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Surprise is a great teacher

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Have you ever been surprised in a sales situation?

  • You’ve gotten a solid referral…and then the prospect isn’t interested.
  • You’ve completed thorough fact-finding…and then you can’t get the prospect to take your call.
  • You’ve closed the sale…and then the client or prospect won’t take the insurance exam.

Surprise happens to the best of advisors. The root cause, in my opinion, is our failure to dig deep enough and to listen carefully enough to what our clients and prospects are really saying. Why do we fall into this trap?

One important reason: As salespeople, sometimes we are more interested in making a sale than in solving a client’s problem. Prospects usually know when an advisor is motivated by self-interest. This attitude is OK if a buyer wants exactly what you have to sell. (But how often has a buyer done exactly what you recommended?)

Another thing to consider: Perhaps you view your job as one of persuasion first and discovering what the client wants second. Of course, most of us would say that we don’t do that. Yet, any time you get a no when you were expecting a yes, you have not dug deeply enough at an earlier stage in the sales process.

You must dig deeply into your prospects’ needs, attitudes and experiences with your product or service. If you don’t, you may be in for a (nasty) surprise.

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Nick Ray is a business coach who specializes in working with financial services professionals. His new book, “There’s More to Selling Than Making the Sale,” as well as his workbook on target marketing, was published in the spring of 2010. He can be reached at [email protected].


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