Saturday, March 13, 2010

Overcoming fear: The Financial Advisor as a really good salesperson

Overcoming fear: The Financial Advisor as a really good salesperson

Are you afraid to get out and hustle for new business? You must or you won’t be in business long.

Afraid someone who barely knows you is going to think badly of you because you asked for his or her business? They really won’t. It’s really “so what?”

Fearful that some assistant won’t let you talk to someone that you want as a client? Confidence, enthusiasm, preparation can get you that conversation.

Do you fear the embarrassment of someone you know turning you down? Be prepared and they’ll only for good reason.

Don’t want to impose on a client and ask for a referral? If you’re good enough for them, why not their friends?

Most financial advisors didn’t get into the business to be in sales. But, selling is a must and we do it everyday:

--We “sell” our expertise when discussing that it’s time to re-balance.

--We “sell” our planning acumen when we layout best options for the client to pay for his children’s education.

--We “sell” our experience as we calm our clients’ fears about today’s change in the markets.

--We “sell” our knowledge, skills and abilities every day. Many times every day. Day-in and day-out.

You don’t think of that as selling, but it is. The difference between “selling” your ideas when you advise your clients and “selling” prospects on engaging you is all in your head. You don’t fear selling ideas to clients, why should you fear selling your knowledge, skills and abilities to prospects?

Fear is just a head-game. Your head-game.

Because fear is only in your head, you can use the same techniques to overcome it and become effective at new business development that you used as a novice advisor making your first recommendations. Think back to those early-career client meetings. Afraid, weren’t you? How did you overcome that fear such that today, there’s no question that a client can toss at you, or, no “bad mood” client, or any other client relations that you fear?

Preparation, practice and mindset. You did it before. Relearn it.

Preparation, practice and mindset – let’s refer to that as “PPM.” The little differences between when you’re selling your current clients on your ideas and developing new business are:

Preparation – “how” you prepare. As mentioned in earlier posts, you are simply gathering different information. For a regular client meeting, you gather information. For a new business opportunity, the information you’re collecting is just different– this is all about the prospect and his demographics, buyer behavior and psychographics.

Practice – a more significant difference here. Before a client meeting, you review the materials and maybe run it through your head a few times. For a business development engagement, you practice differently, and more. Again, review earlier posts for the effective sales engagement process.

This (practice) is where “fear” turns into “confidence.” Remember, fear is all in your head. Practice gives you the confidence to ‘get over it.’ Get so good at it that, if you don’t get the business, you walk away knowing it’s the prospect’s loss. And, think “Now that I’ve practiced so much, I’ll quickly research another prospect and go “nail” it.”

Mindset – with an existing client, you know you’re right and you perceive your task as simply “effective communications.” With new business development, your mindset is still to go in knowing you’re right. You want to be so right that they want to be on your team. Exude confidence and enthusiasm. You’re a winner and they’re going to want to be part of your winning team.

“Selling” new business is just that easy. Go get ‘em, Tiger.

(Next post: “Building Credibility”)

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