Mistake 5: Financial Advisors Fail to Sell the Dream

Sell the dream of financial planning and a bright futureMarketing and prospecting are the twins of financial advisor success. Unfortunately many advisors don’t actively market and promote their businesses. They rely on the tortoise approach to growth: 2-3% annually by sheer luck.

This is the 5th installment in my series about financial advisor marketing mistakes in which I detail many common errors advisors make in their marketing.

For this 5th mistake, when speaking with prospective clients about what you do, I wonder if you sell the dream beyond what you do for a living.

Do you sell the dream of having a bright financial future?

Clients come to you for help. Many don’t understand the fundamentals of investing, cash flow management, and organizing their finances. But those areas of finance are not what you’re selling.

Emotions drive us

As adults, we are all a result of the experiences and emotions we have endured in our lives. Whatever our experiences with wealth, positive or negative, we all want more money because it represents pleasurable experiences.

When you are “selling the dream,” you are connecting the emotions behind money with the end result of having achieved financial goals.

For example, you might say that you want to grow your practice to be more successful, but what really drives you is to earn enough to give your family a good life. To live in a beautiful home, drive a nice car, go on exciting vacations, and have your children attend good schools – this is what drives you.

Your Subconscious Decides for You

Before making purchases, many people claim to compare competitors and their price points; however, studies show that this isn’t the case. In reality, people’s emotions primarily drive purchasing behaviors – not statistics and facts.

The truth that people are more emotional than logical is vital for financial advisors trying to sell their services. Understanding this will guide your marketing, sales, and branding efforts.

If you want clients to avail of your services, you shouldn’t only market the attributes of your services. Only providing statistics and raw data will bring you lackluster results; you need to also appeal to the emotional subconscious side of people.

When selling your services, you should still highlight the features and aspects of your financial advisory services. But you should also sell the lifestyle or the “dream.” The key to doing this is to highlight the emotional response a potential client will achieve by using your services.

Connect emotions

Many advisors are left-brained and analytical which is wonderful when it comes to investment philosophy and managing wealth. However, when communicating with prospective clients, it’s important to remember to sell the dream and use your right-brain skills in the process.

Before you start marketing your services as a financial advisor to potential clients, you must understand the emotional factors and drivers in your clients’ behaviors throughout their purchase journey.

Below are a few emotional shopping states that affect clients’ shopping behaviors.

Needs Validation

When making purchases, a need to validate their choices drives some clients. These clients are typically afraid of making a wrong decision and tend to collect other people’s opinions before committing to spending money.

These shoppers want to get all the facts before pulling the trigger.

Decision Anxiety

Although similar to clients who need validation for their choices, clients who face decision anxiety tend to fear deciding between too many options. When clients are in this emotional state, they know that they need to decide, but they aren’t able to process all their options effectively.

These shoppers need help removing unnecessary choices to narrow down their options. So, if you offer several packages, you may opt to only offer to these clients the package you think is most relevant to them.

I’m Special

When shopping, clients under the “I’m special” state of mind crave personalized services that make them feel unique. To appeal to this group of clients, you will want to appeal to their sense of individuality. So, you might consider emphasizing that you offer personalized and custom-tailored financial advisory services.


Clients in this emotional state feel the urge to do as much research as possible. If you’re offering retirement planning services, these clients may do extensive research about retirement planning on their own before they even reach out to you. You can capitalize on this by sharing some of your expertise with them for free. Doing so will allow them to realize that you are an expert on whatever topic they read – and more.

Buy and Be Done

These people get frustrated when making purchasing decisions and – like those facing decision anxiety – are victims of choice overload.

When potential clients are in this emotional state, they want to spend as little time as possible and make as few decisions as possible. As with those facing decision anxiety, your best bet would be to offer them one package or pricing model that you think will benefit them most and focus on selling that to them.

Avoid Buyer’s Remorse

Potential clients who experience this emotional state want to be sure they won’t regret spending their money. They’re the type of people who stick to the same brands they’ve always been buying when they visit the grocery store. This makes them feel safe with their purchasing decision.

If possible, you may wish to provide one free session or a free consultation for them. This will allow them to try your services as a financial advisor without any risks. Once they feel confident that you can help with their financial situation, they’ll be more likely to commit to spending money.

Use Emotions When Selling

Emotions are decision drivers and dictate what we do. As much as we want to get a hold of our emotions, emotions often get the upper hand.

Now that you know the common emotional states prospective clients are in when they’re looking for a financial advisor to work with, you can start integrating emotional language into your marketing.

Highlight Benefits

Your main goal when marketing your services should be to help prospects see the benefits they’ll gain from working with you as a financial advisor. Benefits differ from features because they have an emotional hook. From the first moment of contact, you should already start highlighting benefits.

Before getting into the benefits of your services and how they’ll help your clients, you should first sell the benefits of choosing you specifically. By doing so, you’ll give prospects a reason to listen to what you have to say. Once you’ve built your authority by doing this, you can start talking about the benefits your services can bring to your clients’ lives.

Determine Your Approach

There are two schools of thought when handling emotional selling: the positive approach and the negative approach.

With the negative approach, you’d be presenting your financial advisory services as a cure for your potential clients’ biggest pains. On the other hand, a positive approach presents your services as something that will cause good things to happen in your clients’ lives down the line. There is no right or wrong way for all clients. Most clients will respond to one approach better than the other, so you must figure out which approach to use as early as possible.

An ideal time to figure out what approach to use is during your free consultation with your client (if you provide one). You’ll be asking qualifying questions to help you understand your client more. Some positive qualifying questions are:

  • What do you want to gain from this consultation?
  • Where do you see yourself one year in the future?
  • How long have you been thinking about working with a financial advisor?

The above questions touch on your prospective client’s positive emotions related to financial advisory services and give hints about their expectations and what will convince them to work with you.
Negative questions tend to elicit a fear response, so some clients will hesitate to answer them. Some probing questions include:

  • What’s your biggest concern at the moment?
  • How long have you been dealing with this problem?
  • How important is it to you to solve it?

At this point, you understand your potential client’s emotional state, and you’ve learned a bit more about your client. Now, you can make your emotional connections more specific and individualized for the client.

As an example of making an emotional connection, you may learn that your prospect is considering taking retirement planning seriously because his wife is worried about having to work well past the typical retirement age. So, you might ask, “how do you think your wife will feel about you taking clear steps to secure your financial future?”

By bringing your prospect’s wife into the conversation, you make your services feel more practical and urge him to imagine what will happen after he decides to work with you; thus, he’ll be more inclined to hire you as a financial advisor.

Final thoughts

Don’t just focus on terms like financial planning and investment management when you’re in a meeting with a prospect or client. Make sure to touch on the emotions that money invokes like achieving financial independence, what it feels like to send kids to college, and what it will mean to leave a legacy.

In other words, financial planning and wealth management are just terms. When selling or marketing, relate to people with words they can understand and talk about their dreams.

What does this mean?

Don’t just focus on terms like financial planning and investment management when you’re in a meeting with a prospect or client. Make sure to touch on the emotions that money invokes like achieving financial independence, what it feels like to send kids to college, and what it will mean to leave a legacy.

In other words, financial planning and wealth management are just terms. When selling or marketing, relate to people with words they can understand and talk about their dreams.

About Suzanne Muusers

One Response to “Mistake 5: Financial Advisors Fail to Sell the Dream”

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  1. You’re so right! People buy dreams and positive emotions! More Financial Advisors should leverage this important sales principal!