These days, it’s often seen as a sign of enlightenment when an advisor says she spends as much or more time listening to prospective clients than she does talking to them. But such a strategy can be taken too far, says Terry Sjodin, author of New Sales Speak: The 9 Biggest Presentation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them, and a keynote speaker at Datalynx’s recent annual conference, being held in Denver from February 21 to 24. Taking a consultative approach to attracting new business doesn’t mean you don’t have to speak, and speak persuasively, when the time is right, she says.
“Do you know what your ‘David Letterman Top 10′ list is for why a prospect should work with you? You should be able to list them off, rapid-fire, right now,” Sjodin told conference attendees, noting that even if you’re not selling products, you’re nevertheless still selling: your services, your reputation, and yourself. Advisors can’t simply meander, unprepared, through an initial interview with a prospect: Just as a champion debater must distill her case into a series of concise points, “you have to tighten up your arguments, and be persuasive: You have to talk in sound bites.”