Top Tips on Initial Phone Calls
Top Tips on Initial Phone Calls
The tone is set the first time you speak to an enquirer. Here are some of our top tips to make the most of those initial phone calls!
1. Thank them for getting in touch.
Starting a conversation by thanking them for their enquiry can set the call off on the right foot. Often people will spend a lot of time on the VouchedFor website selecting an adviser who they believe is right for them. They’re keen to talk, try not to keep them waiting!
2. Briefly review the enquiry message and it’s origin.
Firstly, especially if you’re not able to reach out straight away, make sure you mention the context of the request as people will often go searching in more than one place - especially if they’re using the internet. Asking questions such as: did you come through the company website or did you reach out through VouchedFor, etc? Can help you all get onto the same page before proceeding.
New enquiry emails have a 24-hour time frame before the link to their contact details expires. If this is the case, you can access their information via your Member’s Area > Enquiries tab.
3. Ask how you can help.
It's tempting to start a call by telling the enquirer about what you can offer, however, what you can offer depends on what they need... so just ask. It can also be a good idea to go over the enquiry message before you make contact and then ask them to clarify certain aspects to ensure that there aren’t any more initial details you may need before proceeding.
Once you've asked, let them talk. You may find that a lot of the information you need comes out naturally anyway.
Once they've finished telling you about their situation, briefly summarise what they've said - using some of their words, if possible. This will show that you not only listened, but that you actually heard their concerns and understood them. Unless they themselves use jargon (which is unlikely) do try to avoid it. Financial advice can be quite daunting for people to seek sometimes as they can feel it’s a world they know nothing about. You don’t want to make them feel like they’re inferior for not understanding anything, so try to simplify and support them wherever possible.
Now it's your turn to talk but try to stick to talking about their needs. Are there some crucial points you need to find out to establish if you can help them? If there is, now is the time to ask. Often, they are really eager to discuss their situation but try not to overwhelm them with irrelevant points. You can delve more into the details of their situation during the initial meeting.
6. Confirm a meeting
At this stage let them know if you believe you can help and, if so, lock in a time for an initial consultation. If this meeting is free of charge let them know!
Sometimes they may need reassurance or have some questions about how the process works. Keep this as simple and transparent as possible. Again, avoid jargon unless they've shown a high level of industry knowledge and try to encourage questions wherever possible to show that their understanding is important to you.
Let them know you're looking forward to meeting them and learning more about their situation. Their finances could likely be a major concern in their lives so try to give it the importance it deserves.
7. If you are unable to help, let them know why!
There will be situations where you may not be able to assist, we call this an ‘incorrect service match’. Just be honest with the enquirer. Let them know if there is an issue and be clear about why. Do they require a specialist? Are they too young for the service they’re looking for? Is their personal investment plan not something you have the insurance to carry out?
Being clear about this will give them massive amounts of clarity on their next step and this in itself could result in them suggesting friends or family speak to you in future as it demonstrates support and knowledge.
Some things, however, can really deter an enquirer from proceeding with you so we advise that you DON'T…
...talk over the client. If this is the first time they've sought advice they may be nervous and they will almost always want to explain their full situation. The initial meeting is the most valuable part of the process, it builds trust - make sure you’re actively listening.
...go for the hard sell. They may ask questions about you and your firm. Of course, answer these - but don't push too hard! No one likes to feel uncomfortable or like they’re being coerced into making quick decisions.
...hold them to your agenda or rush them. Your time is valuable but these finances are often the foundation of their life. If you feel that the call is running on for too long, simply suggest meeting in person.