The CIRCLE Model: The Art & Science of Financial Advice

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Overview of the Programme


This programme is targeted at financial advisors whose primary route to value is their advice, not a product. The programme aims to improve the conversion and client retention skills of those attending by examining effective client engagement and business development strategies in the financial industry.

The course is based on leading edge research and experience on what are the most effective ways to advise clients.

The course will follow a typical relationship management cycle, presenting the skills and strategies needed at each stage.  Those attending will by the end of the have a number of leading edge strategies that they can implement to grow their business areas.

Training Objectives
After attending the full programme, participants will be able to:

  • Utilise a structured sales model (CIRCLE™) that can be applied across the Bank
  •  Deploy effective techniques that create advancement in situations where client decision making maybe complex and lead times long
  • Use anchoring techniques that increase intangible value of the solution
  • Apply paraphrasing and re-framing techniques that give clarity to client problems
  • Use a questioning technique that is designed for the challenges of financial solutions
  • Apply  the concepts of effective relationship building
  • Adapt effectively to relationship styles they meet
  • Develop and improve their personal presentation and relationship style
  • Be able to structure and control a face to face meeting
  • Develop their clients into a value grow portfolio
  • Reduce lead times through creating both urgency and importance



We can bring this course to your company's office.

If you simply want to run this course at a location convenient to you or if you want a completely customised learning solution, we can help.

We produce learning solutions that are completely unique to your business. Our tailored learning solutions are designed specifically for your organisation’s needs.

We’ll be here to support you every step of the way. From the initial consultancy through to evaluating the success of the full learning experience. We'll ensure you get the maximum return on your training investment.

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Day 1

Session 1
Introduction to Programme

  • Welcome and introductions
  • Objectives of the programme
  • Action planning – “stop, start, continue” model

Session 2
The Science of Selling in the Financial Arena:  The CIRCLE™ Model

Delegates will be introduced to an advisory sales model that will serve to give structure and consistency in the selling approaches of those attending.  The model will also be used as an action plan that will allow for on-going skills development once all the modules have been completed.  It is as follows:

  • Connect –pre-connect, engage, gain rapport, initial pitch
  • Inquire – be curious, listen for key issues
  • Respond – paraphrase, summarise, show anomalies
  • Create – describe the “what if”, emotions, future states
  • Liaise – create a joint problem statement, present resolution / solution
  • Execute –  handle objections, close the business, on-board the solution / client

Case Study: Good Meeting – case simulation of a first meeting with a prospective client

Session 3
Creating the Value Advantage in the Financial Industry
The nature of selling in the financial industry is different to commodity selling approaches: the more you push a product the more you de-value your offering.   However, potential clients can engage in commodity buying approaches which dilute value and differentiation.  In this session delegates will be shown proven techniques on what creates value for the investment client.  Topics covered:

  • What do clients want ?
  • Creating intangible value 
  • How to give advice that impacts the client
  • The habits of successful trusted advisors

Exercise: Creating intangible value

Session 4
Effective Client Meetings

  • The structure of a client meeting
  • Handling the joint meeting
  • The importance of listening
  • How to develop better active listening skills
  • When to talk and when to ask questions with clients
  • Open, closed and probing questions

Role Play: Participants will role play a short meeting with client – how much new information can they uncover – and how much will they disclose?

Session 5
The Art of Advisory Sales: Assisting your Client to Identify the Problem is More Important than Solving it

  • The Pareto principle: The importance of getting your client to do 80% of the talking
  • The difference between how advisors and clients solve problems
  • Using paraphrasing and summarising to create more resonance
  • The importance of pausing

Role Play: Paraphrase don’t solve

Session 6
Developing the Financial Solution: The Skill of Trusted Advisors

  • Why some RMs fail
  • Understanding why people buy
  • Understanding the difference between an implicit and explicit need
  • Getting people to see they need to take action by building up problems of doing nothing

Exercise: Can you spot my real need?

Day Two

Session 1
What does the Client want? The Fact Find

  • The questioning phase

                - Questioning technique: the importance of “Open” questions
                - The different types of questions

  • Sacrosanct questions
  • Different Classification of Questions: Questioning: Open, Closed, Reflective, Leading and Assumptive

Role  Play:  Delegates will be involved in a sales meeting to evaluate their questioning skills

Session 2
Advanced Financial Questioning Skills that Increase Average Client Revenue

  • The concept of motivating questions
  • Situation questions – their uses and limitations
  • Business opportunity questions – uncovering new business from existing clients
  • Need reinforcement – secrets of selling financial services

                 - Getting the customer to confirm their need

Session 3
Case Simulation: Effective Financial Questioning

  • Participants have time to prepare in pairs
  • Each individual is given a set of client needs
  • Pairs present back their solutions to the audience
  • Debrief and discussion: what went well and what could have gone better

Session 4
Disturbance Questioning and How These Question Create More Value

  • Getting customers to work out their opportunity cost so they realise there is a cost not making a decision as well as making one
  • Using Maister’s “Envisioning alternate realities” technique to create a tangible value understanding by the customer
  • Reviewing questioning techniques from previous training: what has been the application

Exercise: Adding these new sets of questions to those previously covered

Session 5
Effectively Dealing with Client Inertia: “I’ll think about it”

  • Why do clients delay decision making?
  • Using market changes to create impetus
  • Using “push” factors and understanding the nature of distress purchasing
  • A review of what are the push factors in your market place
  • Creating a questioning hub around current market issues to create client need
  • Creating a range of motivating questions to create interest amongst your clients
  • Persuading a client to try one service with a view to increasing the relationship in the medium term

Practical Exercise: Delegates will create a number of push factors that they can begin to use reduce inertia

Session 6
Major Role Play

  • Participants will review a client case study and will then need to go through all stages of the sales cycle – questioning; rapport building; creating the problem; building the financial solution; pitching the solution; closing the deal and handling objections
  • Participants have a final opportunity to put the skills of the course into practice
  • They are observed undertaking a sales scenario
  • Are they using the Questioning Structure? Are they using the other skills of the course?
  • Group debriefs in small groups
  • Personal action planning – a contract for further improvement
Why us

We have a combined experience of over 60 years providing learning solutions to the world’s major organisations and are privileged to have contributed to their success. We view our clients as partners and focus on understanding the needs of each organisation we work with to tailor learning solutions to specific requirements.

We are proud of our record of customer satisfaction. Here is why you should choose us to help you achieve your goals and accelerate your career:

  • Quality – our clients consistently rate our performance ‘excellent’ or ‘outstanding’. Our average overall score awarded to us by our clients is nine out of ten.
  • Track record – we have delivered training solutions for 95% of worlds’ top 100 banks and have trained over 250,000 professionals.
  • Knowledge – our 150 strong team of industry specialist trainers are world leading financial leaders and commentators, ensuring our knowledge base is second to none.
  • Reliability – if we promise it, we deliver it. We have delivered over 20,000 events both in person and online, using simultaneous translation to delegates from over 180 countries.
  • Recognition – we are accredited by the British Accreditation Council and the CPD Certification Service. In an independent review by Feefo we scored 96% on service and 95% on product