7 tips on how to succeed in selling financial services

Aug 30th '19

When it comes to sales, selling on the phone is not the same as selling in person. Understanding this will change how you conduct your sales pitch, in terms of your approach, and how you interact with your potential and existing clients.


Despite online interaction continuing to impact how we do business and technology improving traditional business practices, human interaction is still one of the most effective ways to make a connection and close a prospective deal.  A personal phone call can result in getting someone’s attention much quicker, allowing genuine interaction and creating a real conversation, where specific questions can be asked, and possible solutions offered.


In selling financial services, three key obstacles face sales professionals:


  • Generating new conversations with prospects
  • Defeating strong competition
  • Increasing business with existing clients


However, that is not to say that it is impossible to meet these challenges. Here are 7 tips on how you can propel more consistent sales.


Connect with the buyer

Before you can proceed with your sales call, you must ensure that you are talking to the right person, i.e. the individual responsible for making decisions associated with the product or service you are providing. You don’t want to waste time speaking to someone who is not integral to the decision-making process in the organisation.


In the initial stages of your conversation, you need to create some form of rapport and element of trust with the prospective client. Only then can you discover their wants and needs from a product or service offering. By asking further questions and speaking at length, you are better able to understand their full financial situation before recommending the best solution.


Lead with value

It is important to lead with an offer of something of value to the potential buyer as this generates more conversation during the initial sales meeting.


People are influenced into making purchases by factors such as brand loyalty, and emotional triggers, such as nostalgia and sentimental attachment. An effective tool in swaying a purchase decision whilst engaging prospects is storytelling. Strong and relevant storytelling and framing techniques clearly differentiate your product or service from the competition. By illustrating the conversation with an experience you have had with another client, or even a more personal account which concurs with the concept, will ensure that your pitch resonates. Emphasis needs to be placed on the fact that the value the client receives validates the price.


Gaining personal trust with the prospect is persuasive in selling. If a product or service is endorsed by people the prospective client knows, for example, friends and family, you can be more influential in your role.


Educate – solve the problem

On approaching the selling conversation, it is important to gauge their interest so that they want to hear more about what you do. The key is to keep it simple and easy to understand – focus on engaging and educating the client. Involve the client in the conversation by asking questions. Be objective as possible when providing information or options. People feel better when they find out information or solutions that address them and their business – they pay more attention.


By facilitating client participation, broader discussion and requesting feedback the customer feels a sense of control in problem-solving discussions, potentially leading to a purchase decision. However, the conversation emphasis should be placed on your value proposition.


This style of communication will not only reassure the client, but also other parties within the client’s network, such as advisers, and allow greater understanding of what you can do to help them achieve their goals.


Discuss opportunities – convince buyers you’re the best choice

As fear and risk make up a considerable part of financial services sales, it is crucial to assure clients that you can help them reduce risk through your products and services. This is an opportunity to share examples of how you have helped other clients overcome hurdles. These examples can illustrate clearly that you can genuinely deliver what you promise to and demonstrate why you are the best choice.


By persuading clients with your new ideas, perspectives, insights and expertise, you are, ultimately, going to achieve the sale. Therefore, you can highlight this with insights you have learned working with other clients in similar situations.


A point to note though, collaboration doesn’t mean agreeing with everything your client says. It’s more productive to let go of their suggestions and provide a new perspective – a key differentiator against the tough competition.


Ensure clients know all about your products/services

All too often it is assumed by financial advisers and salespeople that clients know more about them than they actually do. If you offer a range of products and services, it is more likely that only a handful are genuinely aware of all the products and services you provide. It would not be unusual for many of your clients to use another provider for some of the services you offer.


Therefore, it’s in your best interest to communicate an overview of your products and services offered with sufficient knowledge on each and highlight product or service differences between yourself and competitors. Bear in mind though that expert knowledge is not necessary as your client can be referred to the designated expert within your organisation.


Create and build relationships

Understanding your client is important to form a business relationship. Understanding your client’s goals is essential to base recommendations on where you can provide further assistance.


This encompasses your clients’ needs (for example, in personal banking, a deposit account, savings or life insurance) but also their aspirations (such as starting a business, early retirement or expansion abroad). These aspirations will only surface during conversations where you have asked the client, and you have developed an ongoing relationship. Recognition of clients’ aspirations enables you to provide insight on how you can help them achieve their objectives.


Carrying out a fact-finding mission to identify opportunities that exist within a relationship allows you to learn more about the client – uncovering financial needs means more opportunities. Building a relationship with prospects and existing clients should be a continuous process. By taking the time to get to know them through interaction, for example, hosting client events, will lead to more opportunities and new business.


Be proactive

In order to enhance your relationship, it is vital to keep in touch with your clients. Lack of contact by some sales professionals may be deliberate to avoid being too pressurised in their sales approach. However, by staying in regular contact means maintaining consistent sales, revealing new opportunities and keeping clients away from the competition.


Making your clients feel important and not as if they are just another business transaction, will encourage them to open up and ask advice. This will, ultimately, pave the way for you to request referrals from satisfied clients without feeling awkward about it.


Undoubtedly, selling in the financial services sector is challenging. By following the above as a process, you could find it easier to grow your client base through setting up meetings and acquiring new clients.


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