Increase your confidence in selling
Why is it that when a client walks into our branch and tells us they have some money to invest we typically have no problem selling to them? I asked a group this question recently and their responses were very typical: we feel confident selling to this client because we know they have a need they want solved. The confidence comes from the client verbalizing the need.
My question to them was why do we not have that same level of confidence when we try to sell someone when we see the need, but the client hasn't said anything? Again the answers were revealing. They said things like, "We think we know the need based on what we see, but we can't be 100% certain. That uncertainty creates some reluctance to tell the client about the product we think will help".
The revealing part of this is when they said they "think" they knew the need based on what they saw and heard. Just because we think a client has a problem/need, doesn't mean they do. And even if they do have the problem it doesn't mean they want it solved right away. The client is ultimately the authority in what they need, and don't need, based on the problems or dissatisfactions they are experiencing financially speaking.
Increase your confidence selling
If we want to increase our confidence selling, why not just ask the client if they have the problem that we think they have and if they do, ask them if they want it solved? Wouldn't that give us the same level of confidence we have when the client initiates the process? Notice I did not say ask the client if they want the product we are thinking they might need. Unfortunately, as soon as you mention a product the client may feel like you are just selling and you run the risk of being perceived as pushy. Pushy because you are assuming they have the need you think they do, but you don't know for sure. So why not just ask them!
Ultimately, when you see a potential need that a client may have, you will typically respond in one of 3 different ways.
Potential Problem: Client with $15,000 sitting in a low interest account.
Potential Solution: Term deposit or higher interest rate investment.
• Order Taking: Do nothing, say nothing. Wait for the client to say something. After all, it is their money and they probably know there are options available to them but have chosen not to do anything.
• Hard Sell: Tell the client that they could be earning more interest if they moved some or all of that money into a better investment. Hard sell because you are assuming they do not have plans for the money and that they want to earn more money on the funds.
• Better Way: Ask the client if they want to see that money working harder for them. If they say yes, isn't that the same as them walking up to you and asking you to help them invest their money?
Potential Problem: Client coming into the branch during a busy lunch hour to pay a bill.
Potential Solution: ATM Card, Telephone Banking, Internet Banking
• Order Taking: Do nothing, say nothing. Wait for the client to say something. Surely they know there are more convenient ways to pay bills. They probably like coming into the branch. Besides, it's too busy to say anything; the other clients will get upset the line is not moving.
• Hard Sell: Tell the client that they could pay that bill through the bank machine, telephone banking or internet banking. Hard sell because you are assuming they do not like coming into the branch. Pushy, because there's an underlying suggestion that you would rather not have them come into the branch.
• Better Way: Acknowledge the delay and the busyness of the branch. Ask the client if they found it convenient coming into the branch. If they respond that it wasn't convenient ask them if they would be interested in hearing about a few ideas on how they could pay that bill and avoid the line up in the future. If they say yes, isn't that the same as them coming to you asking for a better way to pay bills other than coming into the branch?
Stop Selling and Start Helping
Increase your confidence in selling by getting the client involved in the needs analysis. Ask the client what's on their mind, get their opinion on how they feel about how they are currently doing things and you'll find the process goes smoother. You'll feel less like you are pushing something on someone because you'll only be talking about products to people that truly have a need and want to listen.
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