Getting to Yes
As a professional in the financial services world, you’ve probably covered and discussed sales many times in your career.
We all know it’s important. It’s widely accepted these days that it’s a skill that can - and should be - developed, but where do you start?
Whether you’re looking to improve your own sales or looking for ways to improve the sales skills of your team, we see three common areas where most salespeople can improve:
- Become a Tour Guide - Often, we see people back down from “leading” or “guiding” the sales conversation. This is a common over correction to avoid coming across as pushy or even aggressive.
Prospects don't know what you know. They don't know what information they are lacking. What benefits they should be wanting. Or even what questions they should be considering. Yes, you want to sell them a policy, but if your business is sincere in helping people manage risks and maximizing opportunities, you shouldn't back down from leading the conversation.
What you know and where you can guide the conversation is the difference between someone who has coverage when needed and someone who doesn’t. Yes, it’s a collaboration where you’re checking in with the prospect to make sure they’re still on board, but it’s your conversation to lead. The decision to say yes or no belongs to the prospect, but the agenda and what needs to be covered relies on your expertise.
- Improve Your Listening Skills - We all like to believe that we excel at listening, but in reality, do we? Listening in sales is a special skill. You have to practice “active” listening where you’re engaged and completely in the moment with the client, but you also have to balance guiding the conversation.
You have to understand what you are listening for in a conversation. And what you are listening for is not just the words they are saying. It’s what they are not saying. It’s a tone in their voice. Or even body language that gives you insight into what truly matters to a prospect.
It’s easy, to get caught up in the technical details of what you are selling. It can even be complicated. But to truly excel at sales you must step back and listen to the client’s needs and desires. Are they ready to take the next step? Is something holding them back? When you do hear or notice something, ask them questions so you learn the root cause and their concerns. The earlier you hear something in the process the easier it is to overcome.
- Understand the Decision Points - Ever heard the question, how do you eat an elephant? The answer - one bite at a time - can be applied to the sales process. Too many sales people focus on the end result. Do you want a yes at the end? Absolutely! But you don’t get there by jumping ahead.
You get there by understanding the small yes that moves the prospect to the next step. You’re not trying to sell them a policy in the beginning. The first step, is to get them to simply agree to exchange their time to talk with you. Why would they say “yes” to giving you 10 -15 minutes of their time? Why would they say “yes” to giving you personal information? If you start to string together the decision points that get to the final yes, you’ll make sales easier for yourself.
Don’t pressure yourself into having to make the final sale. Focus on the next yes. It’s easier for the prospect and for you.
Look into ways to apply these three common sales skills and notice how your sales process is changed and improved. At times it is the littlest changes that make the biggest impact.