We’re professionals, and that’s a rather direct way to put it – “sales pitch.” But, by any other terms – “new business introduction,” or “prospect sales engagement," or whatever – it’s still a sales pitch, so let’s get to it
- “Find personal information.” Yes, before the meeting research what you can on the prospect’s demographics, buyer behaviors and psychographics, but importantly find personal information. Building “chemistry” is vital and this is where such a bond originates.
- “Practice your personal branding statement.” You can call it an “elevator speech,” or “general benefit statement” or “personal branding statement.” Bottom line is that it’s three or less sentences about you and what you do. Know it so well that, according to the chemistry developing, you can modify the words for the particular person to whom you’re speaking. We’ll spend an entire post on the personal branding statement, but my basic (from which I then customize by the occasion) is “I find and qualify potential wealth management clients, determine what motivates them, then craft and deliver messages through a variety of means to persuade them.” If I am talking to someone who really understands marketing, I say “I segment, target and position in the wealth management industry.” Same meaning, totally different audience.
- “Observe – the one minute chemistry lab.” Notice “personal” touches in the ante room or in the prospects’ office. Are there industry awards on the wall? Or, kids’ soccer team photos? Or, a duck-hunting motif? Combine these observations with your earlier research to mentally prepare your “greet and meet.”
- “Remember, people prefer to do business with people they like.” The prospect ultimately buys ‘you.’ You are the first product “benefit.” Go in wanting to be liked.
- “It’s all about (almost) the first three minutes.” The importance of chemistry and that initial couple minutes, the “greet and meet,” cannot be overstated. This is where you synthesize your initial personal research with your observations and “make” the prospect like you.
- “Be a sensational conversationalist by listening.” I was taught that if you can get the prospect talking about himself, he’ll remember you as a brilliant conversationalist. Hence, points 1, 3, 4 and 5.
- “Never miss the opportunity to shut up.” If you’ve got the prospect talking, let him talk. You don’t get high quality sales engagement opportunities very often, so your time is of minor consequence.
- “Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.” We all know that consultative selling is based on asking and listening, not telling. In financial planning, just like in medicine, ‘prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.’ So listen.
- “Right questions.” Remember the five questions that the prospect has to have answered in his or her mind before their buy (see earlier posts)? Ask questions to set up your answering those potential obstacles.
- “Wrong questions.” Don’t leap into a hard close too early (see earlier posts). Trying to go into the hard close question too early will make you seem either pushy or superficial.
- “Gladly settle for a slice of salami” Yes, you want all the business, but settle for a little piece. That’s a way of testing you and you know you’ll pass the test. Take a little piece of the business now, and you can ‘pipeline’ more of the account quickly.
- Think “how would a Junior Leaguer handle this?” Write and send a hand-written thank you note. Yeah, it’s old fashioned, but that’s precisely the reason it works.
(Next post, “Effective Personal Branding Statements”)