Seeing things from the prospect’s point of view leads to business

In sales training, we are often taught to treat objectives as obstacles to be knocked aside as we march toward getting the sale. That’s not the only approach, though.

The logic is simple. When a client raises an objection, mentally step out of your body and into theirs, viewing the situation from their perspective. The solution you are presenting might be perceived by them as merely a product you’re selling. This process isn’t a verbal conversation you are having; it’s a mental exercise. Try these ideas to shift your perspective about what a client or prospect is saying.

1. My situation is unique. You are a financial advisor. You see similar situations all the time. Experience has taught you what’s considered the best course of action. The prospect has only their limited experience and that of close friends and family. They think their situation is one of a kind.

Your strategy: Admit their circumstance is special. It’s special to them. Fortunately, you have helped people in similar circumstances. Review what makes their situation unique from their perspective. Show how it’s similar to others you have helped.

2. I’m being rushed. This could be a big-city issue. Your prospect is not sophisticated. They have reluctantly decided they need an expert’s help. It’s taken them lots of thought to get to this point. Maybe their spouse said: “Go get help.” They are in unfamiliar territory. You want to close the sale.

Your strategy: Every encounter with a prospect or client must be the most important thing you could possibly be doing, the best use of your time at the moment. Smile. Draw them out. Get to know about them and their situation. “I realize this might be new to you; let’s learn together.” You are figuratively putting yourself on the same side of the table.

3. I don’t understand. I don’t want to look stupid. This can be more common than you might imagine, especially if you lapse into technical jargon. People rarely buy things they don’t understand. Why? Because if something goes wrong, the comeback might be: “If you didn’t understand, why did you agree to buy it?”

Your strategy: Compliment them by assuming they do understand! “You are probably already familiar with annuities, but I thought we might spend some time to review the basics as a refresher.” They will be silently thankful, especially if in your explanation you use the simplest terms possible.

4. I can’t afford to make a mistake. They know they need to do something. They’re afraid to make the wrong decision and have no recourse afterward. What if their spouse says: “You did what? Go get our money back!” The 10-day free-look feature in life insurance sales is designed to address this concern. 

Your strategy: Few investments or products are illiquid. Start by congratulating them on making a good decision. Detail the reasons why and how their actions address their issues. Explain the free look if one is available, but also explain surrender charges and why they are in place. 

5. What if something changes and I suddenly need money? It’s unlikely they’re putting all their eggs in one basket. Down the road, they would build cash value in whole life insurance. This usually has a borrowing feature. During the accumulation phase, annuities often have a withdrawal feature, perhaps 10% annually. Bigger amounts might incur surrender charges.

Your strategy: They might not see the big picture. Talk to them about their other assets held elsewhere. Is there liquidity? Talk about withdrawal features and accrued cash value. Let them know that although long-term investments should be left alone, there are options in case they have an emergency.

 Seeing the situation from the prospect’s point of view helps build common ground.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. His book, Captivating the Wealthy Investor, can be found on Amazon.

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