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Helping vs. Selling

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In my over 29 years of being in my business, the biggest lesson I have learned is the I importance of dealing with the retirement emotion by the concept of helping vs. selling.

When my career began in 1991, it was only about selling, showing product and getting the application signed regardless if it fit the prospect and their family or not. Just make the sale. I was taught these bad habits and they were tough to break because we were not fact-finding or trying to do what is best for the client.

(Related: Back to the Future of Life Insurance)

Fast forward to my current business, and I could not even imagine product selling without knowing that it fits the need. My process now is mandatory that I begin to attempt to create a bond of trust. I am asking questions, and they feel that I am trying to help them solve their objective and what they want to accomplish, rather than to try and sell them a product.

Developing that type of connection and bond can be done over the phone even before meeting in person, and within a short period of time if the advisor is trying to help rather than sell. Creating a bond of trust is vital, or they will never go forward with the process.

Another way of helping the client is to teach them how we can help them control their emotions with some of their retirement savings and to be able to be satisfied with their decisions. When I ask the question, “How did your investments do during 2000-20002 and 2008,” most say that they really experienced heavy losses, I then relate that experience to their emotional thoughts at that time.

Many responses were: “We lost so much money that we were devastated, and got sick to our stomachs,” or “we lost so much money that we pulled out of the market and have never gone back in since, even though we know that we make very little or nothing on our investments.”

Then I ask them, “How would you have felt if you would have had a contractual guarantee of a chance of earning a share of the market gains, and never a dollar lost from market declines or crashes.”

Would your emotions have been different back then?

When an advisor has a deep feeling and commitment for helping people as their main priority, and not worrying about how much money they will make, the relationship will change to helping, not selling. My experience is this change in attitude will open the flood gates with sales and referrals.

Often, I am able to help people and receive no financial reward, but it is still part of my overall attitude toward selling, helping first. Some advisors would consider it a waste of time when they may make more money with a sale from someone else. For me it is part of my attitude towards this business.

Wow! Helping vs. Selling.

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James Grazioli James R. Grazioli is the president of Comprehensive Financial Group Inc. in Palm City, Florida.