We welcome a new contributor to the InfluenceAdvisor blog – Mike Sciortino, EVP and Head of Distribution at CMG Capital Management Group.
Mike Sciortino has more than 30 years experience in the investment management business. Mike speaks at Conferences and writes often about how advisors can differentiate themselves, grow their practice, and improve their lives through time-tested processes. See all of Mike’s stories for CMG Advisor Central. Connect with Mike on LinkedIn.
By Mike Sciortino
Harvey Mackay said, ” You learn when you listen, you earn when you listen – not just money, but respect.”
When I started in the business I was extremely fortunate to have been afforded the benefit of consultative selling training. The simple act of being taught how to attentively listen to clients and prospects has made an enormous impact on my career. It has enabled me to present in a reassuring and reinforcing manner. In a moment, I will share some of these ideas.
This brings up a question I asked during some training recently. What business are you in? Yes, the correct answer is the “People Business.” Treating your clients with respect and helping them reach their goals and objectives, one at a time. What a great business!
It is a given in your practice that nothing happens until a sale is made. However, no one likes being sold. So, what are you to do? First, don’t view closing as an end but instead as the beginning of a long- term relationship with your client. Closing is simply the initial connection or engagement point with your client.
Over the years, I have found that the key to sales success is in developing the closing skills common to top producers. These skills simply help the client envision how they can move from Point A to Point B, one step at a time. Using consultative selling, often times this is a multi- meeting process.
What’s your daily routine to prepare you to have an impact?
Think of this as an athlete preparing for a competition would or an actress preparing to perform on stage.
What’s at stake for you and your clients?
Discipline becomes a lot easier when you have a clear vision of the end goal. What will the benefit be to you and your client if you can help them achieve their goal?
What will drive your business growth?
Are you disciplining yourself to prepare thoughtfully for each client meeting in a way that you know the client will be comfortable receiving your information. Do you need visuals, illustrations or stories?
What about consistency? Set daily goals for yourself to be successful.
Focus on three areas.
1) Number of calls, in-person or on the phone, that you make a recommendation, ask for the order or ask for an appointment.
2) Number of daily notes. Management guru Peter Drucker consistently sent out 12 personal notes a day.
3) Number of emails.
The formula for success in closing is that if you consistently fill the pipeline each and every day with qualified prospects this will lead to increased sales, increased assets under management and increased revenues for your practice.
Here are 3 closing approaches for you to utilize.
1) Think it over close
Once you have listened to your client’s needs and presented your recommendations, if the client is still hesitant to move forward you may utilize the following:
“Mr. Client, I understand how you feel in wanting to think it over. Before you do, let’s take a moment and review your reasons for wanting to take some time.”
“Mr. Client, obviously you wouldn’t take time to think it over unless you were really interested. So I may be clear, what part of my recommendation do you want to think over?”
* Is it _____?
* Is it_____?
* Is it_____?
Each time you ask “is it”, you fill in the blank with what may be a possible objection the client may be considering such as fees, timeframe, or other specifics of the recommendation. Listen carefully to the answers. This will enable you to prepare to address this at your next meeting.
2) Call back close
“Yes Mr. Client, I’ll be happy to call you back. Would Tuesday at 9 a.m. or Thursday at 3 p.m. work better for you?” The key here is to get a commitment now for a specific follow- up time later. It’s better to offer a choice of 2 specific times as opposed to one choice or an open option. Your client or prospect’s answer will help you determine their current level of interest. Viewing closing from a consultative frame of reference in effect positions you on the same side of the table with your client. Isn’t it better to know now whether you have a realistic chance of doing business together?
3) The Columbo Close
Years ago, there was a very popular TV detective show featuring Columbo as the main character. He appeared to be very unorganized and scattered as he questioned suspects. His trademark tactic as he was leaving was to turn to the suspect and say, ” Oh one more thing, did you happen to see _____ “( He would fill in the blank with something that pertained to that case) or maybe he would ask another question which totally took the suspect by surprise. Then he would carefully listen for further clues. I have consistently seen advisors utilize this technique in their closing presentations with great success.
With a consultative approach, is closing really the appropriate description of a client or prospect deciding to do business with you? After listening to their needs and suggesting a solution, helping them buy or decide on the next course of action may be a more accurate description.