Uncover The Silent Killers Of Your Sales Growth Measure Your Practice Against This Checklist For Success
By Kay Dempsey
Whats the difference between the sales process of a $1,000,000 commission producer and that of other “successful” financial services professionals? The answer is that the million dollar producers have all learned how to avoid the drain on their resources and their time. As Scott Peck wrote in “The Road Less Traveled,” if you want to avoid pain and suffering, you cant operate at higher levels.
After more than 20 years as a Brokerage General Agent, Ive learned that the differences are transparent. Heres a check-up for your sales process to uncover the silent killers of your growth:
1. Make a list of what you should be doing vs. what you are doing each day.
The top one-half of 1% of our industrys performers have a consistent focus on allocating time to their highest and best use. Simply put, are you in surgery or are you on the scrub team? Are you asking clients to do business with you or are you in sales interviews most of your day? How much time do you work at too low a level in a quagmire of administrative issues? Do you delegate but refuse to let go? Do you hold others accountable, or do you lower the bar if they fail to support your efforts?
2. Dont say, “When my revenues increase, I will hire another assistant.”
Investing in your practice will yield quantum increases in pay, many times over, for the support. Its the difference in income of producers who track attending physicians statements rather than being in front of a client.
3. Have a process of networking for referrals.
Do you first refer business to other professionals who respond in kind? Do you use a telemarketing firm for your leads? Are you an advocate of issues that are important to your clients? Do you drill down for prospects within the same industries? Rather than fishing for a market, do you find a market and fish it? What is your level of community involvement? Do you find opportunities to speak to groups? Do you make clients of your referral sources?
4. Dont think that financial services is just the offering of one product.
While it is dangerous today to be a generalist rather than a specialist, have you formed strategic alliances for ancillary lines of business that may not be your focus? Recently, the chief executive officer and the president of a community bank were lamenting about lost business. Meanwhile, one of their own directors had just spent $400,000 in insurance premiums to complete his estate planning. The bank missed the opportunity to provide the solution.
5. Learn to say “No” to business.
When a client calls you, obviously there is a higher degree of interest than usual. But as the conversation progresses, does it start to become clear that this client has been unhappy with past advisors?
Example: A retiring CFO of a major Atlanta business became a client of an investment advisor I know. The CFO was a sophisticated investor. His retirement fund was transferred for management. The amount of income he began to tap was contrary to the advisors recommendation. The advisor warned the plan would not hold up if he continued his spending pattern. The client would not take the advice. Now, the advisor is embroiled in an arbitration.
Watch for the signals. You must be prepared to resign the account of a client who patently refuses to accept your counsel.
6. Look at your profits over the past 12 months and the sources of that profit.
If 80% of your time is spent on 20% of your revenues, it is time to find a junior partner or simply resign any account that does not provide an adequate return for the investment of your time.
7. Become aware of how good your follow-up is.
Peak performers follow up not just until the deal is completed but to make certain the client has taken action on the details. One RIA we know lost a $3 million account because he waited 4 months to follow up. His competitor, a NYSE broker, followed up the day of the first appointment and each week until the accounts were transferred. After the close, the reminders continued on action needed.