2 Must-Have Books for Financial Advisor Prospecting

financial advisor prospecting books

Prospecting doesn’t have to be difficult!

Many financial advisors and wealth managers have good financial planning and money management skills. They enter the financial profession because they enjoy the industry. Yet, most financial advisors don’t know how to market or how to prospect, or brand to grow their firms so that they can enjoy the financial fruits of their labor.

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Learn more about my Sales and Prospecting Coaching Program here.


2 Must-Have Books for Financial Advisor Prospecting

When I work with clients on their sales and marketing skills, I ask them to purchase two books:

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
The Sales Advantage: How to Get It, Keep It, and Sell More Than Ever
by Dale Carnegie and Associates

Long term business success often depends upon being a good “business person” not just being good at what you do AND recognizing where your skills need improvement. You can hire a “sales person” or you can learn to toot your own horn and be more influential and therefore more successful.


  1. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

InfluenceCialdini writes about the six principles of ethical persuasion: reciprocity, scarcity, liking, authority, social proof, and commitment/consistency. Understanding these principles is important for setting the stage and ultimately getting a commitment from your ideal prospective clients.

I recommend this book not because I want my clients to be deceptive or to strong-arm their prospects. I want my clients to understand what it means to be a person of influence. I believe that until you increase your skills and your awareness around what it means to be a person of influence or a thought leader, you will have a tough time growing your practice through prospecting.

The lessons to be learned from this book include:

Reciprocity: I want my clients to offer free financial planning resources, reports, articles, etc. to encourage reciprocity. When you go into any situation asking “How can I help you?” you will encourage reciprocity. When I do you a favor you may feel that you “owe” me something in return. You may feel more inclined to say “yes” to those you “owe.”

Cialdini’s real world example as described on Success Magazine’s CD:

Research shows that a server at a restaurant will increase tips 3.3% if he/she puts a mint on the tray for each diner. If the server puts two mints on the tray they stand a chance of increasing their tips 14%. In the moment after people have received they are ready to give. This is especially true if they have received an unexpected favor.

Scarcity: A limited supply confers value. If you can demonstrate that you work with a select group of clients helping them with a limited list of services, you create the feeling of scarcity. This is where working with up to three niche markets in your practice is important. When you specialize you become an expert. If you work with everyone who shows up at your door, you are perceived as a generalist.

Liking: We prefer to say yes to those we know and like. How do we convince others that we are likeable when we are prospecting? Share information about ourselves that shows we are similar. If we share common goals or similar purposes then we can establish a kinship. We can also be good listeners rather than hog the conversation. People feel “heard” when they can share their story without being interrupted.

Authority: You have to be recognized as the person who is knowledgeable and an expert in your field. You also have to be seen as trustworthy. How? The book states that by admitting weakness first you establish the air of authority. There have to be two elements in the mind of the prospect: Trustworthiness and expertise. Mention a weakness or drawback to your argument before you mention the strongest elements. Mention a negative and then a positive. This instills trust which then builds authority.

Social proof: Given compliance challenges, this principle is more difficult to perfect. Rather than using testimonials, advisors can use case studies that show hypothetical situations with specific niche examples. Writing good quality blog posts and distributing them via social media can also give the appearance of authority and expertise which leads to social proof.

Commitment and Consistency: Prospects want to see advisors as consistent in the way they present their services. Make sure your message and brand is consistent across all your marketing channels. Otherwise it creates a question in their minds about your skills and your offerings. People want consistency – it is viewed as an admirable trait.

Cialdini also suggests that if we ask prospects to take a small step in our direction that is consistent with a larger request we will ask later, we will gain commitment.

We can learn how to be more influential in prospecting, with practice. People will automatically move in our direction if they feel connected to us via the principles contained in this book.


  1. The Sales Advantage: How to Get It, Keep It, and Sell More Than Ever by Dale Carnegie and Associates

The Sales AdvantageThis book goes into how to effectively construct your value proposition and how to listen for key signals that your prospect has doubts that you need to overcome and how to spot when a prospect is ready to hire you.

This book will help you create a “conversation” and a “close the business” flow so that you can increase your close ratio and improve your sales results.


I have taken the information in this book and applied it to the financial planning profession as laid out below.

First, it’s useful to investigate why prospects consider hiring an advisor. What is the prospect’s primary interest – you must find out what they want. Learn to use effective questioning and solution development to uncover what prospects want. Learn to speak so that you address what your products or services can DO FOR THEM.

When you are prospecting, it’s your job to uncover your prospective clients’ Dominant Buying Motives through questioning, and then to craft a script or conversation that leads them logically to the conclusion of hiring you.

The following are common motives that prospects will have for hiring you:

  • to gain peace of mind
  • to avoid mistakes
  • to create their financial goals
  • to obtain expert advice on investments
  • they want a comfortable retirement
  • they want to retire early and don’t know how to go about it
  • they want to achieve a goal in retirement such as starting a business
  • they want to retire, buy a lakeside cabin and do it so it fits into their finances

How to ask questions

Building rapport and establishing trust is all about asking the right questions, getting answers and then asking more questions. Use the 80/20 rule: You should talk 20% of the time and the prospect should talk 80% of the time.

Set up your in-person meeting and then plan out your questioning workflow. Decide what questions would be useful for you to ask to lead prospects to the logical conclusion that they should hire you. Although I’ve listed some examples here, create your own questions so that they work for you.

The Conversation Model: The book goes into the “Questioning Process Flow” with the distinct areas as below. You should have at least one question or statement per section listed below.

As Is:

  • What is your current financial situation? (tell the prospect that everything will be kept in the strictest confidence)
  • Tell me how you are saving and investing for your future?
  • What do you wish could change about your current situation?

Should Be:

  • Where do you want to be financially in ten years?
  • If your income increases and your savings and investments were to grow, what would your ideal life look like in ten years?
  • If you were promoted and your earnings were to increase, how would that change your life?
  • If you realized your financial dreams and didn’t have to work, what would you do with your time?


  • What needs to happen to get where you want to go?
  • What’s keeping you from attaining your financial goals?
  • Who do you need on your team to achieve financial success?


  • What would it mean to you if you were able to achieve your financial goals?
  • How would your life be different if you had an expert guiding you with your investment decisions?
  • Let’s fast forward ten years. You have achieved your goals. What are you doing?

Paint a picture:

  • It is ten years in the future. Imagine the peace of mind you’ll have because your financial plan is working for you. Your child is in a great college and doing well. You’ve left your current job and started a part time business.
  • Fast forward ten years. Imagine that you’ve been promoted, saved aggressively, and now you’re able to retire early.
  • It is ten years in the future. Imagine that your business has been prosperous; you’ve purchased that lake-side cabin. You’re spending weekends on the deck watching the grand kids play down by the water.


Set up several reasons “why” they should hire you

  • Having a financial advisor can help you avoid mistakes many investors make
  • I can help you create a financial plan for the future
  • I can help you create an investment plan so that your savings grow
  • I can help you save for your child’s education
  • I can help you save for that lakeside cabin
  • I can help you find peace of mind


Ask for the business:

Many advisors skip this step. If you don’t ask for the business you won’t easily get it. Create your own collection of closing statements that you can use depending upon the situation. Become accustomed to asking for the business.

  • When would be a good time to schedule our next meeting?
  • I would love to work with you as your advisor. What do you need to get started?
  • Does this seem like the right solution for your needs? Are you ready to move forward?
  • Would you like to hire me as your financial planner? (this is my favorite)

Your Action Plan:

  • Create your own custom script that you will use while prospecting.
  • Write out the questions for each section of the model from “As Is”, “Should Be”, “Barriers”, and “Payout” and then your “close the business” question. Start simply with one question per section.
  • Work on using this model as soon as possible.
  • Practice in front of a mirror.
  • Practice with a friend.
  • Become accustomed to asking questions and leading prospects down the path to hiring you.
  • You’ll increase your close ratio dramatically and you’ll see improvement in your prospecting results.


Barriers to Action

No one wants to sound like a salesperson or wants to come off as pushy. That’s why it’s important to have a script or conversation that works for you so that you are comfortable speaking the words. Start with what you’re comfortable saying and as time goes by, add more assertive phrases. The important action is to start somewhere.



Don’t wait. Buy both of these books today! (See my other Suggested Reading).

Reading both books can help you improve your skills and allow you to work with more ideal clients. To do this you must be YOU. You must be genuine, helpful, influential, a good listener, and be willing to use a conversation model that gets to the heart of your prospects’ needs.

About Suzanne Muusers

2 Responses to “2 Must-Have Books for Financial Advisor Prospecting”

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  1. Hi Margarita,
    You make a VERY GOOD point. Yes, your words have to be you and genuine. When it feels natural to say it, it comes out easily and is believable. Thank you for contributing to the conversation.
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  2. Stan,

    Thanks for your comment! That’s it isn’t it? Shifting your thinking! I love it.
    You must have a good coach 🙂
    Thanks for stopping by Stan,

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