As usual, I have more to say than I have space to say it. I have, therefore, put some additional resources for you here: www.billgoodmarketing.com/goodwaytosell. I have posted a webinar on that page as well as providing links to other resources to help you improve your sales process. You will for sure want to visit my site and catch the webinar.
Mistake No. 1
No Sales Process
Sales, by definition, is a step-by-step process. It has these objectives: increased desire to own the benefits of a product or service; and decreased fear.
I had a conversation earlier this year in which I ask an advisor, “What is your sales process?”
He replied, “I first try a pitch and if that doesn’t work, I profile.”
This poor boy does not have a process. Somewhere along the line, someone threw him overboard and didn’t even scream, “Swim!”
With that said, here is a process. There are certainly other processes. If you don’t like this one, find another one. But get a workable process.
Establish communication and rapport.
Profile the person.
Profile the investor.
Gather the investment data.
Prepare a SIMPLE proposal.
Educate the client in the concepts necessary to decide on the changes they need to make.
I could build a two-day course around these 11 steps. At least now you have the steps.
Profile Investor First
This is such an awful mistake. I cannot believe anyone makes it. But they do. Indeed, it’s institutionalized at many firms.
I am looking right now at a nine-page questionnaire. The first two questions are:
Tell me about your children, specifically any dependents you have, or any major upcoming changes.
Please list relatives or friends who may give financial, guardian or executor assistance.
From this beginning, the profile plunges into a listing of retirement assets, non-retirement assets, balance sheet items, and liabilities. By the time we get to page 5, the poor slob prospects are asked to prioritize a list of goals. On page 7, they get an opportunity to list their other advisors.
Nowhere does this questionnaire suggest the advisor should ask:
Why are you here today?
How can I help you?
Tell me about your family.
Tell me about your grandchildren.
What are you trying to accomplish?
Is there any urgent situation going on in your life I might help you with?
Imagine you just walked into a doctor’s office. The doctor walks in and says, “Take off all your clothes and sit on the table.” The doctor then begins an examination — tapping, squeezing, listening — and nowhere does he or she ask, “Why are you here?”
Diving into a financial examination without first finding out what the person wants to accomplish is the sales equivalent of “Take off all your clothes and sit on that cold metal table.”
In the sales process I just outlined for you, it says, “Profile the person.” And then “Profile the investor.” You can turn most of the data gathering over to your assistant. As a matter of fact, it can be done before the first appointment. Yes, I know you have to do risk profiles and other such things. But these and other required tasks pale in comparison to finding out about the person and the investor. The customer is first a person and second an investor.
Emotion is necessary for change. Without strong feeling, nothing changes.
In your discovery process, you are not trying to create emotion. You just want to find it.
Emotion is found first by profiling the person, not the investor. That creates the bond. It shows you care about the person.
To find it, you must profile deeply.
I know only one way to find the set of questions that discover emotion. (1) Make up a long list of personal questions. (2) Make up a long list of probing investment questions. (3) After every appointment, revise your profiles.
Remember: testing, testing, testing.
When I started selling, I did not have a teacher. I had a cassette tape player and an album of tapes by the great sales trainer, J. Douglas Edwards. I remember my very first presentation selling my own seminar services. Somehow I had enough sense to write down a list of questions. If memory serves, there were about 45 questions. I had them printed on big sheets of legal paper. I left room after each question to write notes.
That first presentation took hours. It was awful. But somehow, I closed the sale. Perhaps I just wore my prospect out.
Immediately after the presentation, I went to a coffee shop. I took out my questionnaire and went through it line by line. Some questions just did not work. Others were in the wrong sequence. Others needed to be reworded.
I made it better.
And my next presentation was a little bit better. But again, I immediately went to the coffee shop and made my notes while everything was fresh.
My questionnaire got a little bit shorter.
In a few months, I whittled it down from about 45 questions to maybe 12 or 13.
Those questions bit. Somehow I knew enough to know that it wasn’t just the data I was seeking, it was the emotion.
Yes, I had some “data only” questions. But those were normally the first questions I asked. Their only purpose was to establish a question-asking pattern.
Here are some of the questions I asked in selling prospecting seminars to branch managers. Pay attention because there is a lesson here.
Me: How many brokers do you have with less than two years in the industry?