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.

The Foundation of a Financial Services Career

AA018406The foundation of your financial services career includes your attitude, enthusiasm and goals. You see, you can have all the product knowledge in the world and excellent people skills, but if your attitude is sour and you’re not enthusiastic about what you’re doing and where you’re going, you might as well not bother getting out of bed in the morning. Your lack of enthusiasm will show. Worse, it’s contagious. If you’re not upbeat and excited about what you do for people, they won’t be either. If you don’t engage their emotions, they won’t do business with you. [Read more…]

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

How to Eliminate “It costs too much” When Selling Financial Services

After you’ve met new potential  clients and established rapport with them is the time to qualify them not only as to their needs, but as to their expectations regarding making a financial commitment to their futures. When you establish early on what investment range they would be comfortable with, you can eliminate the stall that move untrained financial services advisers and representatives encounter — “It costs too much.” [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).

The Advantages of a Career in Financial Services

Advantage #1 – Nearly everyone is a potential client. Unless you plan to specialize, such as working only with the affluent who have $10 million or more in net worth or some other niche, your pool of potential clients expands to nearly every adult on the planet. Think about it. Who doesn’t need knowledge and sound advice on keeping and growing their money? It doesn’t matter if their discretionary funds are only $50 or as much as $50,000 a month, everyone has a need for what you offer. Millions of people are seeking to earn, save, invest, and increase their fortunes. They need life insurance, debt consolidation services, long term care, annuities, 401K plans, full blown investment programs and other financial services. Most will have a continuing need for those services and so will their families as the children grow and are told “just call Bob/Sally. They’ve taken good care of us for a long time. They’ll treat you right.” Your legacy will grow with continual referrals from satisfied clients. [Read more…]