The One Word that Closes Prospects
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One day, my website had a technical glitch that knocked out my contact form. Fed up with my IT guy, I blurted out:
Oh to *#@% with this! Just remove the entire foolish thing and replace it with these words: “Only cool people please. Email me directly at [email protected].”
But I’m rarely confused with someone who is even-tempered. Anyways, next thing I know, I’m getting emails from people like:
- Hey Sara, I think I’m cool enough to email you…not sure…
- Was this email “cool” to you?
- Here’s an idea for you. Let me know if you think it’s cool or not.
I didn’t intend for this to happen. The use of the word “only” became an automatic qualifier.
“A ha!” I said, “now let me see if this gem of a discovery can bring order to total chaos!”
As my readers know, I have one potato, two potato, three potato four – all under seven years old. What’s that rhyme about the woman in a shoe? I started replacing utterances such as:
- Who’s banging their laptop with Ziggy’s toy truck? I’m not buying you another one.
- You can’t have cake until you eat your broccoli.
- If all four of you jump on Daddy’s back on the same time like that, we are going to end up in the emergency room.
- We only touch our laptops with soft hands, that way our computers are nice and safe.
- Remember that we only have dessert after we’ve eaten all our healthy food! Imagine how big and strong you’ll grow!
- You can all have a turn, but only one of you can jump on Daddy’s back at a time.
Like magic, they started complying with my requests.
Only and the positive opposite
When you want to persuade someone to do something, you have to show them the positive opposite of what they are doing. Instead of arguing or throwing confusing claptrap at them, help the person visualize a more positive scenario that is the result of behaving differently from how they are currently.
In addition to showing someone the positive opposite, the word “only”:
- Makes you look like you’re not hawking washing machines;
- Qualifies the prospect without having them feel judged;
- Displays thoughtfulness;
- Implies exclusivity;
- Creates urgency;
- Shows that you are focused on the prospect – you are observant of them and have selected them because they fit the “only;” and
- Inspires action by demonstrating cause and effect.
Only in action
Here are some examples of how the word “only” can move someone to the positive opposite. See the difference it makes?
Try this on your website
We work with individuals, families, and business owners in our area and help them achieve their goals such as buying a house, putting their kids through college, and retiring comfortably.
We only work with families with considerable wealth who stand to greatly benefit from having a separately managed account in our deep-value style. As a result, the minimum portfolio size of a typical client is typically $2MM or higher.
P.S. I know you’re all scared to lose prospects by citing a minimum on your website. Don’t be.
Try this when you are trying to get a meeting using LinkedIn messenger
I’m a financial advisor with 20 years of experience working with auto executives so we should meet for coffee. I am a fiduciary and my highly responsive team of fiduciaries regularly volunteer together at United Way and we’re all really nice people.
I only ask this because in the last week I have spoken with four Mazda executives who have a six-figure capital gain in company stock: Have you checked your portfolio for concentrations greater than 10% anytime in the last two years?
This example beautifully combines my two-sentence rule with “only.” For more ideas on how to approach prospects on LinkedIn see my book on LinkedIn messages that won’t make you sound stupid.
Try this as a rebuttal
A prospect says, “I’m not sure when I can meet about doing that financial plan. Maybe next month.”
But you needed to do this yesterday. Don’t you think you need a comprehensive overview of your financial goals and the steps you need to achieve them? You need to do this so you won’t go broke in retirement and have to live with your kids.
I only suggest creating a financial plan when I see someone at the risk of committing an oversight that may not be possible to fix. What’s your strategy going to be for making sure this doesn’t happen?
Try this with a breadcrumbing prospect:
Prospect says, “I have $2MM, but I’d like to start by giving you $150k.”
We usually like to manage the entire portfolio for our clients, but if you’d like to start with a small position and build into it, we can begin there. (You’ll never see the whole amount, btw)
Unlike many other advisors, we don’t think it’s fair to work with someone unless we can truly and clearly bring value. For this reason, we only work with your entire portfolio because it is the only way we can manage your wealth properly.
“Unlike,” “unless” and the double “only”. Try it the next time you meet with a breadcrumber!
Try this with a client who has ridiculous expectations
Client says, “Why didn’t I get 25% return this year? I could have invested in the stocks Cramer mentioned on his show and done better than you did for me.”
But your risk tolerance questionnaire said something different. Conservative portfolios don’t get high returns like that. It’s not my fault! This is good performance given your risk tolerance, really it is!
I would only be comfortable with you getting double digit returns if you had a risk tolerance that equated to a standard deviation of 10% or higher.
Try this when asking for a referral
I only say this when I feel that I’m speaking with someone where we’re on the same page. Do you know of anyone who thinks as you do when it comes to the future, and who could possibly appreciate knowing who I am?
The two-sentence rule is my most valuable contribution to this profession, and it has helped many people communicate more powerfully. Every message in my e-book 47 Financial Advisor LinkedIn Message that will NOT make you look stupid is two sentences or less.
For social media coaching, join my membership.
Sara Grillo, CFA, is a marketing consultant who helps investment management, financial planning, and RIA firms fight the tendency to scatter meaningless clichés on their prospects and bore them as a result. Prior to launching her own firm, she was a financial advisor.