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…]

Who are you helping? Them? Or yourself?

Before each client contact, ask yourself this: Who are you helping? Them? Or yourself? This means giving yourself a quick attitude check. Are you concerned about your production this month? Or, are you more concerned with whether or not you have the right solution for the client?

LS002546When you present an attitude of helpfulness at the beginning of every client contact, you’ll become a top closer in sales. By approaching selling situations with the goal of helping the client, you won’t come across aggressively—and by no means will you be average or typical. And, with a helpful attitude, you’ll knock the dollar signs out of your eyes, which will put the buyer at ease.

I teach my seminar attendees that a salesperson’s income is a scoreboard reflection of the amount of service he or she gives to others. If you’re not happy with your current score (aka income), it’s time to improve the level of service you’re currently providing.

Improving your service begins with taking on an attitude of servitude. It also means taking control of your personal environment. If something that’s going on in your personal life is distracting you from your job, it may show to potential clients. When they feel you’re distracted, they’ll want to extract themselves from working with you.

Don’t risk losing sales or long-term clients because non-career challenges you are facing distract you from providing the service you know you need to deliver. Do whatever it takes to give your clients all that they expect and deserve. They’ll reward you with their business…and referred leads.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

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Get Buyers to Answer Their Own Concerns

The most important “do” of addressing concerns is: Get the other person to answer his own objection. That advice may sound tricky to follow, but here’s why it’s so important: You’re trying to persuade your prospect, so he’ll be likely to have reservations about anything you do or say. Why? Because anything you say must be good for you, too. Until the prospect realizes that you’re acting in his best interest, he will doubt you.

When you say it, a prospective client tends to doubt it. When he says it, the buyer believes it to be true. And that’s why you want to get your prospect to answer his own objections — because he’s much more likely to believe himself than he is to believe you. All you need to do is provide the information that answers his concern and let him draw his own conclusions. You let him persuade himself.

35053You may need to nudge a client a little by asking a question to get him to state the desired answer: “How do you see that feature impacting your company’s level of efficiency, Josh?” It’s much more powerful when he answers than if you just say, “That feature will increase your company’s efficiency by 20 percent.” See the difference? Take advantage of the strategy, and you’ll close more sales because your clients will be convincing themselves.

This technique often works well when you persuade a married couple (children, take note). When one partner objects to something, don’t respond immediately. Average persuaders are quick to defend their offering. But there’s a better way: Learn to sit tight. Many times, one spouse jumps in with the next comment, and you have a 50/50 chance that the originally silent spouse will answer the objection for you. If the second spouse agrees with his partner’s objection, then you know you’ll have to work a little harder to overcome it. The point is that these two people already have a positive relationship (you hope) and trust each other’s judgment. Being quiet while they think it through can cause the objection to evaporate into thin air right before your eyes.

When something important to you is hanging in the balance, being patient is difficult. During such moments, seconds feel like hours, and you can quickly become very uncomfortable. To keep yourself from jumping in too soon, try this trick. Silently count to 20 or 30. Or you may want to count the seconds by saying to yourself, “one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand-three,” and so on. (Just remember to count to yourself, not aloud.) Some salespeople recite a short poem to themselves to kill that time. Just don’t let your mind wander off from the matter at hand. Whatever method you choose, just be careful not to let them see your lips move.

What you never want to do when you’re waiting for a response is look at your watch or at a clock in the room. Even a slight glance at a timepiece can distract the prospects because they’re already looking at you, waiting for your next move. So practice waiting until you’re comfortable with it.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. Excerpted from Selling for Dummies, 4th Edition (Wiley).

Building Trust in Sales Presentations

352163521635216Building trust is THE key element in all sales contacts, but especially so for presentations. Rarely will people buy from someone they don’t trust. However, as important as it is that buyers trust you, they need to trust the product as well.

It’s your job to build trust in the product. In other words, help buyers grow in the belief that it will do what you say it will do. If your product is something you would use yourself, it’s critical that you speak about that. Speaking about products and services from your own real-life experiences with it will take you farther than nearly any demonstration you can give.

People will buy more often based on your conviction and belief in what you sell than anything else. This is why I so strongly advise people to seek out a product by how excited they are about (not just about how much money they can earn from it).

The potential client should also hear you say that you’re proud to represent your company. Other sales pros know you’re proud of the company you represent because they understand the motivations behind taking any particular sales job. Never assume your buyers will understand that. So, tell them you’re proud to represent your company. It will help build their trust in the product–especially when they’re already beginning to like you.

You might say something like this:

Jim, I could have chosen to represent any one of several companies that market this type of product. I chose my company because of their reputation for quality and because I, personally, have benefited from their products. They are the finest products of this type available in today’s marketplace and I’m proud to be on their team.

Those words, spoken with sincerity and conviction, will go a long way toward calming the natural fears inherent in the sales process. They’ll help you build trust.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

 

Poor Time Management Is a Career Killer

clockI’m sure you realize that poor time management is a career killer. Click the following link to watch a special video message and learn how you can manage your time more effectively: Poor Time Management in Sales

You see, we all have 86,400 seconds in a day. No one has any more, no one has any less. The key to great income, great financial independence in the future is making those seconds productive and not waiting for business but going out and making it happen.

Too many people in selling careers fail simply because they haven’t mastered the ability to control their time. They have a strong desire to retain the freedom offered in a selling career, but they don’t have the strength to master their time effectively.

Managing your time in selling is an awesome responsibility. If you are willing to accept that responsibility, you must also create a burning desire within yourself to master time-management techniques. You must develop a tremendous pride in your ability to manage time in order to do it well. And, time management is really self-management. We all have the same amount of time each day. It’s how we use it that matters. When you invest as little as 10 minutes at the end of each day to plan what you want and need to accomplish the next day, you’ll be more productive and reap the rewards of greatness.

To determine whether or not you’re handling your time well, ask yourself this question, “Based on my overall production, which is a reflection of my ability to properly manage my time, would I buy stock in me?” If your answer is no, you’ll need to learn to control your time and temper your freedom or you’ll find yourself becoming a “job jumper,” possibly jumping right out of sales entirely.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International Inc.

Self-Discipline, the Foundation of Self-Improvement

What is the one thing you must have in order to succeed? It’s a little thing called self-discipline—something that’s little only in the sense that it’s yours any time you choose to employ it. In its effect on your life, having self-discipline makes a tremendous difference—a difference too great to measure. It’s not something you’re given not something you inherit. Self-discipline is something that you acquire by yourself and for yourself. You get it from the inner person—from the voice that talks to you all the time.

SP001708Self-discipline is the foundation of self-improvement. It channels your resources of time, energy, and money into the habit of learning and growing towards something new and better each and every day. I believe in surrounding myself with happy and successful people. I believe that happiness and self-discipline are found together and that together they are the fountain of greatness.

People who achieve success share at least this one thing called self-discipline. Regardless of the endeavor—whether they are professional people, students in school, business owners, corporate executives, athletes or whatever—the one characteristic that is common to all succeeders is self-discipline. [Read more…]

How to Be Ready When It’s Time to Close

The actual closing of the sale is by far the most important step in the selling process. That’s why it’s critical that you know how to be ready when it’s time to close. Without that final commitment, you haven’t sold anything, have you? When you’re a pro, closing should be the most natural part of the process. Everything else you do leads to that point.

I teach lots of techniques for prospecting, meeting people, qualifying, presenting, demonstrating, and addressing concerns—and they’re all important. But, unless you can close, you’re like a football team that ca4.1.1n’t sustain a drive long enough to score.

The biggest complaint I hear from most salespeople is that they don’t know when to start closing. Those people just don’t understand the simple fact that a true Champion salesperson is closing all the time. He or she is constantly trying test closes and will go into the final closing sequence anytime they sniff the sweet smell of success (such as when they hear the client start talking as if they already own the product or when the client relaxes his or her body language or even when they begin asking more questions).

The problem with too many salespeople is they get so wrapped up in the steps in their selling sequence that if the prospect wants to go ahead with the purchase before they’re finished presenting, they lose their momentum and go tripping awkwardly into the close, which can cause tension and make the buyer hesitate or decide to re-think their decision.Believe it or not, there are buyers out there who will get sold fast. If you keep talking instead of closing, you’ll run the risk of un-selling them just as fast. So, during every step of the selling cycle, you must keep one eye on the prospect at all times watching for cues as to their readiness to go ahead.

Okay. They’re ready. Where are your closing materials?

To become a top professional in selling, you must always have your closing materials with you. You must be ready to close anywhere and at any time. I’m sure you’ve heard of sales being closed at lunch, on the golf course, or at the health club. I even have a student who closed a sale in a barn while the farmer was milking cows.

The salespeople who closed those sales and kept them closed were ready, willing, and able when the client was. They were able to change gears and move to their paperwork smoothly. The salespeople who lost those sales didn’t have their closing materials, or tried to manipulate the ideal closing setting and the client cooled off by the time they were ready to take the order.

Why make things so hard on yourself? A supply of closing materials should take up permanent residence in your briefcase, club locker, car trunk, home and office desk. Keep these forms handy everywhere you go.

Careful thought must be given to the how and when you’ll produce your closing materials. Many prospects will tighten up and try to change gears if they see you pulling out forms or reaching for your tablet. Don’t risk upsetting the emotional balance that’s tipped in your favor. Keep a clean, crisp form under a few pages of your presentation binder, notebook, or time planner at all times. It will be easily accessible and not require a lot of motion on your part to get it out. Nothing should distract your attention from the client’s every word or movement when you can see that they’re ready to close.

If at all possible, get into the habit of writing brief notes during every presentation. Your prospect will get used to seeing you writing and not be put off when you begin writing on the actual agreement.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Defining Success

LS001922Before you can achieve success, it’s critical that you invest some time in defining success.

At the age of six, Corinne Archer* started putting in long hours training in her sport. Long before she entered her teens, she had fixed her mind on a single goal: to win an Olympic gold medal. From then on, she crushed everything out of her life that didn’t contribute to her goal. Every available hour went to practice. Trophies and honors piled up as the years went by, but they meant little to Corinne beyond making her dream of winning the gold medal seem a little more real.

After eleven years, the big day finally came, and Corinne Archer arrived at the Olympics to meet the world’s toughest competitors. The contest was grueling, but she won. At seventeen, Corinne stood at the highest pinnacle she could ever hope to attain by her own definition of success. The gold medal, whose pursuit had dominated two-thirds of this young woman’s life, was now hers.

Corrine left the victory stand in tears—of joy, or so everyone thought. [Read more…]

Vital Telephone Skills for Sales Pros

Telephone SkillsYou might think that everyone knows how to use a telephone and that the topic of Vital Telephone Skills for Sales Pros is antiquated. For some, possibly you, that may be true. However, based on the calls received by me, my wife, and members of my staff, there is a great lack of skill in the general selling populace. Because of our experiences, even recently, we all agreed this topic should be addressed.

The pathway to riches is that opening in the front of your head called a mouth and one of your biggest assets is the telephone. Most appointments are set by telephone and there are certain steps to follow to do it well. [Read more…]

How to Hold an Open House – Real Estate

House for SaleMany new or unsuccessful people in real estate don’t understand how to hold an open house. Nor do they understand that open houses often are better for listing than for selling.  When done well, holding houses open is a marvelously effective listing technique, but it’s not done well very often.  Doing it well enough to make big money requires work the week before.  Unless you do that work in time, your weekend open house has little chance of being worthwhile.

I would like to share with you some techniques you may not currently be using when holding your open houses.  This simple step-by-step process can provide you with great opportunities for listing and selling houses. [Read more…]