As Q1 comes to a close, it may be time to refocus your practice. These five rules to live and work by will make you more genuine and intuitive, and will give each sales real staying power.

1. Be upfront about who you are and what you sell.

In sales, there’s simply no substitute for honesty. Being open and honest with your clients and prospects is the only way to develop a relationship that will last. To this end, pay heed to a set of rules that I like to call the Truth Standard. It’s comprised of three parts: 1) Never misrepresent a competing advisor, product or company; 2) Never fear monger during the sales process, especially about government benefits; 3) Be totally transparent about your professional background and training, and communicate your authentic self at all times. 

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2. Do thorough fact-finding to uncover prospect needs.

Always do legitimate fact-finding. The time you invest here will make you a better advisor and generate more revenue over the client’s lifecycle.

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3. Present quality products that deliver reasonable value.

Gordon Gekko got it all wrong in his famous speech: Greed is definitely not good for financial advisors. In fact, greed — or me-first selling — is the ultimate trust destroyer. Consumers want to know you are on their side, and the way they will know this is if you recommend high-value and low- or moderate-cost products. You may get paid less now, but you’ll make more later.

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4. Close through education, not intimidation.

Fear mongering (see page 1) is an anemic sales tactic and the lowest form of selling. Here’s why: Highlighting the benefits of a product makes customers really want to buy. People who buy out of fear feel they have been forced to buy. When weak agents resort to this tactic, their sales lack depth and staying power, resulting in “buyer’s remorse.” Instead, become an expert on product changes and government programs, so you can proactively educate clients and help them take the right next step.

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5. Strive for equitable compensation over time, not maximum compensation on the first sale. Sell only the products you truly believe in. Be protective of your clients’ assets, and fight for them when others attempt to harm them. And, don’t just position yourself for your next sale. Do what’s required to survive long-term in this business — sell truthfully.

For more from Steven McCarty, see: