Don’t get me wrong, I love great sales ideas and techniques. But they may encourage advisors to view sales as something you do to prospects, not with them, in order to spark fear, unblock objections, or fire up a buying impulse. Launching sales techniques or salvos at prospects leaves them feeling … well, sold. And today’s consumers, especially millenials, hate that feeling.
In their report “Bridging the Trust Divide: The Financial Advisor-Client Relationship,” State Street Global Advisors and The Wharton School of Business analyze the evolution of sales from a product-driven transaction to one based on service. In this new environment, they say, advisors must learn how to conduct “the sales-free sale.” This approach rests more on personal counseling and education than on hard-edged persuasion.
In this spirit, I believe the best sales ideas focus on trust building. Such techniques create relationships, not transactions, which is ultimately more profitable for both advisor and client. Plus, they create a safe environment within which sensitive personal issues can be discussed, an essential element of retirement planning. Finally, trust-driven sales are more compliant, persistent and acceptable to younger buyers, who, after all, represent our industry’s future.
So what are my best trust-building ideas? Here are five that have met time’s test:
Make sure everything you say in person, on your website and in your sales literature is 100 percent credible. This requires never lying, always supporting your statements with your experience or third-party evidence, and refraining from making dubious or exaggerated sales claims. Bottom line: Credibility isn’t just about technical expertise. It’s about how you convey that expertise through words, actions and appearances. Make sure every apsect of your business conveys total believability and mastery.