6 Tips for More Productive Sales Conversations

4 min read
August 11, 2016

You became a financial planner to help other people with their financial well-being. Did you realize how much sales was involved in order to be able to help those people? Or, how much being able to convert prospects to clients would be critical to your firm’s success and profitability?

There’s already so much to do in growing your firm, isn’t there? You have many competing priorities vying for your attention every day (and sometimes long into the night).

The “sales” part of it, from attracting leads to getting appointments, working up recommendations, and then converting them from prospect to client often gets pushed to the “I’ll get to that later” group of To Dos.

That’s the challenge: to keep a full funnel of possible clients moving through so you can put your expertise to good use…and help more people with their finances.

That’s why your ability to have productive conversations that earn sales is so important to your bottom line and your firm’s future.

Leads Cost Your Financial Planning Firm Money

When you take into account the time, energy, and hard costs, attracting leads is costly. It’s estimated a lead can cost between $20 and $200. How does your cost compare?

The cost of leads is no small change when you multiply the cost by the number of leads you need to grow your firm.

How, then, do you increase the probability of moving the hard-earned, expensive lead, through to a closed sale and a new client? And, how do you make sure the lead is qualified early so your time is spent on those most likely to work with you?

Answer: knowing how to have productive sales conversations that are effective and efficient!

Create Conversations That Earn Sales

Knowing how to be most effective in your sales conversations is key to building and growing your firm. When financial planners are not ready for those conversations with clear objectives, relevant questions, and a focus on them when describing their services, the opportunity to do great planning work quickly slips away.

Conversations between prospect and planner should expedite decisions, build long-term relationships, and increase the value you provide by giving them the advice, help, or security they need.

How do you ensure that every conversation with a lead is productive for you and them as well as move a sale forward?

6 Key Ways to Convert Prospects to Clients with Productive Sales Conversations

1. Ditch the one-size-fits-all scripted pitch. Prepare for the conversation mentally and on paper with a focus on What’s In It For Them. If you can’t find a reason they should want to converse with you, they won’t either.

Use information from social media, your network, or inquiry forms to identify typical life stages or financial needs they may be experiencing. Prepare your introduction or request to meet including a short, relevant example of how you have helped people who were in the same situation so that they can begin to put context to what you can do for them.

2. Make it a conversation, not a transaction or “call.” There is no such thing as small talk. Engage the person by making your first words relevant to THEM!

Focus on talking “with” and not “at” prospects. Ask them questions early to demonstrate that your focus is on learning about them and not a hard sell.

Throughout the conversation, aim for more than a 50% listening rate. Let them be the star of the show and you’ll learn many ways you can help them and what will be important to them when making a decision.

3. Make good use of their time. Use what you’ve learned in research and don’t ask questions you can simply confirm from what you already know such as, “from reviewing the information you shared earlier, it appears that…”

Strive to understand what is going on with them today. You can ask about their goals, dreams, or concerns about tomorrow. Chat about the risks they are concerned with staying as is or in working with a planner; and the rewards that would be most motivating for them to do something about their situation.

4. Right size information, data, details, and the personal connection. Adjust what, how much, and the way you provide information for the situation, personal style of the buyer, and what they already know.

Respect their experience and knowledge and build from it. Selling often means educating and the “education” should not be a lecture or in a language they don’t understand.

5. Connect information specifically to what it means for them. Make any information you share powerful and relevant to them by connecting it to the value for them.

Instead of, “We offer six month financial checkups with our services,” say, “We offer six month financial checkups with our services so that you can evaluate if the plan is on target and meeting the financial objectives of building your children’s education and annual vacation funds.”

6. End the conversation by securing a decision or commitment. Every conversation does not end in a “go decision”, but every conversation can end with a commitment and expectation for the next step. Clearly state next steps and the action desired.

These tips might seem simple on paper, but your competitors aren’t doing this. It’s one way to differentiate your approach as you focus on the specific prospect in each conversation.

Technology and tools to gain leads have advanced. And the ability for prospects to search for what they need is easier.

What hasn’t changed is that most buyers still appreciate, especially when it comes to the important financial relationship, a professional who effectively and efficiently focuses on them and makes the decision making process simple.

If you’re serious about earning and working with new clients, easier and quicker wins follow productive conversations that earn sales.

Nancy Bleeke

About the Author

Nancy Bleeke, President of Sales Pro Insider, Inc, and author of Conversations That Sell, is known as someone who gets things done. She believes every company needs to make their conversations count -- with customers, prospects, and team members. When the right people have the right conversations, companies thrive. Her focus since 1998 is equipping companies to grow sales, customer loyalties, and employee engagement with training, consulting, assessments, and tools that stick.

Nancy will be presenting two sessions in the Sales and Marketing track at XYPN LIVE 2016 in San Diego September. Stop by her booth to say hello or ask her your burning sales questions.

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