Focus On Selling What The Client Actually Wants To Buy: Werth

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If you want to have greater sales success in selling financial products and services, “dont keep trying to sell people something they dont want to buy,” advises Jacques Werth.

“Also, dont keep talking about the technicalities of your financial products. And dont try to cloak your presentation in the veil of the helping arts–that is, dont offer to be interested or helpful to your clients.”

Instead, says Werth, “concentrate on using words that lead the client to make a commitment about doing what the client already wants to do.”

As president of High Probability Selling in Dresher, Pa., Werth regularly works with registered representatives and planners, trying to help them grow their practices. Too often, he says, they are focusing on the wrong thing and not having success with getting people to invest or buy.

“Thats a big reason why the turnover rate in financial services is so high,” he contends. Even those who survive and stay in the business often do not do that well, he says, explaining that “a lot of them make what a good truck driver makes.”

To do better, he says, producers should target “probable buyers”–customers who actually want the products and services the producer has to sell. “It comes down to this: Be up front with the person. Say, Were selling this. Do you want to buy it?”–not “We want to help you.”

If the person does not want to buy now, check whether he or she plans or hopes to buy it in a few weeks or months or even next year.

Be sure to follow up, he adds. “Call back and see if they now want your product or service. Make short calls. Be clear and concise. Talk about what they want. Dont try to ingratiate yourself or to be the persons next best friend.”

This works for selling all kinds of financial products, Werth contends. By all kinds, he says he means insurance, mutual funds, variable annuities, variable life insurance, and so on. It even applies, he says, to loans (though he says most reps and insurance agents dont know enough about loans, and so should plan to bring a specialist in on those cases and split the commission).

He is strongly opposed to the approach recommended by some financial professionals–to start out by establishing the clients need for various products. “They get an appointment with someone and then go through all kinds of manipulative dances, talking about establishing the clients need and trying to create pain by making the person see what will happen if the need is not satisfied.”

When that happens, he says, “most people decide they dont want to talk to the producer any more.”

Why does that happen? Too many times, the needs analysis presentations feel manipulative to the customer, Werth maintains.

“At least 84% of us want to deal with people we trust and respect, while the rest want to get the best deal. So being the person a customer can trust and respect is what will get you the business, not being manipulative.”

That means being up front with the customer, he insists. It also means spending time building trust. “You can do the needs analysis later on, but first find out if the client is likely to want what youre selling.”

If you are a generalist, Werth adds, “know when its time to call in a specialist. In addition, read up on the basic principles related to your field and products. And contact the companies you represent and meet with the managers, so you can establish strong relationships there, too.

“Also do your due diligence with the companies–monitor them, and leave if they start trying to manipulate you or the customer.”

Most of all, “focus on selling what the person wants now, not what your companies want to sell,” he says. This includes, he adds, “focusing on what people want, not what they need.” People also want to fulfill their needs, he allows, so discussing needs is not out of the question. The point is, let the person identify what it is they want.

Do the fact-finding after the person makes a commitment to do something about what he or she wants, he concludes.

This article appeared in the June 2002 issue of Registered e-Report, a publication of National Underwriter Life & Health edition.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, September 23, 2002. Copyright 2002 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.