While it goes without saying that you should always fully disclose what you're selling and strive to meet your clients' goals and objectives, here are five simple strategies you can use to become a salesperson your clients appreciate, admire and refer their friends and family to again and again.
Strategy 1: Speak your prospect's language. In my career, it's been rare for a prospect to ask me to sell them life insurance, an annuity or long term care insurance. They usually come to me and say things like, "I want financial security for my family," "I want to retire early and travel," or "I want to pay for my child's college tuition." Prospects want advisors who understand their goals -- not those just pushing products. Financial product terminology usually doesn't resonate with prospects, so it's important to take the time to know your prospect's needs and communicate solutions to their real-life problems.
Strategy 2: Listen and ask the right questions. Recently, my four-year-old son came home and explained that his friend's dad plays football with the Cardinals. He also shared that if this man won the upcoming game, he was going to the "Super Pole." I started to laugh and explained that it was the "Super Bowl," not "Super Pole." He became frustrated with me and said that his teacher told him that it was like the North Pole where Santa lives. Later, as I reflected on our conversation, I wished I hadn't said anything and just left it at "Super Pole." The bottom line is that the more time you spend listening and asking the right questions -- versus correcting -- the more successful you'll be, whether your goal is connecting with a four-year-old or closing a multi-million-dollar account.
Strategy 3: Recognize all the good things. One of the most effective strategies I've used as a parent is to catch my kids doing good deeds. When I recognize what they're doing and praise them for it, those desirable behaviors increase. The same can be said for my employees, prospects and clients. When you acknowledge things that people do right -- professionally as well as personally -- they come to trust you as someone who cares.
Strategy 4: Don't forget to follow up. One of the biggest contributors to my success is my ability to follow up with people. Because studies show that it takes up to seven contacts for people to decide to do business with someone -- and that 70 percent of people switch vendors because they don't have their contact information handy -- I know how important it is to maintain connections with prospects and clients alike. People complain that following up takes too much time, but I've automated my follow-up system and I can tell you there's absolutely no excuse for losing sales to poor follow-up anymore.
Strategy 5: Get into your client's unconscious conscious. Years ago, a mentor shared the key to his selling success with me. "First," he said, "your prospects and clients have to know exactly what you do and for whom. Your message has to seep into their unconscious conscious, which means that when they hear trigger words that describe your business -- like `divorce,' `widow,' `retirement,' `investment' -- they think of you and recommend you immediately."
Recently, a colleague shared with me how frustrated she was that a client had purchased a product from another advisor. When asked about the decision, the client was shocked and said that she had no idea my colleague could have helped her. I told my colleague that this was a great opportunity for her to change her marketing to ensure that her clients and prospects were clear on what she did, and thought of her whenever they heard a trigger word.
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