I enjoyed 23 years in the greatest business in the world, a financial advisor. I managed to qualify many times at Million Dollar Round Table ‘Top of the Table’ level and right now is a full time motivational speaker sharing ideas and strategies in 48 countries. In this article are some of the basic strategies I used over the many years to achieve the highest levels in financial services.
One of the most important things that I learned early on was to remember people’s names. This was brought home to me in a disastrous interview early in my career. I was going to see a top executive at IBM and he’s name was Eustace Harris. Well I remember sitting in the waiting room saying to myself, ‘don’t call him Useless’ (instead of Eustace). As you can imagine, I had just conditioned myself to do just that. What happened? I walked straight in and said, “Hi Useless, my name is Frank Furness, how’re you doing?” and throughout the rest of the interview I kept calling him Useless. Fortunately he had a sense of humour and became a client and up until today he still reminds me about that first interview.
Keep alert and pleasant, I mean it doesn’t matter what time of the day it is, you’ve got to be alert, you’ve got to be pleasant and let the clients talk about themselves. Put yourself into the position of the client and think about what may be some of the things on their mind just before seeing you.
They’re probably thinking, who are you, how credible are you, and how long have you been in the business, how qualified are you? Who is the company that you work for and how long have they been around, how credible are they, whose products do you sell? Are you there just to line your pocket or to actually look after the client? Are they going to see you again?
These are some of the questions that are on the client’s mind and you’ve got to clear these questions before you go any further. Now the way you do that is using a method called the ‘Ben Duffy’.
Many years ago a large tobacco account was up for grabs and every big advertising company was after this account. There was a fellow called Ben Duffy and he was also after this account. He had a tiny firm and he thought to him, how am I going to get this account, I’m just a small guy with a small company, there’s no chance.
Then he thought about it and said to himself, ‘let me put myself in the position of the buyer that I going to see. Let me think about some of the questions, some of the things that might be on the client’s mind’ and he wrote out a list of fifty questions, then narrowed those down to about ten questions and answers.
He went in to see the client and said, ‘in preparing for today’s meeting, I put myself in your position and thought there might be some things you’d want to know about me, my company, what’s in it for you, what’s in it for me and as such I’ve prepared a list of ten questions.’ Well the chap from the tobacco said, ‘well I’ve got ten questions as well’. They swapped lists, six were the same and he won the account.
For many years now I have used exactly the same strategy. When I met a potential client at the first meeting, I would reduce tension levels by getting the client to talk about themselves and then I’d say to the client, ‘you know Joe, in preparing for today’s meeting, I put myself in your position and thought there might be some questions on your mind. Who is Frank Furness, who is XYZ Financial Services, how long have they been around, what’s in it for me, what’s in it for you? Are these some of the questions on your mind?’
They would normally nod in agreement and this is the only time you will speak about yourself. This is the opportunity to sell yourself and establish your credibility. So if you’ve got a degree, if you’ve been in the business for ten years, whatever you have done well, this is where you sell yourself.
Next you would speak about your company, how well established they are and what sets them apart from everyone else.
Next I would say ‘ you’re probably also wondering what’s in it for you and what’s in it for me; well what’s in it for you, all I want to do is take a snapshot of where you are now, and where you want to be in the future and really just help you develop the strategy to get there. What’s in it for me; if you like what I’m doing and feel that I can do a credible planning strategy for you, all that I would ask of you is, should you be satisfied with our recommendations, that you place the business with us. Secondly, whether or not we do business together, should you find us to be professional and ethical, we would like you to refer us to other professionals such as yourself. (get commitment)
Right now I am an International motivational speaker specialising in sales and technology, but where I learned my selling skills was in financial services where I qualified amongst the top half percent of salespeople in the world at the Million Dollar Round Table ‘Top of the Table’ level.
I used all of the methods explained above and these are also detailed in my comprehensive 15 CD/DVD resource Sales Strategies for Financial Advisors
For more articles, please take a look at my website http://www.frankfurness.com and please download complimentary eBooks and software at http://www.frankfurnessresources.com
Frank Furness CSP CFP is a professional speaker and trainer specialising in sales and technology. He has educated, entertained and inspired audiences in 42 countries. His publications and sales CDs have been sold globally. He is the author of ‘Walking with Tigers - Success Secrets of Exceptional Achievers’ and 'How to Find New Business & Clients.'
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