In a world of PR firms, marketing plans, business models, know-it-all FMO marketers and annuity sales experts, you can actually save a lot of money and time by just asking one question: “Would you do business with you?”

This seems like a no-bainer of a question, but it does require you to actually reflect about how you might be truly perceived by your customers, and how that translates to your success. This is a tough question to truthfully answer, and it’s the same type of face-the-facts realization that happens when you come to terms with whether you are healthy or overweight. It’s never easy to be honest with yourself, especially when it comes to sales, and what you perceive as your sales success. That could be the understatement of the century.

I am always asking myself this “would you do business with you?” question so I can be constantly evaluating what it means to interact with me from an annuity buying standpoint. It’s humbling to say the least, and something that I know that I can always improve upon. So let’s take an honest look at whether you would really do business with yourself.

First impressions matter

We all know that people make a snap judgment of who you are and what you potentially stand for within the first 10 seconds of meeting you. That alone should make us all take a second glance in the mirror before going to that next appointment. However, in this new electronic age, that same first impression definitely extends to your website and any social media that has your name and face on it. In fact, your electronic image might be as important from a first impression standpoint because most potential clients probably check out your digital image before they meet with you face to face.

No urgency needed

I recently bought some used office furniture from one of those companies that buys out businesses in distress or have shut the doors. The nice lady who showed me all of choices available was so darn good that the selling process was unbelievably enjoyable. She asked questions and actually listened to my answers. Novel, huh! She didn’t use some made-up line urging me to buy because some unknown person was also considering the same item I was looking at. She gave me all of the facts, both good and bad, and then left me alone (actually exited the room) to make my decision and discuss with my office manager. It was a phenomenal sales experience. She was a true pro, and would be successful regardless of whatever product she chose to sell. Her next career should be an annuity agent sales trainer!

Personality magnet

I hate it when someone asks me what is my “closing ratio” for people that inquire about buying an annuity through my company. That could be the dumbest, most cliché question of all time. If you disagree with that, then you need to throw away your circus mirror and stop calling yourself a sales expert. For the record, we don’t track meaningless stats. The only thing we keep up with is client satisfaction, and the never ending relentless pursuit of perfecting the annuity information delivery process.

The reality is that we all attract different types of people as clients. Some do really well with business people. Some really thrive with female retirees. We all have a natural connection to a specific type of person or personality, so it’s important to realize that connection and focus in on your natural and given client category.

Put yourself in their shoes

The easiest way to answer the “would you do business with you?” question is to put yourself in the shoes of the person you are trying to sell to. Ask yourself, do you like cheesy sales closing lines? Do you like to be pressured into making a buying decision? Do you like someone saying that this deal/offer (bonus, rider, cap, etc.?) is going away soon, so the time to act is now? Of course you don’t! No one does.

As I get older, and the decades of my sales experiences move quickly past me, I have come to the realization that it’s very important for the person who actually doesn’t buy from me to have a positive feeling about how I handled the sales process. Yes, the person who chooses not to go with my recommendation is as important in the long run to my brand as the person who becomes a client. I would argue that they are more important in some ways. 

It’s all about “good will” in the end, and the eventual word-of-mouth references that will make your business grow or not grow. For the record, I am not perfect in this area, but this is a daily personal goal of mine to have those people that choose not to do business with me to say that I treated them in a professional manner and with respect. Now that’s a statistic I would love to be able to track!

No scoreboards allowed

In all aspects of life, there is a scoreboard of some sort. Sometimes that personal sales scoreboard makes us forget to personally assess how we would actually like to be perceived. As hard as it is to do, we all need to pay less attention to our personal scoreboards, and focus instead on the permanent stamp that each of us leave on every single interaction we have with the buying public. 

It’s important to let each sales interaction take its own predetermined course, and to adjust your lifestyle accordingly. If you do that, then I’m pretty sure I know what your answer to “would you do business with you?” will be: a resounding yes!

For more from Stan Haithcock, see: