I have always been more comfortable with
a consultative approach to selling financial services over pitching a
product. Also, if you are a relationship-oriented advisor, I think
it is much better to figure
out what someone 'wants' to buy first and make them a
client. Then you have the rest of your career to get them to do
what they 'need' to do, which is a better strategy for
everyone involved. And, you get paid when you find that first sale.
With this approach you can sell as high as nine out of ten where there
is chemistry, timing, and money. I have never seen any other approach
come even close to this level of effectiveness and profitability for a
A topic I seem to be coaching advisors
on a lot related to the low-key, "make-them-a-client-first"
approach is how to find that first sale. Basically, you are
interviewing people to identify as many potential needs as possible.
You get the client to prioritize those needs and find the issue
they most want to solve or address first.
Instead of pitching a product,
you are looking for
something to work on 'with' the client that is of
the most interest to the client. You are looking for a problem to
solve that you can solve with one of your products. You are looking
for the one thing that the client is motivated to spend some time and
money on at this point in their life. The client may not know what
that something is at the beginning of your initial interview. Often
the project you will work on together will appear in the interviewing
process. In others words, people know they need to do something. They
often are not clear about what the something is.
There are a couple different ways to
think about what you are looking for when you go into the initial
interview. One of my favorite focuses is
"What do they want that
they don't have in relation to their finances." What
they want that they don't have will come into view from your questions
and your teaching process. As you paint the picture of what your
client has done and clarify what they want to do in the future, an
area that needs attention will usually appear.
Another way to find a project to
work on together is to look at what they have done and look to see
what can be improved. In this scenario, you are creating ways
for the client to improve, fix, or update their portfolio and see if
that is of interest to them. Therefore the more areas you can look at
when you initially talk to people, the more potential there is for a
sale. So an important skill becomes seeing how many rocks can you turn
over to uncover a potential problem or opportunity related to the
products your represent. If you can improve the clients' position,
they are usually going to listen to your ideas.
One more perspective on your focus as
you go into the initial meeting with the potential client. You
want to identify areas that
the client does not feel competent in, feels discomfort with, or has a
fear or concern about and would like some help or advice.
Once you identify an area of concern, you simply say, "Would you like
some help with that?" If the answer is yes, you probably have a
project to work on together as well as a sale!
If this sounds simple, it is!
Success with the low-key, consultative approach to selling financial
services is based on effective interviewing skills and problem solving
ability. It's not based on selling skills. There is no magic to this
process. Go teach people how to better address the financial
challenges they are facing and you will make sales.
Peace and good will for the Holidays,
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