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Bridging to higher sales (part 1)

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You have a senior client you would like to up-sell. They have a need, but don’t yet know it, and you aren’t really sure how to approach them. I would suggest that you use “bridging.” Bridging is a set of techniques you can use to sell or upgrade clients from your products or services to a higher level or a larger quantity of products and services.

This is particularly important because not only will they buy from you more quickly than they would with a cold call, but there is a high likelihood you will be able to retain them as clients longer as they buy more products and services.

Why worry about upselling when they have already done business with you in the past? The biggest reason is to keep your client over the long term. You also want to provide products and services to those who already trust you.

The numbers tell the tale. According to one study done by LIMRA, there’s a 35 percent client retention rate over five years with one product or service, but if you sell two products, the number jumps to 56 percent. Sell them three or more products and there’s a 92 percent chance they’ll stick with you over five years.

The more products you have with the client, the longer they will stay with you. Banks are a great example: When they gain your checking account, they are much closer to gaining your next car loan, CD and securing your retirement

Hurt and rescue
What is the best way to bridge your clients into more products? First discover their needs and then move them to other products and services you offer. The method you can use to create this initial interest is a concept called “hurt and rescue.”

An example of hurt and rescue is to ask questions creating a “hurt” or pain to grab your prospect’s attention. For example: “I noticed that you are paying more taxes than you should as a retiree. Would you like to pay less?” Or: “Only 7 percent of Americans will be able to retire permanently at 65, without going back to work. Would it help if we could prevent that from happening to you?”

As you ask these questions, your job is to let them know how much of a problem (hurt) their lack of knowledge creates and how you can “rescue” them from those worries. Here are five steps you can use to bridge your clients into an appointment and help them solve their problems.

Bridging steps

  1. Make an introductory statement
  2. Ask a bridging question
  3. Search for needs
  4. Trial close
  5. Book an appointment