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…]

Financial Services – The First Impression

The first impression you make on potential clients will either begin the process of building their trust in you or dig a hole from which you’ll have to recover before a foundation of trust can be established. It’s such a critical, yet often overlooked aspect of sales training. Everything you do or say when you’re within visual or auditory reach of potential clients counts. Orchestrate every move and word to build trust.

Your potential client starts sizing you up the first second he or she sets eyes on you. If you’re in a large lobby and the walk across it takes some time, the potential client may have formed a firm impression before you even get to say “hello” or offer a handshake. If you’re dressed inappropriately, are unkempt, shuffle or shamble across the room, have poor posture, appear intimidated or over-confident, and so on, your opportunity to win the day may be over before it even begins.

You have seven to ten seconds to make a good impression.

Offer a compliment on an article of clothing, a photograph on a wall or desk, a piece of art in the office – anything. Segue into a minute or so of pleasant conversation, which relaxes your potential client, starts the process whereby she begins to like you, and sets the stage for building rapport and trust.

If you’re a bit nervous at first meetings, don’t be alarmed. It’s natural to feel a few “butterflies” in your stomach. Even the top performers get that sometimes. I don’t mind a small onset of “nerves.” It’s nature’s way of keeping us on our toes. If you ever lose that slight uneasiness you’re probably getting complacent and that means you’re about to make a lot of mistakes and will probably lose a lot of sales. If you’re nervous before an original contact, relax. That’s S.O.P. (Standard Operating Procedure).

I still get butterflies before going on stage and I’ve presented nearly 5,000 seminars in my training career. The butterflies are there because I truly care to give the best performance I can with each and every audience.

If you stop having butterflies, take note of your attitude. Has it changed? If you get to where you don’t truly and sincerely care for the people you serve, you will have lost your edge in this business and it will show. There’s another side to the butterflies as well. If you continually get so knotted up that you feel as though you’ll throw up on your potential client’s expensive carpet, perhaps it’s time to rethink whether or not you’re in the right business. You may need to sit down with your manager, partner, or suppliers and go over your product knowledge and/or review the selling skills training you’ve had thus far before meeting with many more clients.

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.

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.

  1. MEMORY

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.

2. A SECOND LANGUAGE

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