So you sat down this morning and opened your email.
As you scroll through, you see a message from that digital agency who you’ve been speaking to about financial marketing. You open it, and on the second line you read: “Just wanted to touch base…”
Did you cringe when you read that? I do. Every time I see a cliched sentence in an email like that, my subconscious immediately judges the other person:
This salesperson is lazy. Everyone uses lines like this in their follow up emails.
This person is only looking to take from me, not add value. Yes, I know you want an answer from me about whether to go ahead with X project or Y transaction with you. But I have enough nagging during my day from clients, managers, colleague and family. I don’t need you to add to it. Why don’t you send me something interesting, like an article, related to what we’ve been talking about and which I will genuinely find helpful? That way, I’ll like you more and probably be motivated to get back to you with an update from my side about the deal.
And on it goes. Salespeople and financial marketers make horrendous mistakes all the time in their email marketing, and financial advisers are no exception.
They use poor timing, subject lines and turns of phrase when liaising with their clients, often damaging relationships, their brand and reputation.
Mastering email pays huge dividends for IFAs and wealth managers. It is a skill, after all.
Email is hugely useful for organising meetings, confirming next steps with a prospect, setting up conference calls, and more. It has tremendous power to build a business, but it also hold the potential to destroy one.
In this light, here are 5 email conversations you should never be having with a client:
#1 The Nagging Email
If you are nagging a prospect or potential client over email, you are probably heading for trouble.
Asking them something like: “Will there be anyone accompanying you to our initial financial meeting next week?” is fine. However, if all you get is stony silence, try not to email them again. Phone them.
Why? Because pursuing via email conditions your prospects to communicate with you primarily, or only, via email. That’s bad for building strong, trusting relationships (crucial in the IFA world), and it’s also bad for your quota. Turnaround times are usually longer when deals happen primarily online.
Here are some phrases you’ll want to avoid as a financial marketer:
- “I still haven’t heard from you.”
- “Did you get my email…?”
- Just checking in. It’s been a while…”
#2 Handling Objections
Email is wonderful, but even the most well-crafted email can get lost in translation.
What you intended to come across as soft and considerate, comes across as harsh and dismissive. After all, it’s hard to perceive the other person’s facial expressions, body language and tone of voice which puts the words they are saying into context.
This dynamic makes a financial marketer’s job very difficult when it comes to handling the objections of prospects via email. It’s possible to pull it off, but by and large I would recommend avoiding it and going to the phone.
Say a potential client responds to your email, saying: “I’m not sure you risk profiles are really appropriate for my investments.” Reply with something along the lines of: “I hear what you’re saying and want to help. I give you a call and we can talk about it.”
If you try and answer via email, you are likely to be heard the wrong way by your prospect. You’re also likely to get a reply until much later, by which point they might have lost interest and you might have lost momentum to make the deal.
Here are some phrases to avoid, in light of the above:
- “Let me be sure I understand your concern.”
- “I’ve copied my colleague into this email, who will be able to help you with this.”
- “Let me give you three reasons why I think this is the best option for you.”
#3 The Negotiating Financial Marketer
It’s hard to understand someone’s objections and concerns via email. So if a potential client gets back to you about costs, contract terms or guarantees, get on the phone.
That way, you can judge their concern by their tone of voice, pace of speaking and turns of phrase. You can also pose questions to them sensitively and diplomatically, which might be taken the wrong way over email:
“How big of a barrier would you say this is to us moving forward together?”
“Can I ask what’s changed since our last conversation?”
All the while, you’re building trust and relationship, making it more likely that you’ll get the deal. You are far less likely to sell your IFA company short as a financial marketer.
So, here are some more phrases and expressions to steer away from in email:
- “Let me see what I can do for you.”
- “I’ve already explained that my fees are X. I can’t lower these I’m afraid, due to…”
- “If I lower my fee to Y, will you buy today?”
#4 Discovery Questioning
It#s hard to probe and qualify your prospect over email, because it’s so easy to give it a few moments of your attention and even be distracted while writing it.
When you phone them, it’s much harder for your attention to wander, which means you are far more likely to ask the right questions and listen out for answers.
Moreover, your prospect is probably going to be more comfortable answering certain questions over the phone as opposed to email.
Questions about personal finances – which is your territory as an IFA – is always going to be awkward and difficult for people who are just getting to know you. So make it as easy as possible for them!
So, here are some more phrases and questions to avoid over email as a financial marketer:
- “What are your financial goals?”
- “What are your main concerns and worries about investing…”
- “Why wasn’t this dealt with before?”
#5 Rapport Over Email
Chemistry and rapport with your prospects are vital for your sales process and a financial adviser. After all, you are potentially going to be working with this person for many years. Both of you need to feel like you get along, taking value and enjoyment from your conversations.
By getting your potential client on the phone, it’s far easier to create, maintain and develop this dynamic. Through a voice conversation, you can more effectively tell stories, show your listening skills, and display humour and wit. It’s something you have to naturally be good at as an IFA, especially when you’re starting out.
Don’t go mad with “filler” conversation. However, it does help your sales process to ask things like:
- “Got anything nice going on this weekend?”
- “My sister in law just had a baby. It’s been all hands on deck at home…”
- “You mentioned the Spurs-Arsenal game the other day. Are you a big fan?”
In summary, try and keep email to administrative tasks and communication. Use the phone and face to face meetings to build rapport, answer questions and concerns, and to negotiate.
If you are interested in how we use call tracking in our digital marketing programmes, do get in touch!