Let’s face it. There are enough challenges in bringing in business without us getting in our own way!
We’ll save the absence of using certain skills (like good call/meeting preparation, asking high-impact questions, etc… ) for another article. What I want to talk about today are the conversational blunders we fall into that sabotage an otherwise successful sales interaction.
#1. Minimizing language.
It’s amazing how quickly these speech patterns can kill a sale. What do I mean by minimizing? Words and phrases that diminish the value of your advice or credibility and the attractiveness of your offerings. Here are a few common offenders:
Hopefully this will…
Maybe we can…
I’d just like to…
There might be an advantage to…
That’s possible, but…
Sound familiar? Before you say no I don’t to that, how many of you have said to a prospect: ‘ I’d just like to offer you a second opinion’?
Most advisors who use these phrases truly aren’t aware they’re doing it. Where do these habits come from? They are self-protective coping mechanisms. We’re hedging our bets. Building in a safety net in case we can’t come through. We are qualifying our promises to lower expectations. And guess what – we’re successful! Prospective clients hear the insecurity. Their expectations plummet and they run for the hills. End of sale.
(Obviously don’t breach privacy laws by recording both sides, just record yourself.) Play it back and write down how many times you say each of the minimizing words or phrases. You’ll quickly discover what patterns you have.
Ask yourself why you are using those words. What are you afraid might happen if you’re more confident in your assertions? No financial advisor can guarantee returns. Instead, look for strong statements you can make with full integrity, such as ‘I will show you two strategies that have helped many of my clients reduce taxes’.
#2. Planting doubt in the prospect’s mind.
This sabotaging technique occurs when you unnecessarily introduce thoughts that create a concern that wasn’t there before.
Example: ‘Hi Mr. x, it’s John from xx company. We met six months ago at… I know I should’ve called before this…’ Right at the point of introduction, you’ve planted the idea that you’re sloppy in your follow up and you’re feeling awkward about making the call. The conversation is now a referendum on you, and you’ve already lost.
Don’t bring it up!
Simply refrain from drawing attention to it.
If you’re feeling badly about dropping the ball, deal with those emotions privately before getting on the phone. We’re all human. You can do what you can do! Forgive yourself and let it go. Prepare a warm, genuine answer for the delay – I highly recommend the truth! – such as: ‘I had wanted to call sooner but dropped the ball. I’m sorry about that.’ This shows you are forthright and human. This is far more effective than undercutting yourself with a mumbled, embarrassed apology.
#3. Talking past the sale.
At some point during the sales conversation your prospect says yes. But you keep talking! Piling on data points. Offering more arguments as to why they should move forward. Every second after Yes, that you continue to talk, you are instead presenting as inexperienced and insecure. Your efforts to prove yourself are doing the opposite. You had the sale and now it’s gone.
Be of service.
When we talk past the sale, it’s usually because we’re nervous and thinking about our own needs. Instead, turn your attention to your prospect and make it your job to truly understand their needs and concerns. By the way – that is your job!
Be fully present.
Listen deeply to your prospect’s spoken and unspoken cues. It’s all there. When you are present you will clearly hear their buying signals and know when to make your offer.
Tie it up and stop talking.
Once you’ve heard yes, the only words out of your mouth should be to describe and schedule your next steps!
When you stop sabotaging and get out of your own way, your conversations – and revenue – will improve!