Managing the sales cycle

Asset gathering is a crucial and delicate component of any financial firm. Increasing market share in a competitive environment where high net worth clients are continually approached with new ideas from competitors is what separates top bankers and advisors and top firms from those that will ultimately flat line. Timothy McCarthy, manager, Private Banking – RBC Wealth Management, reports
 
Holding a banker or advisor accountable to a sales practice standard that will increase productivity has long been a difficult and frustrating task for mangers throughout the industry.
In my own practice I focus on two important components, in particular, before every sales presentation.
 
First, I know it is important for my sales presentation to follow a certain flow. The same procedure with every client insures that I am dotting my Is and crossing my Ts.
 
However I know that every client does not like information presented in the same way and this leads to the second part; I ask myself how my client would like that information to be delivered.  
My sales cycle is as follows:
 
1. Prospecting
A good sales practice always begins with prospecting. At this stage I make sure that I understand my target. Thanks to the Internet I can easily find demographics for neighbourhoods’ including income and schooling, entertainment, recreational facilities, restaurants, business, etc.
 
With this information on my desk I am better equipped to understand the core values of my high net worth client who has made a conscious decision to live where he/she lives.
 
2. Value statement
When an introduction is made I make sure that almost immediately the client understands who I am, what I stand for, and how the company I work for provides a strong foundation; the products, services and tools necessary to help me manage my clients’ assets.
 
3. Personal profiling
Every advisor profiles. Every advisor must profile. A good advisor explains to the client the importance of profiling and a great advisor will ask for permission, never assuming that the client feels comfortable to divulge such personal information.
 
A simple statement as to its importance and asking for permission can build a foundation of trust and lets client know that you understand and have respect that they are in fact ultimately the ones driving the ship.
 
At this point most advisors and bankers understand how to ask questions to uncover assets. What I always add in conclusion is a question regarding how they would like the relationship to look.
 
Do they see themselves as partners along the whole process?
 
Would they like control of the relationship, ultimately needing me to provided choices and options?
 
Or do they want someone capable of taking control themselves and managing an account for them?
 
I let my clients know that I understand that not only are top notch products and services important to them but that with me they have a say in the way the relationship itself is formed and will work in the future.
 
4. Creating a proposal
“Trust, which is the most important factor of success is best built with three appointments,” is what an old manager and mentor used to tell me time and time again.
 
On the first appointment I am working to establish the beginnings of trust and to learn about my client’s assets and relationship needs.
 
Once gathered I ask for a week to develop a proposal.
 
Instead of jumping right in, a week to put together a solution allows the client time to gain comfort.
 
5. Offering a solution
With a week I have time to arrange a proposal and to match it to the style that my future client finds comfortable.
 
For example if they would like more control I may offer a few solutions for them to choose from.
 
I wouldn’t do this with a client who would like for me to manage the relationship. In this instance, I may show two solutions but explain the one I prefer and my reasons for feeling so.
 
For clients who would like to take part in the decision made with me. I will show a few solutions and together go over the pluses and minuses of each.
 
In each case, I always review our previous conversation indicating what the key points discussed before offering the solution.
 
These reaffirms that I have been listening and that I have in fact matched my solutions to their core needs.
 
It allows offers a chance for the client to indicate if I may have forgotten something or if anything has changed before I offer a matching product set. I find this is helpful in those instances that I need to make quick adjustments.
 
Closing:
At this point I will invite them back in a week for a final answer.
 
When they return a relationship has now formed and strong foundation for a mutually beneficial trusting partnership has been built.
 
I am sure to review our last two meetings before asking for the sale, highlighting their particular relationship style.
 
After paperwork and before they leave I ask for a referral and will set an appointment for three months for our first review.
 
As I said in the beginning asset gathering is a must and only referrals and appointments will assure a long and prosperous career in the financial industry.

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