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How can coaching increase client conversion rates?

The benefits of a high conversion rate are significant and include operational efficiency and improved margins, because less money needs to be invested in marketing.

Unfortunately, too many advisers and planners believe marketing is only about creating new leads forgetting to analyse, and then improve, their conversion rate.

There are many solutions to the conversion rate problem, in her first guest blog for us, Becca Timmins explains why coaching skills are one of them.

Research shows that when we receive advice, we only act on it 12-15% of the time. In contrast, when we make discoveries for ourselves, it’s far more powerful. Realising something significant about ourselves, our hopes, dreams, or potential futures, inspires action in a way that advice never can.

Coaching skills are invaluable for financial planners seeking to boost lead conversion. By fostering a safe, secure environment, clients can delve into their aspirations, uncovering potential they hadn’t realised. When clients discover exciting possibilities, they hadn’t previously considered, they’re motivated to craft a financial plan that transforms these dreams into tangible realities.

The ability to facilitate this kind of discovery meets a fundamental human need. We all want to envision futures that feel uniquely meaningful. Yet social pressure and conventional expectations often constrain our thinking. Financial planners who can guide clients to cut through those limitations inspire immense trust and loyalty.

The first steps: listening and asking questions

Effective coaching hinges on a profound curiosity about your client. What’s most important to them, their drivers, their dreams, hopes and aspirations for the future. Here, empathetic listening fosters a sense of being understood and appreciated.

Instead of injecting your thoughts or fixes, embrace contemplative pauses. Connect with your client’s narratives rather than hastily offering solutions. They’ll feel empowered to delve deeper as they perceive your authentic engagement. Remember, their pauses also have rich meaning; our minds work ten times faster than our speech, and so silence can reveal a wealth of thought if it’s allowed to unfold.

Expert questioning further ignites discovery and helps clients uncover overlooked aspirations. Through this process, couples can gain new insights into each other.

Pose open-ended questions about their aspirations, sources of happiness, and childhood dreams. Then, prompt them with “And what more?” to encourage deeper exploration beyond superficial responses.

Appreciate vulnerability to build trust

When someone shares openly about their vision, meet that courage with explicit appreciation.

Comments like “Thank you for being so open” or “I appreciate you sharing this dream with me” build goodwill and connection. Avoid imposing your judgement on what you’ve heard. Whatever you think of their vision – that’s the point – it’s their vision!

Research shows that relationships thrive on a high ratio of appreciation to criticism. Take a moment at the end of your meeting to notice a quality in your client that you appreciate, and share that with them.

Why coaching skills matter more than ever

In today’s digital era, genuine human connection is a commodity that sets businesses apart. For financial planners, cultivating emotional intelligence and communication skills puts them worlds apart from automated advice tools, even as these become more intelligent. These human skills foster the trusting relationships that convince clients to work with them year after year.

Such abilities become especially vital for newer planners aiming to match the gravitas and trust older generations evoke naturally with their age and experience. When clients recognise your ability to truly understand them and genuinely support their journey of self-discovery, age differences become inconsequential.

Imagine this future discovery session

Picture yourself ending an initial meeting with new clients. After deeply listening and asking questions they never expected from a financial discussion, you’ve facilitated the clients unearthing dreams they had never articulated before – not even to each other.

In that final moment, you explain the next steps for creating a financial plan that makes those dreams possible. The room is alive with possibility as your clients’ eyes open wide with excitement.

Now ask yourself:

Why wouldn’t they want to work with you when presented with this vision of their future?

Improving conversion rates

It’s one thing to get new leads through the door and another for them to spend time with you in a discovery meeting. The final hurdle is for your potential client to see enough value in working with you that they commit to paying your fees and becoming a client.

Applying coaching skills through your onboarding process allows potential clients to see and feel your value for themselves. Your relationship will be deeper, more trusting, and more valuable to them from day one and that will increase the number of leads that convert to fee paying clients.

As a bonus, these clients will be more likely to recommend you because they won’t be able to stop talking about the difference you make to their lives!

Financial planning that goes way beyond the numbers

Of course, technical expertise remains crucial. But in a world of increasing automation, the human skills of coaching and facilitation separate the best. Clients want more than just tax planning, pension, and investment advice – they seek guidance through the profoundly personal terrains of vision, purpose, and meaning.

As a planner, how will you lead them there? Mastering even basic coaching abilities can unlock this opportunity for connection and impact.

And it may just convert more of your leads into devoted, long-term clients.

If you’re interested in developing your coaching skills to bring greater value to your clients and improve your conversion rates, my course: Unlocking Excellence: The Financial Planner’s Coaching Blueprint might be for you. Click here to find out more.

About the author

Becca Timmins is a Consultant, Coach, Trainer and Facilitator. With more than 20 years of experience in the Financial Planning sector, she specialises in working with Financial Planners, Business Owners and their teams to build better cultures, hold more effective client and internal meetings and develop their coaching skills.

Becca started When We Think in 2020, having seen the profound impact that intentional cultural change, underpinned by the development of coaching skills and the implementation of the Thinking Environment had at Emery Little, where she was Operations Director for 15 years. She is now on a mission to improve meetings, and cultures across the sector to improve team engagement and development, and the quality of client outcomes.

Becca regularly works with teams to improve their internal meetings as well as coaching and running open courses for Business Leaders and Financial Planners.

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