Friday, May 30, 2014
Or are you an ambitious financial adviser working very hard each day but just do not seem to achieve a satisfactory result?
From my experience and observation, successful financial advisers seem to share some similar characteristics. These common traits of the very top agents in the industry can serve as a guide for amateur advisers, while at the same time provide some insights and advises for other agents seeking to improve their results. Read on to find out what are the 5 tips they have got to offer for advisers looking to join their ranks.
(#1) Set your goals and have a plan
Start first by setting a goal of what you wished to achieve in a year's time. Then break up this goal into smaller short term objectives to serve as milestones which seems easier to achieve and can encourage you along the journey while they are continuously being met. Say for example if you hoped to obtain an annual income of $30,000 from policies sales commissions, you will have to earn $2,500 a month from the sales commissions. Usually this will means needing to close about 5 insurance policies in a month. So how are you able to achieve that? If 1 in 4 prospects in face-to-face meet-up will be willing to purchase a policy from you, you will then have to fix-up 20 appointments with potential prospects in a month. Let's say if 1 in 3 prospects in your cold calls would be willing to meet up with you, you will then have to cold call to 60 prospects in a month, which is also equivalent to cold calling to 3 clients a day if you are working only a 5-day work week.
Setting goals and targets serve as a guide to help you plan your schedule and daily tasks list. Try to discipline yourself to follow your planned schedule relentlessly, even though if it seems like it is not producing expected results initially.
(#2) Network to grow your Client Base
You may want to start from your family members, relatives and friends. They have known you in person for years, and will naturally believe in you and trust that you will be doing a great job for them. When you are attending ex-classmates or ex-colleagues gatherings, re-build the relationships with your long-lost friends.
Distribute your name cards and introduce to them what you are doing. There is no need to be shy and afraid. Let people be aware of you and profession, and how you are able to help them with your expertise and financial advice. Attend relevant trade shows, functions and conferences that are related to your industry, and get to know more people of related professions in your industry. You will never know when needs arise when you will require each other's expertise and field of knowledge.
(#3) Project a professional image
Be sure to dress professionally when you are meeting your clients. Make sure your hair is neat and tidy, well-shave and appropriately attired, so as to leave a good first impression. Avoid being sloppy and looked untidy which made him seems insincere and not ready to take up the project. A prospect is more likely to trust an adviser who dress and look presentable, and know that the adviser appreciate and respect the meeting with him. Always be prepared before meeting your clients. Find out a little more about him, such as his age, gender, career and income, single or with a family, smoker or non-smoker, and hopefully what policies had he already purchased. Think of a few options of what he is lacking and will possibly purchase from you. What are the coverage, premiums and returns that he will be getting for each options. And What are the available add-on that he may add for the options. When your client is impressed by the homework that you had done, he will likely be more convinced that you will handle his case in a quality and more professional manner.
(#4) Build your expertise through continuous education
Your learning do not stop after you had gotten your adviser licence. Or rather, that marks the beginning of your learning experience in your career. Always have a willingness to learn mentality, and keep yourself updated on news and changes that is related to your industry. Are there new changes to the rules and regulations governing your industry and how things will be working differently now? How will the changes affect you or your clients, and are the changes beneficial or not desirable? Are there new products released in the markets? How have the prices of your competitors' products adjusted as compared to yours? As you build up your knowledge through continuous education, you may then slowly establish yourself as an expert in your industry. Attend talk shows and seminars as a guest speaker and share your knowledge and professional advice to those in need. Submit articles to recognized publications and magazines in your industry. Gain public awareness and recognition as being an expert.
It is also advisable to obtain professional certification such as the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) or the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) to improve your credentials and demonstrate your expertise in this industry.
(#5) Follow-Up with your existing customers
It is advisable to follow-up with your existing customers regularly. This include responding immediately to every calls and queries from your clients. Submit your clients' claims promptly and ensure a smooth and painless process for your client. Do send out regular newsletters informing your clients on new updates and changes relevant to your industry. To strengthen good relationship with your clients, you may want to sent out well wishes to them during festive seasons or on their memorable occasions such as birthday and wedding anniversary. Conduct frequent reviews on your clients' financial status at least once every or 2 years. This will give them a top-of-mind awareness about you whenever they or their friends and relatives have a need for your products and services. Do ask for referrals and testimonials from your satisfied customers.
Saturday, May 24, 2014
In the midst of negotiation with your prospect or during your sales presentation, there are bound to be times when you will be at odds with your prospect. You, as the salesperson, would like to close the deal quickly while your prospect might be uncomfortable with some aspects of the proposal and would like them to be addressed first. These objections that your prospect might have in their mind, if not handled properly and with care, could hurt the relationship that you had so painstakingly trying to build. Or in a worse case scenario, the prospect might even call off the deal totally.
How can you overcome the objections that your prospect might have in a negotiation? I personally propose doing it in the Empathize => Probe => Clarify approach.
Step (1): Empathize
Instead of ignoring the prospect's concerns and start to get defensive which so many amateur salesperson tend to do, a more appropriate approach would be to acknowledge them. Too many a times's amateur salespersons "win the arguments, but lose the sales". Salespersons should understand that most often than not the prospect is only having objections with the proposal, and is not being personal with the salespersons himself.
You do not have to agree that the prospect is right or wrong, but you can agree that you understand his viewpoints. Try to put yourself in your prospect's shoes and empathize with their thoughts and feelings. Let him be aware that his benefits and interests are of the utmost priorities in your heart.
"I understand how you are feeling! Others had thought the same way too, but they looked at this differently after they realized that ... "
Step (2): Probe
Listen to your prospect's objections carefully. Give them a chance to explain clearly what exactly the thing that is bothering him, and understand his objections completely. You might want to repeat the key points of his message back to him, so as to make sure that you do not misunderstand him, but also to show that you had understood his concerns.
"I see, you are concerned about the ..."
Step (3): Clarify
Address the issues at hand that you had identified immediately. Emphasize on the benefits that your prospect will be getting. Explain to him how the benefits and added values can easily outweigh the price or costs that he will be paying. Paint a picture in his mind how he could be enjoying the benefits after he committed to the purchase. Should your prospect remained hesitant, show him some statistics or competitors comparison chart to demonstrate that what you are offering could probably be the very best that is offered in the market. You might also want to show him testimonials or feed-backs of some of your satisfied customers to make him feel more comfortable.
Check back with your prospect again if his objection had been fully addressed before moving on. Once his concerns had been addressed, you may then continue with your presentation or proceed to ask for action or close the sales.
"Have I answered your concerns?"
Saturday, May 10, 2014
In a sales presentation or negotiation, what usually differentiate a good salesperson from a amateur salesperson would be the ability to ask good questions. By asking good questions, it allows a two-way exchange of valuable information and participation with the prospects, rather than a plain and boring delivery speech of the product or service. A good salesperson ask questions not only to understand his prospect better to build stronger relationship, but also seek to discover what is the actual need of his client and if his product could be the perfect fit to his prospect's requirements. Avoid asking close-ended "Yes" or "No" questions, but open-ended questions which allow your prospect the opportunity to elaborate and reveal more information. Below are some of the broad categories of questions that a good salesperson might ask to achieve his aim and objectives.
(1) Rapport Building Questions
These are questions salespersons asked to find out more about his prospect's characters, hobbies, likes and dislikes, so as to find a common interest he has with his prospect to build a relationship with him. They also help in displaying the salesperson's genuine interest in him and what he is doing.
"Wow that's a fine fishing rod that you have over here! Do you like fishing? How often do you go fishing?"
"Hey there's 2 beautiful kids in the photo! Are they your kids? How old are they?"
(2) Sales-Related Questions
Sales-related questions allow a salesperson to ask about his prospect's previous purchases of similar products, be them from his company or competitors, which can help him to gain insights into his prospect's buying behaviors and habits. A salesperson can also be asking questions about details with regard to this particular sale he is dealing with, so as to understand better his prospect's requirements and budgets.
"I see that you had purchased 2 policies from us before. Would you mind sharing with me what are your experiences with them? Was it good or bad?"
"What are the things you are looking for? Which are more important to you?"
"What is your budget for this project?"
(3) Clarification Questions
These questions seek to clear out any doubts that might be around, so as to avoid any potential confusions or misunderstandings that could occurred. They can also be used to extract out more information from your prospect should he replied a brief and unclear answer. Sometimes these questions are also asked to reiterate some important points that a salesperson wished to emphasize.
"Help me understand, could you elaborate more on ..."
"Could you give an example?"
(4) Objection Seeking Questions
These questions are used by salespersons to find out the exact and true concerns that a prospect might have that are holding them back from committing to the purchase. Only after the true objections are identified and addressed can the salesperson move his prospect a step closer to close the deal.
"Do you have any concerns so far?"
"May I know what is holding you back?"
"If money is not an issue here, would you ..."
(5) Ask-for-Action Questions
Sometimes when a prospect is hesitant and not ready to commit, it is always helpful for a salesperson to nudge or encourage his prospect a little bit by asking some Ask-for-Action questions. These questions are asked to propose for a close and go ahead with the project implementation, or at least to fix up an appointment for the next discussion to sort out further details.
"Do you have any further concerns? If not, I suggest that we move on to ..."
"Now since we have this sorted out, why don't we ..."
"Would you agree that ..."
HubPage Article - "How to Ask Good Questions?"
Slideshare Slides - "How to Ask Good Questions?"