When I ask financial advisors or insurance agents what their biggest challenge is, the first answers are usually “not getting in front of enough qualified prospects,” “not managing my time well” or “being disorganized.”
Many times, though, they’ll tell me they’re really “bad at sales” or “bad at closing.”
When this is the case, it’s obviously a huge problem. You want to figure out what’s affecting your confidence in this area. Here are some of the usual suspects:
1. Fear of rejection
When someone says no, it can feel like they are rejecting you personally. If it happens often, it can paralyze you from asking for the sale with confidence — and prospects notice the lack of confidence.
If your goal, however, is to help and serve them rather than to sell them, then there is no rejection. Either they want the help you’re offering or they don’t. It’s just information.
2. You’re too attached to the outcome
When you desperately need a sale, you send out desperate and needy energy that prospects will almost always subconsciously pick up on. Some advisors call this “commission breath.” Something will feel off for prospects and they won’t agree to work with you.
You can’t stop needing a sale, but you can stop projecting that need by focusing on what prospects need.
3. Imposter syndrome
When you’re offering a prospect or client a product or service you haven’t offered before, or speaking with a client who is a “bigger fish” than the ones you usually deal with, you might have thoughts about not feeling qualified enough. Prospects will pick this up in your energy, or you’ll end up sabotaging your own sale by not being bold enough.
If you believe in your offering, speak boldly about it — no matter who is in the room with you and how little you think you know.
4. Worried about being salesy
This is a big one for many advisors. They don’t want to come across as being pushy or manipulative, and they confuse challenging prospects to do the right thing for themselves with being salesy or aggressive. So, they hold back on having the firm conversations they need to have.
Prospects and clients need to be challenged. If you believe in your solution, challenge them to step up. That’s not pushy; it’s being firm in your conviction.
5. Lack of confidence in your recommendations
Educating your clients is important, but they’ve sought you out for your recommendations. If you’re hesitant about selecting a solution because you’re not really sure it’s the right solution for them, they’ll sense that and hold off on a decision.
It’s better to tell someone that there were three possible solutions, but you picked the one you believe was best for them and explain why it was the best. Educating clients doesn’t mean explaining everything to them in detail and asking them to choose among them.
6. Believing that it is a closing problem
Finally, advisors still get hung up on the idea that they need a good closing. But the close is almost never the place they lose the client. A simple, “Should we get the paperwork started?” can close every piece of business when the questions asked are provocative, powerful and revealing.
Understand that sales is not manipulating people into buying your solution. It’s asking great questions, so they decide for themselves that they need what you’re offering. To make sales easier and improve your closing ratio, work on any of these challenges that are holding you back.
Sandy Schussel is a performance acceleration coach who has been working with financial advisors for more than 20 years, helping them break through to higher production levels. If you’d like to learn how he can help you, contact him about how to make selling the least of your concerns. For more from Schussel, read “Are you asking yourself the right questions to succeed?”
For more ideas to improve your closing ratio, read: