Recall the last time you were chatting with a friend, family member or social acquaintance and they asked …
“What’s going on with the markets? “What do you think about XYZ stock?” “Do your clients invest in X?”
“Is now a good time to buy?”
How did you respond? Did you progress the relationship? Or was it a circular conversation that led nowhere?
Armed with the right sales skills, questions like these can become business opportunities. It’s just a matter of redirecting the conversation. Don’t let this be a question-and-answer session—seamlessly hook your prospect. The following is a dialogue model we coach to. We refer to it as A.R.M. Here’s how it works:
- Acknowledge: Respond to their question and provide some insight.
Begin by answering their question and providing a macro-overview of the current market and economic environment. Here’s a template …
“The recent volatility has definitely been a wake-up call for a lot of people. On one hand, you have [insert timely commentary]. On the other hand, [insert additional timely commentary].”
- Redirect: Pivot the conversation by making it about your clients.
Once you have their attention, turn the focus away from your personal opinion. Instead, talk about how your clients are feeling right now.
“What we’ve been doing with our clients is sitting down with them on a regular basis, looking at their goals and making sure they are positioned properly. Our clients want safe harbor—preservation of assets—but they also want growth.”
- Mini-Close: If you have your prospects’ attention, use an assumptive mini-close.
The next question is your magic bullet to hooking your prospect. It’s a question that elicits an easy “yes” from your prospect. “May I make a suggestion?” After you ask this question, wait for your prospect to respond. This is important—embrace the silence! You will have your prospect’s full attention and nine out of 10 times, their response will be “sure.” Next, use an assumptive close for a social business meeting—we don’t ask for their commitment again. They already agreed when we asked, “May I make a suggestion?” Now, we go for a quick close.
“Let’s grab coffee next week. Let’s sit down and talk about what’s important for you and your spouse financially, and allow me to be a sounding board.”
Armed with the right sales skills, we can quickly turn everyday conversations with prospects into legitimate business opportunities. Also, don’t forget your rhythm and pacing when using this—it needs to be relaxed and confident.
Kevin Nichols is a partner with Oechsli, a firm that specializes in research, training and creative services for the financial services industry. @KevinANichols www.oechsli.com