Advisors are all in the same boat. Every day when they wake up, they know they need to get in front of clients and close deals. Well, when you think about it, that is not a good formula for a good night’s sleep.
John Pierce, an industry insider for more than 20 years, realized the problem facing advisors and wrote a book: Sell More and Sleep at Night – Developing Relationships with Emotional Intelligence to Increase Sales. On the following pages are five topics, taken from John Pierce’s book, to help 2015 become a transformational growth year — adding new clients and expanding current relationships.
1. Building Relationships
Family—Learn about a prospect’s family and their family history. Family is usually closest to the heart, so it is a good investment of your time. Birthdays, anniversaries, and key dates are important to know and to keep track of. It may take time to learn about the family part from a prospect, but it usually ends up being a very meaningful part of your relationship. Over time it has been my experience that as you share things about yourself, people will share things about themselves.
Organization—Learn about their history at their current organization as well as other firms where they worked. This is also the time to see where they went to school and what their focus has been since graduating. I have found that these probes are the easiest part of the conversation to have. You may want to start with this area because it can lead to discussing the other aspects of the conversation. A best practice is also viewing a person’s professional LinkedIn profile before a meeting to write out some open probes.
Recreation—Learn what people do for fun. Finding out what is important to them outside of work is usually more important than what you learn about their current work. This is an opportunity to see what organizations they belong to and what charitable boards and groups they have a passion for. Recreation can be an easy conversation starter when you have clients on the phone or face to face. You connect at a more personal, not professional, level.
Dreams—Learn about someone’s long-term dreams and aspirations. Dreams can be the most intense part of your conversations; these tend to be very personal and intrinsic to the client or prospect.
Because we can be so passionate about what we do, we forget a Cardinal Rule: The sweetest sound to prospects’ ears is the sound of their own voices. When you learn to listen, you learn more than you ever imagined because your prospects start telling you what’s important to them, their families, their businesses, or their futures. I know you want to tell your personal story, and how you can help, but this can wait if your prospects are doing all the speaking. If prospects are telling you their stories, soak it in, listen and learn.
The concept of listening is simple. You need to force yourself to listen more — don’t let your next response cloud what your client or prospect is saying in the moment.
Here is a new personal rule: Listen 70 percent of the time, speak 30 percent of the time. It is true that the sweetest sound to prospects’ ears is their own voices. Start listening 70 percent of the time and see your productivity increase.
3. Common Sense Activities
Because we can get so busy, we sometimes forget the basics. Here are three simple things to do to jumpstart your productivity and have a better functioning Team:
Use your CRM. As you are speaking with a client or prospect, insure that your CRM is open and you memorialize anything new you learned. You are too busy to remember what you had for lunch yesterday, let alone recall a conversation from six months ago. Document your learned knowledge — you will be more productive.
Write Thank You Notes. The art of a hand-written thank you note has been forgotten. Invest in personal note cards and real stamps – not metered mail. Write genuine thank you notes after every face-to-face meeting. You write them, don’t delegate them away. When your client or prospect receives a thoughtful note, you are remembered.
Fire Them. Spend time with your team and learn which clients are time drags, are not respectful to team members or those that you just don’t like. If you don’t like or trust some clients, you should give them away. By empowering your team to provide input, you may learn about people that are problems that you were not aware of because you don’t deal with them daily.
4. Negative Self Talk – STOP IT!
Be aware of the concept of negative self-talk. These are the thoughts that circulate in your brain at times and can get you off track and away from what you want to accomplish. I am going to explain two different concepts to eliminate this negativity.
Become Aware: Reflect on past times when things didn’t go as well as you wanted. Was there any negative self-talk involved? If you can think of examples, write them down and reflect on what you could have done differently. In your day-to-day activities attempt to become self-aware when negativity creeps into your brain.
Act and compartmentalize: Act and dissipate that negativity the second you are aware of it. Negative thoughts can affect what you say, your body language or how you treat your team. By being self-aware, a critical component of emotional intelligence, you can eliminate mistakes before they happen.
5. Time to Think
I need you to focus on contemplation. Too often we are so stressed about the “today” of our lives we don’t contemplate the “tomorrow.” To start, you need to bank “think time” at least once a week. Think in private and in a quiet space. It is time for you to begin to write down your thoughts.
How much think time should you have? I really don’t have a good answer for you. It can be different for each person. A good start would be to block 30 minutes once a week away from the chaos of your daily life. Nothing may happen initially, and that’s okay. You need to relax, decompress, and drop all the to-dos in your brain to make your think time valuable. One key is being consistent with your think time. You can’t do this once a month and hope it will work. Hope is not a strategy of any value to you.
Right now I can hear a lot of you saying, “I can’t commit to 30 minutes per week.” Besides pointing out that “can’t” means “won’t,” I do empathize with you. Start with 15 minutes once a week. The key is to be consistent and then expand the time each week. By improving ourselves, we will improve our work results.
Great ideas can come in the blink of an eye. Each of us has had great ideas that we didn’t write down, and the next morning we have a tinge of regret that we had a great idea but lost it. Be prepared for your next great idea. Keep a pen and a pad of paper on your nightstand, in your purse, or in your suit jacket; jot down what strikes you as interesting. Commit to think time.