Written by Kronos Technologies on February 07, 2018
For years advisors have been taught a sensible and simple process for presenting to their clients and prospects: identify the prospect’s problem, propose a solution and then use supporting data to show why it would be the best choice.
This type of presentation is often heavy with facts and features. Which is perfect for the more analytical clients, but not the best approach for all prospects. Too much data can be overwhelming to a client, especially when they don’t have the experience to evaluate the facts. This can cause doubt and make them less likely to act.
That’s why great practitioners we work with transcend the old way of presenting, and increase their odds of success by adopting a new model.
Got a great solution? Prove it
True trusted advisors build bridges between themselves and their clients. Rather than throwing up a wall of facts, they make connections to their clients by offering proof of the claims they are making. That proof takes the form of real-life examples, related as stories.
Stories turn numbers and abstract facts into experiences. They illustrate the real power of your solution—showing the listener how your proposal can change their lives. When you share stories about how your solution has solved serious problems for other clients you make an emotional connection—motivating your client to act. Your client no longer has to accept the facts underpinning your presentation purely on faith, they get to experience the real consequences others have encountered.
The power of story lies in the details
The stories that best support your solution are about clients you worked with who had the same problems as the person sitting in front of you. Someone similar to your client. You can make your story come alive and hook your client by describing the telling details that make them feel that what you are saying is real.
That means describing the hero of your story in detail. Outline their situation when you first met them. Paint a picture of the risks they faced—usually the things most important to them; their children, relationship, home, or job. Relate how your client described their fears. For instance, how the husband was particularly insistent about the well-being of the children. Detail what frustrations they felt especially around finding the right solution, or the right advisor or simply a solution they can afford while trying to raise a family of five in an expensive city. Don’t be shy about including the details your client can relate to—things like juggling day care costs and mortgage payments and bills and credit card balances.
The bottom-line is, make the heroes of your story and their pain points come alive. Just like you would if you were telling a story to friends over dinner. Give it drama. Make sure the stakes are clear.
The compelling structure that powers all stories
All stories must have a beginning, a middle and an end. Seems obvious, but the way in which conflict and apprehension are created in each of those stages is what makes story such a powerful motivator.
In the beginning you set out the client’s ordinary world—what life was like for them. And then introduce the problem that has upset that world. Perhaps it was the birth of a child or an illness or a change in employment.
In the middle the client seeks to solve their problem. They may have tried other solutions that, while well-intentioned, did not eliminate their pain. This raises the stakes for them and increases their anxiety.
Finally, describe what happened when the client adopted your solution. Show how it alleviated their pain points. Detail how they felt afterwards. Those reactions make your story a convincing emotional experience.
Supporting the facts of your presentation with a compelling story that journey through these three stages will help you forge a strong connection with your client. It will increase trust and make them more accepting of your proposal.
The power of story gives you the opportunity to significantly upgrade your client presentations. Keep the current structure of your presentation—don’t throw out the facts—but weave in stories about other clients who had the same problem. Describe how your solution solved it. And keep in mind that the transformative power of story comes from its ability to make the listener identify with the main character and the perils they face, forging a strong connection.
Honing your ability to tell powerful stories that support the facts of your presentation has the potential to more than double your closing rate. With no extra effort, you have the ability to significantly increase the number of clients you are able to help—and greatly improve your bottom line.