We’re all salespeople whether we want to believe it or not. We’re constantly selling. You’re selling your spouse on what you want to eat for dinner or where to go on your next vacation. You’re selling your children on the benefits of brushing their teeth and going to bed on time.
Prospecting for new clients and selling are large parts of being a financial advisor. And, you’re constantly selling. You’re selling people on the services you provide and, believe it or not, you’re selling customers on you.
Some advisors are better at selling and finding new clients than others, but you don’t have to be resigned to the fact that you’re horrible at sales, and that’s just the way it’s going to be. Selling is a skill that you can practice and improve. You can learn to sell, pitch and prospect.
Here’s a few ways you can get over the negative thinking that’s holding you back in prospecting and truly embrace what it takes to grow as a salesperson.
Embrace Prospecting as an Introvert
There’s a perception that you have to be an extrovert to be a successful salesperson, that you have to be outgoing, loud, a fast-talker or laugh at everyone’s jokes. Recent studies have shown though, that there’s no evidence to back up the claim that extroverts make better salespeople than introverts. A study of more than 4,000 salespeople found that there was almost no relationship between personality type and sales performance.
A second study from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business found that salespeople who had a mix of both introverted and extroverted traits actually performed better than those who scored off the chart in personality tests as either an introvert or extrovert. In the study, introverted salespeople earned an average of $120 per hour in revenue, extroverts earned $125 per hour and salespeople with a mix of both traits earned $208 per hour.
The key to your personal success in sales, is to identify your position on the introverted-extroverted personality scale and use it to your advantage. Introverted people have a limited amount of energy to pull from when dealing with clients. If you’re introverted, you should plan your schedule so that you have limited, defined times where you interact with clients and follow those times on your schedule with some alone time to recharge your batteries. Extroverted people actually gain energy from being around others. If you’re an extroverted salesperson, plan to work on recruiting new prospects or setting new goals after you interact with clients, when you’ll have the most energy. Regardless of which personality type you have, seek out books, blogs and other information that can help you better understand it and profit from it.
Be a Better Listener
The best financial advisors are great listeners. You have to know what your clients’ needs are to be able to help them. By listening to your prospective client, you’ll learn what’s important to them, what they need, what their challenges are and what financial goals they want to achieve.
By listening, you won’t have to worry as much about what you’re going to try to sell to your prospective client. Instead, you’ll be able to focus on what they have to say, which can help you customize the perfect proposal that meets their needs. Rather than thinking of yourself as someone who’s simply pushing a product or service on a client, think of yourself as a problem solver. It’s a mindset shift that frees you from the stress of selling and allows you to focus on what’s best for each prospective client.
Knowing Your Craft
If you want to set yourself apart from the competition, you have to know your chosen profession. One of the ways that you can gain confidence is by continuing to learn. In the case of financial advisors, that might mean earning your CFP or even post-CFP designations such as CLU or ChFC.
With additional education, your technical competency in financial advising will improve. Your increased knowledge will bring more confidence when you meet with new prospective clients and you’ll be able to talk intelligently about the problems they’re facing. Having designations will validate your knowledge base and will strengthen your position with prospects and clients.
Don’t Be Afraid of Rejection
You have to get over the fear of being rejected. No one likes it. But, you have to use it as motivation to keep going. You have to be resilient and let it just roll off your back.
You’re going to get rejected. It’s part of the process of prospecting for new clients and developing your business. You shouldn’t take it lying down, but you can’t take it personally either. It’s part of being a salesperson. And, like I said in the beginning, we’re all in sales whether we like to admit it or not. Some clients that you wanted to land will pass on working with you, but they may just give way to the next one who’s even better.
You can learn something from every rejection. Take what you’ve learned from these rejections to see how you can apply any lessons learned to your future proposals.
Believing in the Product and Yourself
A great product or service makes selling and prospecting easier. You have to be proud of what you’re selling. It may sound cliché, but you’ll have more enthusiasm and confidence when you believe in what you’re selling. Your potential client will pick up on your demeanor too.
A great product or service will inevitably lead to great reviews and more referrals. The products you offer and services you provide can ultimately set a standard that will outshine your competition and land you new clients.
The most important product you’re selling is yourself. Of course, you’re selling clients on financial products and services too, but more than anything else, you’re selling your clients on you.
Find a Good Partner
Paul Simon needed Art Garfunkel in the beginning. That’s why there was Simon and Garfunkel way before there was ever just a Paul Simon. Paul suffered from tremendous stage fright when he was starting out in show business and assumed there would be less pressure going out on stage every night with a partner. Now you’re probably asking, “Who’s this Garfunkel guy?” But, could you imagine a world without the music of Paul Simon? We all need a partner to lean on sometimes.
You don’t have to be good at everything as a financial advisor. If you’re not all that great at selling and prospecting for clients, maybe taking on a partner can help. As you’re exploring your options, it’s important to make sure that you’re going to be at a firm that has the experience to help you with areas of advising in which you struggle.
The keys to becoming better at sales start with embracing who you are, becoming a better listener, honing your craft, getting over that fear of rejection and truly believing in yourself and your abilities. Once you master those tasks, prospecting new clients and closing deals will become your new norm.
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