3 Ways to Put Potential Clients at Ease

Sales presentation

Positive business people gathered to discuss some innovative ideas

To grow a successful business, it’s important to learn to put potential clients at ease. I’ve seen some salespeople in financial services so intent on controlling the sales process that they act like demanding choreographers training young dancers for a Broadway show. “Five-Six-Seven-Eight! Dance-Dance-Dance!!!” Dancers, military recruits, and members of the high school marching band may respond to that kind of direction. Prospective clients will respond by finding another salesperson. Yes, the salesperson has to control the process, but you don’t and can’t do that by being pushy or demeaning. You do just the opposite and put your prospects at ease and doing everything you can to make the process an efficient and pleasant one.

The nature of prospecting dictates that there will always be some element of tension in every contact. As a champion sales person, your success is mentally-accomplished before you even begin. Your prospects haven’t accomplished anything other than using all their fears and worries to build a wall of sales resistance.

“What if we lose all our money?”

“What if that salesperson takes all our money?”

“What will we do if we lose all our money?” [Read more…]

2 Key Skills for Selling Financial Services

Many key skills are necessary to be successful in selling financial services. Let’s go over just two that can make or break your career.


Handshake w Coat SleevesHandshake w Coat Sleeves35149Names, places, dates, facts and figures are important. So are the attitudes and beliefs of our prospects, their interests, likes and dislikes, wants, needs, goals, hobbies, the names of their kids and grandkids and so on. The better your “memory bank,” the better your own bank account will be.

Of course, no one can remember everything, but everyone can improve his or her memory. Read books on the subject. Buy or rent audios and DVDs. Train yourself daily by making a game of memorization. Make an effort to remember as much as you can about the events that occur in your everyday life. The payoff will astound you.

Two ways to help remember someone’s name are

(1) repeat the name at least four times during your first encounter and

(2) associate that name with something so that you can “jumpstart” your memory quickly the next time you meet.

“Glad to meet you, Miss Salesperson. My name is Victoria Bell.”

“I’m glad to meet you, too, Miss Bell. (Thinking Liberty Bell…Liberty Bell…Liberty Bell).

There’s no need to go into the “why” of this technique. Just know that it works, so use it and you’ll never lose a name again.


We in the United States are a nation of immigrants and sons and daughters of immigrants. You’ll find pockets of different people in different neighborhoods throughout the country. Diversity is one of the factors that makes our culture so rich. This great diversity is evident in other countries as well.

Understanding the second or third language predominant in your market will help you understand and better serve the financial needs of those potential clients. And when word gets out among their language peers that you are fluent and understand their culture, your referral base will grow exponentially.

Remember: How you say something can be as important as what you say. The manner in which you use the gift of your voice will often determine the success or failure of your efforts to serve your clients. It’s something people notice on their initial contact with you. This can be especially critical in a culturally diverse community. Some people speak informally while others will be so formal as to be stiff. Some speak quickly and in short bursts while others may actually drone on using long sentences and exaggerated mannerism. You must learn to match your vocal inflection to theirs. It is imperative that you do this immediately so they will feel at ease with you and come to like you and trust you quickly.

After all, building trust is essential to selling.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Ways to Get Testimonials – Financial Services

One of the best ways to grow your business is referrals. In this post, we’ll cover some ways to get testimonials that work almost as well as referrals themselves.

Real estate agent with couple

Top professionals in nearly every field of selling understand the value of a good client. Each client’s business not only adds to your personal bottom line, but it can lead to even more business through referrals. However, financial services pros must learn how to get more business because of an existing client–even from a non-referred lead. How do they do this? By getting permission to use the client’s name.

There are several ways of using a client’s name. You can simply name-drop to a prospective new client. “Over 300 families in the area rely on us to help them with their financial planning.” Or, “Is so-and-so with the same last name related to you? I was just curious because he’s used our services as well.” Be aware, you can only drop names of actual clients. It’s wise to get names that are authorized for use from higher ups in your company. They will have received permission and will know that this person or company is happy with your service. Remember the privacy issues related to the industry and only use this strategy with proper permission from the client…and only mention the name, nothing about the product or money amounts.

Many representatives use our “Higher Authority Close” and have their prominent person actually speak with a prospective client for you. To do this, you would need to have a satisfied client agree to take or make a call on your behalf. If they’re taking a call during a meeting you have scheduled with a potential new client, be sure to also schedule with the higher authority. This may be a little time consuming for both you and the existing client. However, it’s highly effective when used with the proper client and product.

Be considerate of higher authorities and don’t ask them to do this for every potential new client—just the key or large sales. If Jim Johnson is a well-known local sports figure and you’re meeting with Sam Smith, who’s just been acquired by the local team, just having the two of them make a professional connection could prove beneficial for each of them. You, the person who brought them together, then achieves a double win! You score both accounts AND the potential for reciprocal or appreciative efforts on their part.

The simplest method for using a satisfied client’s name is to have him or her write you a letter or email about how happy he or she is. Once you’ve gotten him or her happily involved in your program, you have earned the right to ask for a testimonial letter. All you have to do is say these words: “Mr. or Ms. Client, I’m so pleased that you are enjoying the benefits of our program. And, I so appreciate the opportunity I have of personally servicing your account.” (By the way, if they aren’t perfectly satisfied with both the product and your level of service, don’t waste your time on this.) “Since you’re so happy with it, you wouldn’t mind dashing off a short letter about our experience together that I might show to another prospective client, would you?”

If your clients show any hesitation, or even if they agree but look as though it’s just one more thing to add to their to-do list, say this: “In fact, to save you time, I would be happy to write up something brief about our experience together that you could simply approve.”

You might be wondering why you would do this. Well, first of all, you’ll be sure it gets done in a timely manner. The client may agree to do it, then put it at the bottom of his or her never-ending list of things to do. Secondly, you’ll write a much better note than he or she will. Don’t laugh at this. You’d be surprised to learn how many people don’t mind giving endorsements or testimonials, but just don’t want to do the work involved. And, why not write it yourself? I recommend that you draft half a dozen possibilities of words that would work to your advantage. Then, be ready with something like this:

“Dear Jim,

The time we shared during the evaluation of our financial situation was truly a pleasure. I so appreciated the detailed information you provided including how we might address some of our needs that may change in the future. You hit the nail on the head with handling our concerns in your presentation and we’re so happy we went ahead with the plan you recommended. It is perfect for us. We look forward to working with you on a continuing basis for many years to come.”

                                                                      John and Mary Smith

See how nice that is? And if you’ve done your job properly, they will be happy to approve it for your usage with other prospective clients. It’s painless for them and priceless for you.

Work on the ways clients can do the bragging for you and you’ll soon find yourself closing not only more sales, but closing sales more easily.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.  My upcoming Sales Academy and my online courses have been approved by the CFP Board and the Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) for continuing education credits.

Lear more strategies specific to financial services here >>http://www.tomhopkins.com/p/4145.html

Understanding Your Potential Client’s Fear When Selling Financial Services

     Think for a moment about what the greatest enemy is to the process of helping people come to a decision that’s truly good for them. What is it that jumps in and brings presentations that were previously sailing smoothly along to a screeching halt? You may think it’s the financial aspects of your offering. Perhaps you think it’s the prospective client’s inability to make a decision.

     Well, if you think any of those things, you are right. But, with selling being what it is — a bottom line business — let’s dig deeper and find the bottom line of what lies between you and your ‘future client’ coming to an agreement.

     If you look at all the enemies to the sale that you and your associates can come up with, you’ll find they have a common denominator. That common denominator is a thing called FEAR. Fear is the greatest enemy you’ll ever encounter as a financial services professional. This includes your fear, the potential client’s fear, market and trend fears and so on. [Read more…]

Financial Services Guidelines for Asking Questions

Three Guidelines for Asking Questions

Because asking good questions is such an integral part of good selling I’ve given the matter a lot of study and thought over the years. I’ve boiled down all that knowledge into three basic guidelines.

Guideline #1. Establish a bond before you attempt to control the process with questions. Establishing rapport is essential because people want to do business with people they like and trust. They’ll never get to the trust issue if they don’t like you. There’s no need (or reason) to attempt to become “best buddies” on the spot, but it is important that your prospect comes to like you very early in the process. This is one of the reasons for the brief chit chat that takes place before the selling begins. [Read more…]

The Financial Services Presentation

You truly are a wondrous person with much to offer. You’re a champion, after all. Now all you have to do is let your potential clients discover that for themselves. And how do people learn? They’re taught, that’s how. Part of your task as a professional salesperson is to act as an instructor and a lot of this instructing takes place in the presentation phase of selling.

The presentation phase for financial services addresses four basic, yet critical subjects. These are:

  • Who we are
  • What we’ve done
  • What we’ll do for you
  • The amount of investment required to accomplish your financial goals

If you are to master the art of selling financial services, you must teach these core “lessons” within your presentation and you must teach them thoroughly. Until your prospective clients fully understand the information in these areas, they will give you verbal and visual cues you need to pay attention to in order to proceed with the sales process. Just as any teacher in any classroom, you must educate so that your students can formulate questions which then allow you to provide even more education – specifically how your offering perfectly matches their specific financial needs.

People Need Three Things from a Presentation

As any good teacher knows, not everything someone needs or thinks he or she needs is necessarily good for them. When it comes to presentations, all legitimate prospective clients have three basic needs and since these are logical and also help you build toward the close, it’s important that you cover these essential bases.

  1. People need to feel that they are being educated. As a professional this is one of your major goals. It is also important to make sure that these people know that they are being educated. Information and education are effective tools and like any tool they can be abused. A manipulator will withhold or use information to gain an advantage over a prospective client. A champion uses the same tools to discover and meet real needs and more directly involve the potential client in the process.
  2. People need to be motivated. Even if you’re offering the most exciting and perfect solution, if you don’t transmit your own excitement to them, they won’t be motivated to own. If you think back, I’m sure you’ll agree that your best teachers were the ones who were able to get you excited about the subject at hand. That can be a real challenge for you because the people you are serving are probably on an emotional rollercoaster ride. One minute they’re totally happy and excited and the next they’re scared and depressed. As their salesperson (teacher) it is your job to keep their spirits up and motivate them to (1) continue with the sales process and (2) see the wisdom of getting involved with your offering.
  3. People need to have fun. Again, which teachers made the biggest impact on your education? Those who made learning an exciting and fun adventure top my personal list. I realize that selling financial services is a serious matter and it should be given all due respect. But your clients and potential clients need to enjoy the process. It’s perfectly okay to joke around during a presentation, provided it’s appropriate and you keep things under control. Anything you can do to reduce the tension helps you make your points and serve their needs.

Learn more>>

My upcoming Sales Academy and my online courses have been approved by the CFP Board and the Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) for continuing education credits.

This information is copyrighted by Tom Hopkins International, Inc. for reprint permission, contact Judy Slack (judys@tomhopkins.com).