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

40. Share your story.

If you want to become a magnet for attention and loyalty, you have to use the most powerful gift you have. That gift is your personal story. It will separate you from all of your competition and it will emotionally connect your audience to you on a much deeper level. Carefully craft your story: What made you who you are, what you stand for. People will gravitate to you in a big way.  

— Shawn Sparks, VP of Marketing, Advisors Excel

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39. Offer Lunch ‘N Learns.

Monthly lunch classes can be a cost-effective way to build relationships with existing clients and create regular, low-pressure opportunities to introduce referrals. It creates an open communication forum and proactive opportunity to connect.

— Carl Smith, Smith Tax Advisory Group

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38. Ask to replace their current LTC plan.

Approach a prospect or client with the following statement: “I want to help you replace your current long-term care plan.”  Unless he or she already owns some form of long-term care insurance, you will likely get some form of the response, “What plan?” You see, everyone does already have a plan to pay for LTC costs. If they don’t have insurance and aren’t on Medicaid, their current plan is to spend their own money until most of it is gone and they can then qualify for Medicaid. The consequence of that type of planning is that then both spouses need to be stressed. In other words, they will worry about loss of independence, burden on family members, loss of lifestyle for the healthy spouse, loss of security, etc. 

Is that a good plan? Tell the prospect or client, “Let’s discuss alternative plans that allow you to keep your independence and not burden family members. Plans that allow you to preserve assets and financial security.” Why do it this way? It’s much easier to replace something that already exists, that is defective, with a better version, than it is to sell something “new.” Replace bad plans with good plans that provide positive consequences for the family. 

— Bill Jones, President of NAIAinc.com, a provider of LTC planning options

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37. Practice active listening and personalize everything.

This is one of the best (and easiest) ways to build a loyal client base and encourage referrals. Studies show personalized digital correspondence such as, “Dear Tom” vs. “Dear Client” can potentially double your conversion rates. Go a step further and use your contact manager to take notes on conversations with clients; whether it’s about their financial goals or what their children are doing, keeping notes will assist you in growing the relationship on a more personal level. Thank you notes and birthday wishes are always appreciated, but seldom sent. Such tailored service shows clients you care about them as people and this personal feeling is what converts clients into loyalists who are far more likely to promote your brand and bring you referrals. Remember, marketing to NEW clients costs 6–8 times as much as marketing to existing clients, so take care of your clients and they’ll take care of you.

— Kim Maynard, President, The Next Investment

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36.  Find your why.

At the core of every successful business is a passionate belief. It’s called the why. Figure out your why and the how becomes simple. Use your why to make goals. Have you ever heard of baseline goals or stretch goals? A baseline goal is something you expect to meet no matter what. The stretch goal is a something you hope to hit. How absolutely stupid! Baseline goals are nothing more than justification of your rationalizations to why you didn’t or too often couldn’t reach your stretch goal. Goals based on the why will lead you much farther and in directions you couldn’t anticipate.

I don’t think we’ve ever hit one of our goals. Although we missed last year’s goal, this year’s was still bigger. Yet already we’ve almost surpassed last year’s numbers. Every new goal is set based on our why. When we focused on our why, we noticed most top producers have multiple offices, have a radio show, TV show or both, and have adequate office support staff. If you want bigger results, then observe and duplicate bigger producers. If they have three offices and you still work from home, then start with a small office. If they’ve got five support staff and you have none, then start by hiring one part-time person. If they’re on the radio and you’re not, then talk about this desire to anyone or everyone who will listen. It’s amazing how things will fall into place. 

Don’t mistake excuses for valid rationalizations. I have, and until you stop, those “rationalizations” will ensure you keep doing what you’ve always done, which means you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.

Lastly, be vocal about where you want to be.  Some call it fate, luck, law of attraction, or divine intervention. I wish I could credit my masterful marketing brain (insert sarcasm) for everything we’ve accomplished, but I can’t. We’ve been very blessed, lucky, or fortunate … whichever term you wish to subscribe.

— Michael  Markey, Co-founder and Owner, Legacy Financial Network

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35. Public adulation: Give it away.

The cheapest and most effective leadership tool is praising your team in public. When someone does something awesome let the entire group know. Praise them in a sales meeting. Praise them at a group event. Praise them at a happy hour. It costs you nothing and the good will generated will make the person receiving the praise work even harder for and with you. In addition, other team members will want to be praised as well — lifting their productivity.

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

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34. Evolve beyond solution selling.

Prospects have no shortage of solutions. They are inundated with advertisements and offers and blog posts and letters. When solutions are around every corner, prospects don’t need you to tell them how to solve their problems. If you are going to stand out, you need to be different. Consider this: New sales research out of the CEB has found that prospects respond better to salespeople that are willing to challenge their thinking and reveal new insights into their businesses. In this new sales environment, a sales approach rooted in education and uncovering new opportunities turns heads faster than an approach built around pitching well-known solutions to well-known problems. What haven’t your prospects considered? What is around the bend that you can illuminate for them? That’s more compelling.

—John Pojeta, Vice President of Business Development, The PT Services Group

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33. Attend association meetings in your target industry.

You need to have a target industry. Focus on an industry where you want to work or have clients. Learn about trends in the industry, key players, key companies, key LinkedIn groups, key anything. Use both the online and offline strategies you’re learning, or that you know, to get the most out of the association meetings you attend. Become a member if you’re serious. Look to help the leaders in the chapter with their objectives and they might help you with yours. Stay in touch. Set up meetings. Get to know them better. Make it fun. 

— Michael Goldberg, Speaker, Author, Consultant, Boxer, president, Knock Out Networking

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32. Learn to control your emotions.

Eagerness to score big sales can cause you to make mistakes. To win, you need to control your emotions, which is, of course, easier said than done. Good sales opportunities get my adrenaline flowing. I see so clearly how I can help, I know I can make a difference, and I want to pounce on my prospect. 

But that doesn’t work. Instead, it creates serious, sales-ending obstacles. Prospects decide they don’t want to play with you anymore. They begin to think you’re only out for yourself. It’s probably not true (although I have to admit that early in my career it was).

If you really want to win at the game of sales, it’s crucial to learn to control your emotions. Sometimes the first step is hardest: recognizing your own actions are causing the problems. Then, you have to figure out new ways to respond and perhaps even learn new skills. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.  

Jill Konrath, Speaker, Author, Sales Accelerator

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31. In the worksite long-term care insurance (LTCI) market, look for an internal sponsor who can offer advocacy and access.

The best employer-sponsored programs have someone within the company who is a strong advocate for coverage. This person may have experienced caregiving in their own family, or may have strong personal reasons for implementing a program (underwriting concessions or discounted premiums). This person can help you drive participation. They can also help with access to employees, which is key. The better the communication plan, the better your results. If the company promotes the program through email, intranet, or seminars/webinars you will see success. If the group limits access to employees or members, it’s going to be an uphill battle.

— Deb Newman, Founder, Newman Long Term Care

 

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