What's the secret to taking your financial services career to new heights?
By Lew Nason
Insurance Pro Shop
I have a couple of tough questions for you, and how you answer these questions may be extremely critical to determining your overall success in this business.
Question 1: What is it that you do for a living?
Think about this very carefully, because it’s very important! Are you an insurance agent, financial planner, financial advisor, registered representative, registered investment advisor or financial consultant? Or, maybe you're a stock broker, CPA, RFC or attorney. Or, maybe you use some other title.
Unfortunately, if you said any of the above, then maybe that’s why you are not as successful in the financial services business as you would like to be. Because all of the answers above are just industry licenses you hold, industry designations you may have earned or a career title that you have decided to use. In many cases it may denote the training you have received, or how you perceive yourself. Or, maybe it’s how you want your clients to perceive you.
Whatever you have decided to call yourself, it doesn't define what you do for a living, although it is what you must tell your prospects and clients that you do for a living. If you were to tell people who you really are and what you really do for a living, they would probably run the other way.
You may not want to hear this, but what you do for a living is sell. You are a salesperson. You may be offering a product, investments, advice or some other services, but you are above all and foremost, a salesperson. And it doesn’t matter if you earn your money by collecting fees or earning commissions.
In many cases, it’s that basic lack of understanding about what you do for a living that is keeping you from earning the living you desire and of which you are capable. When you finally accept that you are a salesperson and begin to focus your efforts each day on learning and mastering the skills needed to attract and sell prospects, then, and only then, will you be able to take your financial services career to new heights.
Question 2: What is your function as a salesperson?
Is your function to make sales? Is it to sell your products and/or services? Is it to educate your prospect on the value of your products and services? Is it to prove to them how knowledgeable you are? Establish rapport? Gain their trust and respect? Help them to understand why they need your services?
While all of the above are important aspects of making a sale and are things that you hope will happen during the sales process, they are not your function as a salesperson. Your function is to help your prospect to identify a problem that they have, help them to prioritize that problem, and then help them find a way to solve that problem. If your prospect doesn’t see that they have a problem, then why should they invest their time and money in your products and services? A true sales professional knows that to help people, he or she must be of service and prioritize his or her customers' needs. True sales professionals choose to give of themselves, without the expectation of an immediate return. They ask questions and learn as much as they possibly can about prospects and their needs and wants. They implement a well-thought-out and rehearsed selling procedure that will help them gather and organize information to make their presentation attractive to their prospect. Until selling becomes a procedure, it will always be a problem.
The reason so many salespeople struggle is that they have not learned and implemented a selling procedure. They fail to investigate their clients' needs and wants, establish trust and rapport with their prospects, and demonstrate how their products and services can fulfill those needs and wants. A salesperson that has not learned how to perform each of these important functions is not really helping people and will not close many sales.
The final question: Do you have a set selling procedure?
Do you have a specialty that you use to consistently attract prospects who have a problem that you can solve, or are you just taking whatever sales happen to come your way? Do you have a thoughtful and well-rehearsed initial questioning procedure to gather facts, gain trust and build rapport, and help your prospect to determine what they actually need and want? Or, are you just telling your prospects what you believe they need and want? Do you have a set sales presentation procedure that demonstrates how your products and services can fulfill your clients’ needs and wants? Or, are you just telling them and trying to convince them that your product and/or service will solve their problem?
If you want to be successful in sales and you really want to help people, then you must learn a precise, step-by-step procedure — a sales procedure that covers all the points in the selling process and leaves nothing to chance. You must form the habit of doing what is necessary, within ethical and moral boundaries, to succeed. That’s what distinguishes winners from failures. Successful people are simply unwilling to fail.
Top performers know that school is never out for the true professional. There are many more points to understand about selling, and your future success in sales hinges upon your knowledge of them. Ultimately, in order to succeed in selling, you must embrace your profession and seek to constantly improve not only yourself, but also the profession as a whole. When you combine a selling procedure with your high degree of interest in building your sales career, you will become a success. You will witness the birth of a true sales professional. Then, and only then, will you take your financial services career to new heights.