Lee Travis, chief executive officer of NMBA, explains why ‘selling' should not be a dirty word.
Successful entrepreneur and businesswoman, Mary Kay Ash, once said: “Nothing happens until somebody sells something”, and she built her empire with customer focus at the very forefront of her ethos.
But it is unfortunate that a proportion of the advisory community, in my experience, consider ‘selling’ to be a dirty word, like it is something that should be swept under the carpet and forgotten about.
Yes, I understand that trusted advice and service is of paramount importance. Uncovering what clients really want out of life, what is crucial to them, and planning to achieve it.
Making an impression: how to sell your services
But some things just need to be sold. This includes certain products but primarily, I am talking about advisers selling themselves and their propositions – commodities which have been undersold for years. After all, if this successful engagement does not take place then the meeting and, therefore, the relationship will go nowhere.
We are not talking ‘hard sell’ here or even a conversation about whether you are going to work together. We are talking about creating real value from the initial conversation that will leave the client feeling what it is really like to work with you, instilling their trust.
If we want to remain in business long term, we need to create clients to various degrees, and of course we want the right type of clients. After all, who wants to be given a bunch of leads for the ‘wrong’ type of clients where you now have a moral obligation to see them?
Some people do it better than others, which means there is obviously a science and art to meaningfully engaging with new clients to make them long lasting and profitable. It is a creative process, which is rewarding when you learn to love the process.
Being creative requires a certain state of mind and this plays an important role in successfully creating clients. Those of us from a direct sales background are familiar with certain techniques to gain referrals but a lot of these, I feel, may come across as needy, and that type of behaviour can be counter-productive. Neediness is an unattractive state of mind and will turn-off people.
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