Sales is a numbers game, we always hear. And that’s true. After all, if someone doesn’t know you exist, they can’t very well buy what you’re selling! So in order to build your practice, especially in the early years, you need to prospect a lot. Network. Be on social media. Book coffee meetings galore. And make hundreds, even thousands of phone calls.
What breaks my heart is when Advisors have that phrase, ‘It’s a numbers game’ drilled into them so completely that they do nothing to refine their process. They face the phone like an adversary, determined to ‘muscle through’ their call sheet each day. And in many cases, they work far harder than they need to.
Does this sound like you? If so, stop that!
Instead, pair your persistence and determination with some smart preparation and you can increase your sales results and reduce the number of calls you have to make to close business.
3 Steps to Include in Your Smart Call-Prep Routine
Know your audience. Whether this is a cold call or a warm lead, taking the time to jot down a few notes about them will help you connect as human beings, not as salesperson and skeptical prospect. This critical shift will change the way someone relates to you. They’ll drop their defenses so that you can have a proper conversation.
Even with a cold call to a residence, you should know a bit about the neighbourhood, shops and community centres, and current events that may be of interest to your prospect. Obviously you can go much further with warm leads. Make bullet-point notes on your common connections, professional experience and interests and where and how you’ve met. With the internet and social media networks available a keystroke away, there is simply no excuse for not being prepared.
Practice your opening. Your prospect will decide whether or not to commit to the conversation in the first few moments, so cut yourself a break by working out a strong opening. Practice it until you feel confident. Things to include: your name and company, where the office is located (i.e. ‘just around the corner on xx street’), how you met, and a compelling reason for the call.
Prepare to Relate. One of the hardest things about making calls is the feeling that at any moment your prospect may shut you down. It’s challenging to stay confident and relaxed in the face of that. One of the most powerful ways to make a genuine connection and keep the conversation going is to ask high value open questions. These questions also take pressure off of you because they get your prospect talking and relieve you from having to do all the conversational work.
Prepare at least two open rapport questions and two open financial questions.
A low-value rapport question would be “How are you today?” Unless you know the person well, this question will just annoy them. You’ll get a lot more engagement with something like: “What did you think of the speaker’s point about x at last week’s Chamber of Commerce meeting?”
A low value financial question would be, “Do you have a financial plan?” With this wording, you’re just begging for your prospect to shut you down with a quick “Yup, I’m good.” Instead, ask “How much financial planning have you done?”
And that’s it… 3 simple preparation steps.
The Holy Grail of sales conversations is the ability to quickly create a relationship with a stranger. These call-prep strategies will help you make that connection. But they just scratch the surface in the refinements available that will increase your book of business.
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Enjoy implementing these call-prep strategies and watch your closing rate increase!