Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a ten-part series identifying the best sales techniques for 2015. To view the rest of the series, click here.

60. Get names and introductions, not referrals. 

After years of being unsuccessful at getting referrals I learned the mistake I was making was not getting names and introductions. The method I learned was a simple script that goes like this, “[Client’s name] you mentioned that your son lives in the area and in fact runs his own auto repair shop in town.

If he walked in here right now would you introduce me? Would you feel comfortable telling him you feel like I did a good job for you today?Is there any reason I could not tell him that? Great, what is his phone number?”

This method also taught me that when I attached a behavior to a request, more often than not I received a name, so I began asking behavior questions like:

Who do you know who has just…?

  • Moved here from out of town?
  • Bought a new home?
  • Started a new job?
  • Established his or her business?
  • Married or become engaged?
  • Had a new baby?
  • Started a youngster in school?
  • Achieved retirement age?
  • Gone on an association committee?

I became an expert at this when I got names first and didn’t interrupt, when I realized that if a person does not buy — I get paid in two ways, a sale or a referral — ask for a referral, and lastly when I made asking for a referral a habit.

As you develop this prospecting habit don’t forget to give feedback to the referrer. People want to know what happened.

— Lloyd Lofton, LUTC, American Eagle Financial Services, LLC

s59. Be empathetic.

In order to make the greatest impact with the people you are talking with, you have to have empathy for them and know who they really are. This can only be done by asking good questions to get to know them as a person, which is much deeper than simply having a “MONEY CONVERSATION.” Start your presentation off with these questions and save your “money and goals” questions for last. Watch the difference.

— Shawn Sparks, VP of Marketing, Advisors Excel

k58. Handling the “I need to think about it” objection to long-term care insurance (LTCI).

Counter this by selling with a primary and secondary objective strategy. The first objective should be, “Let’s solve your care problem.” Most families are unprepared when someone needs help and they scramble to figure out a care plan. Our primary objective should be showing this situation is coming in the future, and how an LTCI plan can help them avoid putting family members in a tough position. Our second objective should then be to address the financial aspects of a robust plan that takes into account rising costs and discuss how different riders would affect their financial plan and care expectations. So, first create a primary objective quote that is affordable. Then, address the financial shortfalls in the primary quote and show the client how they may be able to afford extra riders that enhance the original plan.

— Paul Daugs, multi-life LTCI specialist, Newman Long Term Care

k57. Connect words and deeds for optimal success.

Most financial advisors claim to value ethical business practices. But some allow their actions to violate their stated principles. To achieve optimal success, always link your actions to your values with the following techniques:

  • Provide full and accurate disclosure throughout the sales process.
  • Carefully identify prospect needs, concerns, and risk tolerance.
  • Assure that your sales tools are accurate, truthful, and fully approved.
  • Recommend suitable products, for the right reasons.
  • Minimize conflicts of interest, even if you are held only to a suitability standard.
  • Use friendly persuasion instead of high-pressure closing techniques.

— Steve McCarty, National Ethics Association

k56. Learn to ‘prospect up’.

Identify clients that earn the income you desire and prospect up to that market. Do not confuse someone being wealthy or successful with being a good planner. In fact, they are sometimes the worst planners because they’re so focused on their craft that they neglect even the most basic planning needs. Be a resource to them as the coverage you provide them protects their assets and legacy. For example, ask your clients who they look up to for their financial accomplishments. An associate at an investment bank may look up to his manager, that manager may look up to the VP and then the VP would look up to the owner. If you’ve done a good job, your client will gladly introduce you to the people they hold in high regard. Continue asking this question until you prospect up to your ideal clients.

— Eszylfie Taylor, Taylor Insurance and Financial Services

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55. Make your sponsorship a partnership, not just an advertising outlet.

There are so many times event organizers will ask companies to buy a “turn key” sponsorship. You know, the sponsorships that are a booth, a banner, a logo in a program and the opportunity to collect names and numbers through a “register to win” raffle! BORING!

How many times have you heard that people want to do business with people they feel a connection to or have a common interest? The next time you want to buy a sponsorship, work with the organizer to figure out how you can incorporate your brand into the fabric of the event. Have the employees of the event wear your branded shirts. If there is a speaking opportunity, find a way to speak on a topic that would be relevant to the audience but still include your brand’s messaging into the theme. Be creative on site that allows you and your team the opportunity to personally meet and greet the guests of the event, and create a reason to be memorable.

— Aimee Spencer, M&O Marketing

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54. Download the LinkedIn Connected app.

This is a simple tool to stay on top of activity in your network such as job changes, promotions, birthdays, and other important life events. With just a swipe of your finger you can easily like, comment or send a private message to connections. 

— Amy McIlwain, Moore Communications Group

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53. Invest in the basics

Bypassing the backbone for a solid brand — a professional logo, defined messaging and essential support materials — can make your investments in lead generation activities much less effective. It’s like building your dream home on sand — you might get some use from it for a while, but it’s not going to last.

Alana Kohl, AdvisorPR

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52. Don’t assume one spouse has absolute decision making-authority.

If what you are selling will impact others, it is important to get buy-in from the significant other, spouse or other family members. Not only may you get a quicker “yes” and have the opportunity to learn more about your client and his or her needs, but you will also earn points and respect if you at least make the offer to engage their family. Look at the spouse, partner or significant other as a key Center of Influence. Don’t ignore them and you may get YES faster than you thought!

— John Richard Pierce, Jr., author of ‘Sell More and Sleep at Night’

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51. Hire a Med Sup agent. 

Healthcare planning is an important part of a retiree’s annual decision making. By hiring an agent and offering this service, you have added a new stream of revenue to your practice as well as added a valuable service for existing financial clients. This can also be a great way to introduce a junior advisor to your team to easily provide them with new prospects and activity.

— Greg Hammer, Hammer Financial Group

 

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a ten-part series identifying the best sales techniques for 2015. To view the rest of the series, click here.