What sales process should I follow with prospects?
Start thinking like a fiduciary the minute you interact with a prospect to begin the sales process. You will not be giving advice, but you are setting the terms of the relationship, your role in it, and the guidelines you will both follow. Put it in writing and be specific about the duties and responsibilities of each party. Manage your risk and liabilities.
Your prospect will want to know:
- You have a prudent process
- You act with integrity
- You do not have conflicts
- Your fees are reasonable
An Overview of a Prudent Sales Process
- Gather prospect background information such as investment history, assets, needs and relationship goals. The more background you collect, the more effective you will be at convincing clients to engage you. Utilize the prospect profile tool to help track prospect information.
- Make decisions about your fee structure and services you will provide.
Defining your own role puts you in control of your fiduciary responsibilities. Start this step before the first meeting.
First, determine whether you will have discretionary control, where, as a fiduciary, you have authority to make investment decisions on behalf of a client. Or, whether you will be a non-discretionary fiduciary advisor, providing fiduciary investment advice to the client, but the client retains the authority to follow the advice or not.
Or, non-fiduciary services, where the client controls investment decisions and you make investment trades under client direction, but are not a fiduciary. (Note that a non-fiduciary service provider cannot give investment advice—if you are consulted for advice, the account becomes fiduciary.)
Then determine the services you will provide using the services worksheet.
- Prepare for the prospect meeting using our sales presentation checklist and sample presentation slides available in the Federated “Prospecting” Bright Ideas Client Guide.
- Conduct the initial meeting and document results in the prospect profile form.