You're listening to Financial Advisor Marketing, the best show on the planet for financial advisers who want to get more clients without all the stress. You're about to get the real scoop on everything from lead generation to closing the deal. James is the founder of TheAdvisorCoach.com, where you can find an entire suite of products designed to help financial advisers grow their businesses more rapidly than ever before. Now, here is your host, James Pollard. [00:31.7]
James: What’s going on financial advisors? This week, I want to talk about 5 Pieces of Terrible Sales Advice that I see given to financial advisors. And I don't claim to be the best salesperson in the entire world, because I'm obviously not. However, I do know how to spot complete and utter bull crap when I see it. That's my gift to the world and I want to share it with you. This episode is going to be slightly more abstract and philosophical than the rest. Partly because you can apply the sales stuff in many places also because I have five of these terrible pieces of advice, and I want to make sure that I can fit them all into one show. So, I don't exactly have time to get into the nitty-gritty of every single one. So, if you need handholding and you need to step by step, show me how to do this and not that, then this is not the episode for you, sweetheart. I am sorry. [01:22.1]
I've talked about some of these before, and if you're on my email list, you've almost certainly received emails about these. However, let me remind you of the great Zig Ziglar quote, “People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing, that's why we recommend it daily.” And if you're not careful, you might fall into some of these sales traps. You have to reinforce these concepts; you have to listen to them. Not daily, that would be a little bit too much for something like this, but at least monthly, maybe every couple of weeks, you learn about a new sales technique. And you really question and say, is this complete utter bull crap? Or is this something that I can really use into my business? So, let's get into it. [02:03.2]
Number one is focus on closing. This is terrible, there's a ton of sales material out there that focuses on closing. There's a fascination with closing the sale, but what about all this stuff that happens before that? You can never get to closing if you don't have anyone to close. Marketing is about getting people in the door. And as a financial advisor setting appointments with prospective clients should be your number one priority. Period. Not trying to become better at closing. And I've found that a mediocre closer with a full pipeline can beat the pants off of a great closer with a small pipeline. Of course, closing is important. I don't want to tell you that it is not important or that you should write it off entirely. It is important. I just think it's overrated. So many people focus on closing when they should be focused on making their marketing better. [02:53.5]
Think about it this way. I like math, a lot of financial advisors like math, they love Excel spreadsheets. They like to know the numbers behind stuff. So, which would you rather have? Would you rather have 100 prospects with a 20% closing rate, AKA 20 clients, or would you rather have a, a situation where you have 20 prospects with a 75% closing rate? 75% is a heck of a lot better, but it's not 20. It's less than 20. I'll take the first one all day long. Plus having a ton of, of potential clients in your pipeline gives you a tremendous psychological advantage. It gives you the ability to say next and quickly move on, if someone rejects you, or if the person isn't a good fit. And since neediness kills sales, you can actually increase your closing rate by focusing on opening. That's one of those strange paradoxical truths most people don't want to accept. Let me repeat myself so you can get it. You can increase your closing rate by focusing on opening. You can become a better, closer by being a better opener. If you have tons of inbound leads, you have tons of people that you're talking with, you have marketing machines that are working for you, whether you're working, sleeping or not vacation, then you have a psychological advantage. You don't have to appear as needy. You don't have to be needy. And if you're not needy and you don't appear as needy, then your prospective clients won't pick up on any neediness because it won't exist. So, you will find yourself closing more people. [04:21.0]
Number two, the client is always right. No, no, no, no. This is absolutely not true. There are some people out there who are difficult to deal with. I know some people want to live in this world where you offer amazing, incredible service to everybody. But if someone is being a pain in the neck, kick that person out the door, get rid of that person. Life is too short to spend it dealing with crappy clients. Let me give you some specific sales applications to this advice here or anti-advice, I don't really know what to call it. If someone has canceled and rescheduled your meeting three different times, stop trying to take meetings. You're pretty much groveling at that point. If someone is on your email list and sends a little nasty gram back, unsubscribe that person, I do this all the time. Being on my email list is a privilege, not a right. If you want to get snippy, if you want to respond back with something that doesn't add anything to the conversation, you're getting unsubscribed. And I'm the one who is clicking that unsubscribe link. I really don't care. Like I know that some people posture and they virtue signal about how they don't give any F's and they really don't care, BLAH… BLAH…BLAH…Well, you can make your own judgment, whether what you think about me, ask your prospects to fill out a survey or a questionnaire before the first meeting do not make an exception and have that meeting, if they haven't filled it out, you have it for a reason stand firm, because won't do the little things to make a good first impression with you. It is a warning sign that they will suck. [05:48.4]
And I know that there's a sales technique that says you have to sell yourself to me. I shouldn't have to sell myself to you where you're trying to like posture yourself for your clients and make sell themselves to you. I am a believer in that more often than not because you are the one who you're so much more leverage in that situation. You were the one who offers more value than they do. I mean, I know that seems super obvious, but they need you more than you need them. And if you need them more than they need you, then you need to go back to the neediness thing because neediness kills sales. Besides, when it comes to getting rid of clients and kicking out clients and just giving them the hammer, right. Banning them from your kingdom. A lot of you say that you want freedom, but you won't get rid of your clients and prospective clients. You cling to them. You hang on to them way past their expiration date, I should say. Expiration for being nice to you and actually contributing to your business and not adding gray hairs to your ahead. Is that really freedom? If your biggest client comes in and disrespects one of your associates and you let it slide because you know how much that client means to you in revenue, are you really free? Does that sound like freedom to you? You can't say you want one thing and then have your actions oriented toward another thing. If you say you want freedom, but you're chained to these clients because they just do. You need them, even though they disrespect you, they waste your time. They call you constantly. They bug you. They nag you. That doesn't sound like freedom to me. [07:21.8]
Number three, you need to be extrovert. This is also not true, it's terrible advice. Can extrovert succeed in sales and as financial advisors? Yes, of course. It's obvious. Of course, extroverts succeed. Can introverts succeed also? Yes, it's obvious. Of course, introverts do succeed. The trick lies in picking the marketing and sales approaches that align with your personality. I've talked about this a lot on the show, but I'll give you a quick recap. If you are an introvert and you're told that you have to make endless cold calls and attend networking events, you're probably going to have a baby bad time. Likewise, if you're an introvert and you're talking that you have to create content and do nothing but inbound marketing, you're also probably going to have a bad time. And personally speaking, I've seen that introverts sometimes better financial advisors than extroverts for a lot of reasons that I don't really have time to discuss in this show. But if you go to TheAdvisorCoach.com and you click on the products tab and you look at your first year as a financial advisor, I talk about that where sometimes financial advisor will email me and they say, I'm scared to get into the field because I'm an introvert. And I get the feeling that you need to be an extrovert to succeed. I'm like I discuss all of this in your first year as a financial advisor. So don't you worry. If you're an introvert, you have the qualities necessary to succeed. You just have to know how to tap into them and how to pick the marketing strategies that will align with your personality. [08:53.9]
Number four, you need a coach or a mentor. Oh my goodness. This is not good advice whatsoever. I want to read this email that I got from a financial advisor. Here we go. Financial advisors says, first off, I want to say how much I appreciate the resources posted on your blog. They've been invaluable to me. Could you spare a few minutes to share how to locate a good sales coach? I came across your article, outlining warnings of a warning signs of a bad coach. The thing is I just launched my firm a year ago and needs someone to work with me to help me identify why I keep missing opportunities to come my way. Any advice on finding a good coach would be greatly appreciated. My response - This advisor does not need a sales coach. It's a crutch. People try to look for this coach in this magical one-on-one program that can just solve all their problems and make them a stellar salesperson. It's the wrong mindset to have. [09:50.9]
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Look at it this way. I want you to imagine that I am selling hearing aids. If you have perfect hearing right now, no approach I use to outfit you with hearing aids will work. It doesn't matter how many closing techniques. I know it doesn't matter how many objections I can overcome, and it doesn't matter how smoothly I can get your commitment to a meeting. All these tips, tricks and tactics will not work if I'm selling hearing aids and you have perfect hearing. Period. However, if you suffer from hearing loss and you currently don't have hearing aids, I could be the worst sales person in the entire world, and you would still throw your money at me assuming the following conditions are met. Number one, you are aware of the problem. You know, that you have imperfect hearing. Number two, you want to solve your problem. It actually matters to you that you want to be able to hear stuff perfectly and hear high pitches and all that other stuff. Number three, you can afford to pay for a solution. You might realize that you have hearing loss. You might want to hear better, but if you can't afford to pay for the hearing aids, then the whole process stops here. Number four, you believe I can solve your problem. And then number five, you want to choose me over your alternative. So, examine these characteristics closely, and you were realized that traditional sales methods will not help you much. [11:31.4]
For example, does traditional sales training create awareness, which is number one, you're aware of the problem. You need to be aware that you have hearing loss. No, it doesn't. And as a financial advisor, your time is better spent with people who want to improve their financial situations, which is number two, when I say, number one is you're aware of the problem. Number is you want to solve your problem. People might be aware that they are not saving enough or investing enough for retirement. They might be aware that they don't have any life insurance to protect themselves or their family, or to use it as a banking system. But it doesn't mean that they want to change that, that they want to improve the situation. And it makes no sense fighting an uphill battle by trying to “overcome objections” or convince and persuade people to hire you. If you find yourself of doing these things, well, you have messed up somewhere along the way. Also, no amount of selling can get someone to pay with money that that person doesn't have. If I literally don't have the money to pay you, if you charge $2,500 for a financial plan, and I don't have that money, I literally cannot pay you. If I, I know a lot of you are doing the monthly subscription where maybe you charge a 100 to 200 or $300 a month for paying ongoing financial planning. If I quite literally don't have that money, I know that obviously you're going after people with money and that had something to pay you. But for the sake of this explanation, if I don't have money, you can't get blood out of turnip. [12:56.3]
And number four, when I talk about you, believe I can solve your problem, it isn't as much about selling as it is clearly demonstrating what you do and who you help. If you've been through how to get clients with LinkedIn, you know how important this is, I'm currently developing something that will be about how financial advisors can improve their websites, what you do and who you help is the single most important thing you can put on your marketing materials. And this is why financial advisors would niches tend to do better because having a niche reinforces the belief that you are the right financial advisor for people in that niche. And finally, the nail on the coffin, which is condition five. You want to choose me over your alternatives. This is also related to having a niche, because if you're a generalist financial advisor and you're competing with 10 other generalist financial advisors, well, the person who is looking at you and looking at the alternatives, that person doesn't have a reason to choose you over the alternatives. And if you use sleazy sales techniques and your alternatives, AKA your competitors don't, well, your prospective clients are going to choose the alternatives over you. Why? Because prospective clients, they have a visceral reaction to most of the popular sales techniques, especially when it comes to financial advice. [14:11.9]
And that's why the most successful financial advisors, I know what they follow, what I like to call anti-sales methods. And the first step is to reject most traditional sales advice like we're talking about in this podcast here. But when it comes to these sleazy sales methods, let me two that come to mind. The very first one is the either or close. So, when someone says, oh, what would be a better time for you to meet? Would it be Tuesday at one time clock or Wednesday at three o'clock. It's like, oh, congrats. You read a sales book and you know, the either or close, let me give you a golf clap. You're so smart. The second one is the out of 10 close, where you say, on a scale of one to 10, how do you feel about this meeting or on a scale of one to 10, how likely are you to commit to this financial planning process? So, like, oh Great. Wow, you’ve read a different sales book from 1982 and you know, the one to 10 close. Congrats, another golf clap! And when people use closes like that, it just shows that you're trying to manipulate your prospective clients. And it's never a good feeling. So let me move on. That was number four, the terrible sales advice, which was you need a coach or a mentor. You absolutely, do not. [15:22.6]
And number five, the last piece of terrible sales advice I'm gonna talk about in this podcast episode this week is the more sales tactics you learn the better. Wrong! I frequently talk about tactics versus strategies. You're not really selling at all. You're solving problems. To explain, I want to bring you to one of my favorite sales books. This is like a cheesy closing the sale type book. It's actually 10 Greatest Salespersons by Robert L Shook, and it's an old book. It's probably on Amazon. You can get a used copy for like $1 or $2. Probably it's it's an old book. It was originally published in 1978. I actually have a first edition copy and it contains timeless wisdom about sales from across multiple industries, ranging from cars to computers. So, it's not financial advice. In fact, I don't think maybe there is one insurance person in there, but I don't think there's a traditional financial planner or financial advisor in that book. [16:20.1]
And a specific salesperson I first learned about from this book was a guy named Buck Rogers. And sadly, I never got to meet him because he passed away in 2014, but he left a huge impression on me with his chapter in this book. He was IBM's Vice president of marketing while working and then he served as a director on seven corporate boards during his retirement, if you can call it that a retirement where you're serving on these boards. And here's a direct quote from him in the book, “many are under the impression that there's a certain mystique about a computer IBM's most widely recognized product. That's a fallacy. We simply supply a solution to our customers problems.” Realize that was selling computers, which are complex to begin with. In the 1970s, an era in which people didn't know much about them and were quite frankly intimidated by them. This is not like you're selling computers in 1990s or the early 2000’s where it was still relatively early, but people had an idea. They had computers at the office, they were familiar with them. He was selling them in the 1970s. And I like this quote because I see a direct parallel with selling financial services. [17:28.9]
A financial plan or a product can be mysterious, it can be intimidating and it can make your prospective client's nervous, just like computers did for his prospective clients back in the 1970s. But the key is to focus on them and their problems instead of whatever it is you offer. If you can effectively communicate how, you solve your prospect's problems, selling becomes easier. For example, a Roth IRA is a solution. It is a way to prevent people from leaving uncle Sam a tip. That is the problem. The problem is giving uncle Sam more than you need problem, just to be super clear. Problem, problem, problem. The Roth IRA is the solution. You wouldn't necessarily go in talking about the Roth IRA, but you would go in talking about how people are paying uncle Sam more than they need to. A life insurance policy is a solution. It is a way for people to ensure their families don't endure financial hardship in the event of their death. That is the problem. So, you're focusing on the financial hardship. You are not focusing on the insurance policy. Let me give you one more. [18:29.7]
A financial plan is a solution. It gives people clear next steps so; they don't feel overwhelmed by their lack of direction. That's the problem. People feel overwhelmed, they don't have a clear sense of direction. That is the problem, that's what you want to focus on. You do not want to focus on the financial plan itself. And I could give example after example, my point is that the best salespeople aren't really selling at all, they're just providing clarity about how they solve problems. And if you want even more help about sales and selling for financial advisors, I encourage you to go over to TheAdvisor Coach.com/products and check out 37 sales tips for financial advisors. It's a book written literally for financial advisors about selling and has got 37 of the best sales tips I've ever been able to wrangle up. So, if this is even somewhat interesting to you, I encourage you to go check that out. [19:20.0]
And that wraps up The Terrible Pieces of Sales Advice. Do you have any more that you would add? Email me at email@example.com and let me know what are some terrible, stupid, silly, awful sales advice you've been told in your career and I'll catch you next week. [19:36.3]
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