There is a code to sales success. But, you’ll never crack it with the basics in most training programs. When you’ve worked with as many top advisors as I have and have to sell an intangible every day yourself, you learn a few things that you don’t find in training manuals. However, these things are definitely included in the sales approaches of most of the industry’s top sales professionals. It’s why they crack the codes to sales success.
You can too.
It’s not that most training is bad. It’s mostly good. Unfortunately though, it’s not enough. It’s usually just not evolved sufficiently to keep in tune with the reality of life for most prospects and advisors today. A few additional keys can blow the door right open to helping more prospects and developing more business.
In this series of articles, you will get the keys to crack the code to more sales, faster. As you get better at each of them, your sales will increase dramatically. These code cracking ideas are simple and change your perspective on your business so you can naturally and easily do more.
Start with these first three. Any one of them can make a significant change in your results.
Code One: “Knowing Your Real Job”
Fire yourself from the job you think you have. Forget what it says on your business card or website. You may think you are a financial planner, investment advisor, life insurance agent or financial advisor, but you are not. At least, it’s not your first job.
It’s the same with any entrepreneur. The benefit you provide is only valuable to you if you have people to provide it to. If you don’t, it doesn’t matter how good you are at it or how much people need it. You’re out of business.
Rehire yourself as a “Prospector”. All successful advisors and entrepreneurs are prospectors or business developers first.
Giving yourself a prospecting perspective changes the way you view everything you do during a day. When you know you are a prospector, you realize that not every rock is gold. You realize that you have to discard a lot of rock to find a nugget. You get a better feel for the process of finding business so you can do business. It even makes rejection easier to take because that’s part of prospecting… rejecting non-gold. Rejection is harder on pure “advisors” because it is more of a verdict on your work, rather than the process of sifting through non-buyers.
This simple change in perspective changes the way you view your work and your day and will dramatically increase your persistence and performance. Imagine how much easier it can be for new advisors too.
We’ll find different potential recruits when we are looking for prospectors. We’ll better be able to keep them on the road to success too. Be sure to ask yourself this question every day, “What am I doing about prospecting today?”
Code Two: “Choosing Your True Natural Market”:
One of the least helpful concepts of the past quarter century is this idea of “Ideal Client Profile” or “Natural Market”. Advisors have been drawing up lists of target client credentials as if they were designing a dream match for an online dating site.
Alternatively, we make a list of a hundred people we know and then presume that they are a “Natural Market” or even a bunch of them. If it worked, we’d have much better results than we do.
It does not. You only have one Natural Market. It’s that group of people you know well, that know you well and who have already proven that they will take your advice. When you call, they take the call. When you talk, they listen. When they call, you listen. These are the people with whom you have natural influence. Clearly this isn’t just a list of everyone you know. It’s everyone with whom you have “natural influence”. These are the people you want to target if you want to break away from ordinary production. Then, introductions and referrals to people they know will be just that much better too.
Redefine your natural market in terms of the people with whom you have natural influence and you will make contact and business easier. You’ll also drive more sales faster.
Code Three: “Using The Real First Step — Communication to Connect”
There is a critical first step to a successful telephone call, email, meeting, presentation and financial planning process that most advisors don’t know and even fewer use. Not using this step causes much of the frustration and failure in the business. This first step has always been a valuable addition to a sales process but it is more necessary today than ever because of overwhelming marketing “noise” and over committed, busy prospects.
The real first step is to grab attention or “entice engagement”. It’s time to demonstrate real, important value at the very beginning. We have to give prospects a good reason to listen to what we have to say. If we expect people to “help us out” or discover uncertain value after a lengthy discussion with us, we will be disappointed, a lot. People do things for their own reasons and sitting down with an advisor to hear what they do, sounds a lot more like helping the advisor than the prospect. It always has. That has to change.
There is a six word rule. The six word rule is “Unless your first six words demonstrate compelling value to me, I will stop listening or reading”. Check out your existing telephone scripts, emails, approach talks, sales presentations, engagement letters and referral talks. Do they “make” you want to hear more? Or, do they sound and feel self-serving. If they are self-serving, you are talking yourself out of work.
Counselling based sales programs talk about the questions clients have at the beginning of an interview. They never seem to include “Why should I invest my time listening to you?” Isn’t that the real first question in all prospect and client communication? Of course it is. We need an answer and it has to be at the very beginning. You have to add purpose to your communication. Define the benefits to your prospect up front of taking time to talk with you. No benefit. No meeting.
This is similar to answering the dreaded question “What do you do?” (And it’s unspoken partner “Why should it matter to me?”). You have to answer this question so people want to know the rest of your story and how it helps them. Develop a simple but compelling, curiosity-building 5 to 8 word statement that makes prospects want to know more. You want them to ask… “How do you do that?”
For example: “I solve problems that keep entrepreneurs from sleeping”. “I preserve family legacies for people who care”. “I build better retirements for regular people”. “I save people thousands on their mortgage insurance”. “I protect lifestyles for executive families”. “I make life less taxing for middle-income taxpayers”.
These few words give you a mission and eliminate a prospect’s guess work about your value. Entice engagement with your expert identity and its explanation every time you start a new communication with a client or prospect. You will dramatically change your results. More people will listen to you. More will get involved. More will be helped. More will buy.
This is the important start to cracking the codes to more sales success. Give the ideas some time and they will give you more business. Next time, I’ll reveal another code to help you crack into greater success. Until then, re-energize your passion.