The "Great Mehdi's" golden sales nuggets

By Lew Nason

Insurance Pro Shop

Mehdi Fakharzadeh is a 43-year Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) member with 13 Court of the Table and 27 Top of the Table qualifications. For nearly four decades, he has been an active MDRT Annual Meeting volunteer and speaker, and he is an MDRT Foundation Gold Knight. Throughout his tenure with MetLife, Fakharzadeh established himself as a sales leader and mentor. Among the numerous awards Fakharzadeh has received throughout his career, he is one of only two MetLife financial services representatives to be honored with the company's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Mehdi Fakharzadeh has presented his sales strategies to eager agents, advisors, and planners in over fifty countries, and he has presented 10 times at the MDRT. These agents, advisors and planners have then increased their sales and service results. The combined total of those results now reaches into multi-million dollar figures. His fast-track sales briefings are always presented to standing-room-only audiences. These select gatherings have become nearly legendary within the insurance world. To teach, Mehdi often uses an exclusive "uncover the answers by yourself" method. With this in mind, I asked our Great Mehdi the following:

Lew Nason: You have spoken to select groups of people around the world. Many who received your briefings went on to become world-class sales and service achievers. Could you please give the ProducersWeb readers the highlights from your briefing? Can you please deliver this wisdom again, by once more presenting your golden nuggets for those who will eventually read the entire transcript of this session?

Mehdi Fakharzadeh: My Fast-Track Sales Briefing is something that gradually evolved as audiences of financial professionals everywhere, again-and-again, kept asking me not to leave. They did not want me to stop speaking about how to sell. They wanted more. And they specifically requested key golden nuggets summarized in simple words. They wanted this condensed and clear.

Over the years, I realized they benefited more and learned better, and then improved their sales most significantly, if they were not spoon-fed by me. They later accomplish far more if I present this briefing in a format where they were told what to solve and then left to their own resources for finding their best solutions.

So, my sales briefing is different from most other sales training because my fast-track briefing is designed to encourage you to search for the answers that work for you. I believe that if you dig out the helpful information you need, only then you will be more likely to remember and act upon that information. You will be more inclined to continually use this, especially when you start realizing the benefits of doing so.

Most agents, advisors, and planners have been spoon fed sales techniques, strategies and concepts, and then forgotten them or devalued them in their later thoughts. Possibly, you can be like Sherlock Holmes and solve the mysteries of what you need to do to improve your sales results, if I present you with the puzzle elements and key clues.

So here goes...

Selling is motivating your prospect to take action, to purchase, to invest. Selling is not forceful persuasion. Selling is intelligent reason and logic, presented respectfully. Learn how to motivate with practical truths that embody obvious reason and logic. That is one of your mysteries. So I repeat, learn how you can motivate with practical truths that embody obvious reason and logic.

I have made, and continue to make, many sales simply because I had product benefit knowledge -- knowledge of how prospects will benefit from these products. These sales are "given to me." I do not have to work hard for these sales. Some people, when they agree to see you, are already interested and they simply want accurate and complete product benefit knowledge. They want to know how they will benefit from purchasing the product. You must acquire and maintain accurate and complete product benefit knowledge that is always up-to-date. This becomes a part of your specialty knowledge. This helps make you valuable to your clients and prospects. Never attempt to fake product benefit knowledge.

Selling is a "hurt" and "rescue" activity. Or this can be stated another way. Selling is a "problem" and "solution" activity. Find out what this means and practice this. Identify the "hurt" or "problem" and then present the "rescue" or "solution."

Understand that your prospect will eventually become your client and purchase or invest because he or she wants to do so with you. You must help make this possible for them. Your prospects often needs encouragement to take appropriate action. Always be encouraging to your prospects. Figure out realistic and practical ways to help your prospect realize, understand, and accept how it can be possible for them to take the desired action now.

Understand that your prospect will eventually become your client and purchase or invest because he or she wants to do so. This means you must be a person of high class, integrity, honor, and intelligence that they can truly be comfortable with. This does not mean you must be like they are; this means you must be personable and strong with your specialty knowledge. You should build upon whatever is unique, special, and precious about your persona. This is what you will do best.

Don't try to become especially folksy or formal, super-fast or slower. Be your true self.

Remember, we live in an era where greed and exploitation are running amuck in our society, and especially in our corporations and governments. People know this. They instinctively know that they are daily gouged and over-charged. Cheating has now become highly concealed, but commonplace. They are manipulated endlessly and even robbed of their time and peace-of-mind. You should represent only products that will pay your clients if necessary, and you should be your clients' representative, servant, protector, guide, agent, advisor, and loyal friend. Establish a relationship where this is mutually understood. Achieving this comes before your fee, or commission, or obligation to a home office or corporate headquarters.

Selling does, as the cliché goes, mean selling yourself first. You can best do this is a low-key and natural manner, not by being over-attentive, highly ingratiating, super friendly, or totally compliant. You do not have to be the most agreeable person on earth in order to sell. People who do this seem to burn out quickly. Sales professionals who do anything to please and endlessly give of their emotions seem to often become emotionally drained or spent. If you can simply learn to care, really care, about the welfare of your prospects and clients, and allow this to show or be realized, then you can sell. Learn to care and allow your caring to be obvious in sincere ways only.

Once you can effectively sell, or once you learn how to sell, realize that folks often buy from you because they want to, not because they need to. You become a person they like and trust. I often have people wanting to buy from me when they do not need to do so. You and I have the duty and responsibility to know our clients' circumstances well, and to never sell them something they do not need or something that is not the best or right product for them. Never sell anything just because you can. Have the courage to always do what is best for your client, and tell your client about this in advance.

An effective way to close sales is with the alternate close. I hope I have given you enough clues in one short sentence about what an alternate close is. Identify and practice the use of the alternate close. If you cannot figure this one out, contact Lew Nason using the forum below. He'll tell you.

Uncover their wants, but sell to their emotions, and close on their needs. Yes, they are interested in purchasing if they ask the price, but any and every price is too high until you... Do you know what to do next?

I'll answer some of the above for you by saying that any and every price is too high until you justify the benefits for your prospect. Nothing can kill your sale like exposing the price before you detail the personalized benefits. Learn how to justify the price by explaining and personalizing the benefits. Now can you solve this one?

Lew Nason: Thank you for sharing the highlights of your Fast-Track Sales Briefing. You have quickly summed up what it takes to be successful in this industry, but more importantly, you have given them the keys to being a true professional.

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