Editor’s Note: This is the sixth in a ten-part series identifying the best sales techniques for 2016. To view the rest of the series, click here.
50. Don’t be intimidated by other professional relationships.
“Why don’t prospects make decisions? In preparing for a recent training seminar, I surveyed and interviewed successful advisors in the field. Among the reasons cited in these conversations: the prospect works with another financial professional.
It may be a family member. Although they might not be very attentive, they aren’t that bad. Doing business with someone else might involve a confrontation with their current person. Even if it isn’t an issue, they have one dentist, one accountant and one auto mechanic. Why do they need more than one financial advisor?
The book ‘The Millionaire’s Advisor‘ by Russ Alan Prince and James Van Bortel makes the point that the wealthy work with 3-plus financial advisors on average. When interfacing with these affluent prospects, don’t quote statistics. Mention that you expected they worked with someone already. ‘Successful people usually have multiple financial advisors. You’re obviously successful. How many do you have?’ People identify with the word ‘successful’.”
— Bryce Sanders, president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc.
49. Educate – don’t pitch.
“Our entire approach is one of industry education — it’s been working really well because there is so much information and consumers are often misinformed about many things when it comes to planning and investment advice. I believe if you give people information and options, and remain as objective as possible, there is a self-selection process that occurs.
You ultimately end up with the right clients and they end up with the right advisors and everyone wins. Even when they don’t pick you or your firm — they know more and can do better for themselves.”
— Kim Brown, president, JNBA Financial Advisors Inc., Minneapolis, Minn.
48. Look forleads in unusual place.
Media items “of every nature, such as marriage licenses, births, new corporations, etc. all yield information of value in locating those who need protection. But the importance of such leads is minimized by the fact that nearly every agent reads the papers, and a prospect so found may be ‘pestered by agents’ and hard to do business with.”
Less public sources, such as club directories, private school directories, and companies’ own in-house newsletters are often better sources of leads.
— Walter Webb, of the Los Angeles agency of Pacific Mutual Life, in the July 15, 1915, issue of The Western Underwriter (National Underwriter)
47. Drop the financial speak.
“Oftentimes, the standard financial terminology found on advisor websites and brochures is more likely to alienate potential clients than attract them. So while you may think that ‘financial speak’ will help you come across as knowledgeable, it’s important to note that it actually puts you at risk of sounding stiff and unapproachable.
The simple truth is that consumers don’t want to feel stupid. When it comes time to discuss their retirement and wealth management, they want to do it in layman’s terms to avoid confusion or potential missteps.
With that said, you should focus on bringing warmth to the conversation through more personal engagements. This will help you to make an emotional connection, build trust and differentiate yourself from everyone else.
‘Think about this truth: Our customers don’t care about our products or services; they care about themselves. If we buy into this, then we must also accept that the majority of the information we produce for marketing purposes cannot be about ourselves,’ explains Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute. ‘Our content must be based on fulfilling our customers’ needs and interests, so that they come to build a trusted and emotional connection with our brands.’”
— Julie Edge, co-founder and chief storyteller of Creelio
46. Write a referral-selling strategy.
“The business case for referrals is loud and clear. Decision-makers will always meet with salespeople who’ve been referred by people they know and trust. If your competition gets to the decision-maker first, you might be out of the game. But when you get referrals, you win.
Yet, while every sales professional understands the unrivaled value of referral leads, 95 percent of companies do not have a written referral-selling strategy, written weekly referral goals, referral-selling skills, accountability for results, or a system to track and measure.
It’s time to make referrals the way you sell. Stop the time-wasting, irrelevant, unproductive, frustrating prospecting activities you think you should be doing. Stop sorting leads into cold, warm, and hot. There’s only one kind of lead that should be in your pipeline. Only one kind of lead that counts. Only one kind of lead that management cares about. Only one kind of lead you should care about.
That’s hot leads — the kind you source by getting referrals.”
— Joanne S. Black, professional speaker, author of “No More Cold Calling”
45. Make your ads (and websites) work for a living.
“Stop confusing attractive advertising with effective advertising. You’re in a marketplace – not an art gallery. And good looking advertisements, like good looking people, aren’t always the hardest workers.”
— Thomas Maher, marketing columnist, in the March 6, 1982, issue of National Underwriter Life & Health
44. Obsess about clients.
“We’re not competitor obsessed, we’re customer obsessed. We start with the customer and we work backwards.”
— Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, owner of The Washington Post and tech investor
43. Underwrite an event in your community.
“Event sponsorship is an excellent way to generate goodwill and visibility for your firm. You can underwrite an existing event or you can begin your own. When you are deciding on an event, choose one with appeal to the members of your target market.
Events to consider include a lecture series, a run, a neighborhood festival, a bike race, golf tournament, a charitable or arts event, among many others.”
— Mary Reed, owner of Mary Reed Public Relations, a firm that caters to, among other segments, personal finance professionals and wealth managers
42. Before you go into sales, make sure that you have, and can continue to have, a good attitude.
“It is very difficult for a sales [rep] who is not getting good results to have a correct mental attitude, and it is next to impossible to get good results without a correct mental attitude.”
— Frank Wesley, an agency manager with the Standard Life of Pittsburgh, in the Sept. 16, 1916, issue of The Western Underwriter (National Underwriter)
41. Write for your customer.
“Start your copy with something that engages the prospect; what most people are interested in is themselves. If an insurance agency wanted to introduce its new employee health-benefit program for small-business owners, it might be tempted to state the obvious, using the phrase, ‘Introducing our Guarda-Health Employee Benefit Plan.’
The agency would get better results if it wrote something that directly interests the prospect, such as, ‘Are the skyrocketing costs of your insurance premiums threatening to put your company out of business?’ That’s something business owners who provide benefits to their employees can relate to.”
— Bob Bly, author, copywriter, Internet marketing specialist
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