s not what we do. We don’t beat the market.” But again, they’ve got this void here. So as they’re coming in and you’re saying, “Hey, this is what we do and this is why it’s valuable to you. And by the way, you should ask every other firm if they’re also doing that.” Such a superior approach than saying, “Well, we’re a fee only fiduciary.” And they’re like, “I don’t know what that means. Is that a good thing? Is that a bad thing? Four other firms said there also that. Well, how much do you charge?” Well, we just haven’t left him with anything.
John Barron: Right. You’re touching on something. You mentioned the word commodity before. And one of the things that I think folks, when they’re selling their services in the marketplace, they’re not always aware of this, what am I call it is distinction, which is that in the absence of the ability to tell one provider from another, which if you look at people’s advertising, that all sounds the same. All financial advisors do the same thing. If they can’t tell one provider from another, then you’re all commodities. In the case of a commodity, there are two factors determining their buying decision: price, and convenience. So if people bought you as a commodity, they’re going to be pecking at you about your fees. “How come you don’t get back to me quickly?” They’re going to hammer on you about those things, which are not at the core of what you’re trying to provide for them because they don’t understand what it is.
So one of the things that’s really critical. In fact, the sales process isn’t built around, is really going to be hampered. You got to get really clear about what is it that you’re doing that nobody else is doing? What is it about the way that you offer your services? What is it that you do for your client that you can say, “This is different. If you come with us, you’re going to get this. You can’t get that everywhere, but you can get it here.”
Matthew Jarvis: Totally. You know what an examples of that, that come to mind readily for me would be the one page financial plan. It would be tax advice. So let’s use an extreme example that would be Vanguard. So they’re saying, “You can talk to a CFP anytime you want for 30 bips a year.” So you’ve got price, you’ve got convenience and I can’t compete against that. There’s just no way I can compete on that level. But all I have to say is, “Ask Vanguard how much money you should put in the Roth IRA account this year based on your tax return. Just ask them that,” because I know that if they ask about, they’re going to say, “Well, we can’t give tax advice and we haven’t even looked at your tax return.” “Oh, well, Mr. Prospect, do you think it’s important that taxes be a consideration in your financial planning?” “Yeah. Matthew, I really do.” “Okay. Well, then you’ll want to work with an advisor who looks at those things.” “Well, Matthew, do you look at those things?” “You know what? I do? Funny you should ask.”
John Barron: Amazingly enough.
Matthew Jarvis: Now and I joke about this, like I’m not going to bring up things that I don’t do. “I use mortgages.” “I don’t deal with mortgages.” “Debt consolidation.” So I would never say, “Hey, you really want to work with an advisor who can do debt consolidation.” That doesn’t highlight my benefits.
John Barron: Yeah. It’s not what you do that’s unique, and if that’s what somebody is looking for. So if you took that client on because she wanted to be everything to everybody, it would take two seconds for them to start having that relationship to have friction in it because they’re looking for something you’re not going to give up. So I never mind when a client comes to me and they go, “That’s not really…” I had a guy say to me once, “I’d rather read a book,” I said, “You should. You should not pay me. You can afford a lot of books for what you’re paying me. Go read as many books you want too.”
Matthew Jarvis: Well, and of course, coming through your sales process, John, does that leave you with any feeling of rejection? Like, “That guy wanted a book over me, maybe I should just hang it up and…”-
John Barron: No, it really doesn’t because I don’t expect what I’m providing to be appealing to everybody. I didn’t design it for that. I designed it to be appealing to the people it’s appealing to. But the nice part about it is when they become a client of mine, they bought what I’m offering. So at every opportunity that I deliver on that, I get to say, “You know that thing I said I was going to do for you? Here it is.” And it validates their buying decision. They feel good about it. Actually, it takes away second guessing. It’s kind of like, “Yeah, that’s exactly what I picked this guy for.”
Matthew Jarvis: Well, that’s such a benefit. We talked about it at the beginning of the episode. Yes, the prospect sales process has helped me close dramatically more clients, like dramatically more, but it leaves me at the end of it with such relief because there’s only two outcomes. Either we agree that we’re a good fit and we work together or we agree that we’re not a good fit, and I think we just weren’t a good fit. Zero rejection. Whereas before, it was always such like a… Back to what you just said, do they trust me? Do they like me? Am I good guy? Am I good human being? They said, “No.” I must not be a good human being. I’m never left with that experience anymore and that’s a soul crushing experience. We’ve all been there and it’s soul crushing and I’m just never left… Now, I am sometimes left with, “I need to find a better way to articulate my value,” or, “I need to increase my value,” or, “I need to find a better way to screen people coming into this process.” I am never left with rejection in that process and it’s so liberating.
John Barron: Well, it is the thing that makes sales so difficult for people is that… How many times can you get hammered? How many times can you get beat up and have any enthusiasm for going back to the waterhole? It makes it hard for people. One of the designs of this process is to take that out of it for the financial advisor.
Matthew Jarvis: Totally. John, I hundred percent agree. Well, we could spend hours on this topic. We have spent hours on this topic together. We ought to, in fact, I don’t put you on the spot here, John, but we got to do a webinar together for this for the backstage pass members. So I’m kind of walking through this. So everyone stayed tuned. John, you and I will figure out some more stuff we can do because this is so valuable and it was such a life changer. Let’s talk about action. This podcast is all about taking action. What are some action steps that advisors listening can take right away on this?
John Barron: Well, I think the first thing that would be really, really valuable for financial advisors is if you’re not clear what your USP, what your unique selling proposition or your unique value proposition is, what is it that you do that they can’t get everywhere? If you’re not clear about that, get clear about it. One of the things about financial advisory services, it may not be that you have different products than everybody else. It may just be something in how you operate. You may notice that you’re not even… It may just be something where you draw a line in the sand and say, “Okay, from now on, we’re going to operate this way and we’re going to advertise to the public that this is the way we operate.” Then whatever that value proposition is, tends to line up your business to be consistent with delivering it.
But that’s the first to get clear about it. It’s very difficult for consumers to buy you on anything other than price or convenience if they can’t tell you from everybody else. That’s the first thing. Then the second thing is, see if you can figure out how you would educate people about the value of that difference. What would people need to know? What would they need to discover during the sales processes, prospect process that would leave them at the end event going, “Okay. I can see why that’s really a big deal”? Because if your process can take someone there, then they may or may not use you, but if they do, it’ll be for all the right reasons.
Matthew Jarvis: It’ll be all for the right reasons. I really love that. I’ll add another action item onto that, which something you said earlier, make every step of your sales process valuable to the consumer. So this isn’t about you being able to wax lyrical or to pound your chest, it’s about every step. Even things as small as an email confirmation, “Hey, tomorrow, our meeting, I look forward to seeing you tomorrow at one o’clock,” there’s not value in that, but if it says, “Oh, and hey, by the way, attached are 10 questions you should ask every advisor. We’ve included our answers for your convenience. It’ll take you about seven minutes to review through that. Let me know if you have questions.” That’s valuable. The email confirmation, nominal value.
John Barron: Right. You got to figure you and I have a limited amount of capital with a potential new customer. In terms of their time, their energy, their money. Anything you do that squatters that really works to your disadvantage. So every opportunity you have to get in front of someone, you should be providing value.
Matthew Jarvis: I like that. So really, you can look at every step and say, “This step is either adding value or it’s subtracting value. Which one is it?” It’s not a neutral.
John Barron: No, there are no neutrals. You take up somebody’s time. You asked them for their time and you take it and they walk away from it like, “That was not a valuable experience for me,” you’ve burned capital.
Matthew Jarvis: That’s awesome, John. Well, last action I’m going to throw out to the nation, head over to The Perfect RA’s LinkedIn page and go ahead and post what your unique selling proposition or unique value proposition is as you would articulate it to a prospect and we’ll throw some comments on there, if and how it can be improved. And you’ll also get to see if yours looks like everybody else’s. That means it’s not unique. That’s the first part of that unique. So go to The Perfect RA’s LinkedIn page, go ahead and do a post with your unique value proposition, how you deliver massive value to prospects and clients and we will look forward to seeing some discussion there. John, it was a great pleasure to chat with you again as always. I have a lot of fun working with you every time.
John Barron: Thank you so much, Matthew. It’s great seeing you, great talking to you and thanks for the opportunity to contribute to the success of financial advisors.
Matthew Jarvis: I appreciate that. Well, thanks everybody. And until next time, happy planning.
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