Sales Advice

Selling Credibility

Written by Cory Thompson for Gaebler Ventures

Truth sells. Once clients realize that your word is golden, your success in the sales industry will significantly improve.

Wondering how to get better at sales?

Selling Credibility

This series of brief articles is written for a prospective new financial advisor who wants to excel at sales, but the selling tips are relevant to anybody who is looking for sales advice.

The series focuses on ways to enhance your credibility. In our previous article, we noted that trust is the foundation of all financial sales. We talked about the importance of follow-through in sales.

In this article, we discuss the importance of being honest in sales.

Have you ever stopped to wonder why it is that there are so many disclosures, signature pages, compliance officers, on-line resources, ombudsmen, prospectuses and fine print in the financial services industry?

I had never taken even a moment to ponder that thought until meeting with a number of shaky clients that made it all clear to me: the unfortunate truth is that all this oversight is necessary because SO MANY PEOPLE FAIL TO TELL THE TRUTH IN FINANCIAL SALES!

Add this to the fact that a great deal of financial sales people lack sufficient understanding of their own products to effectively describe them to clients and you have a recipe for disaster.

As a new advisor, running your first few introductory meetings, you may quickly get a sense that there is uncertainty about what is occurring from the people across the table from you.

I found it even more interesting as a new advisor that I felt that same uncomfortable feeling even from people that I had known for years and considered to be good friends. The important thing to realize is that a great deal of your clients' anxiety comes from the fact that they don't trust you.

In fact, it is highly likely that many of them don't trust you at all. An important lesson learned here: don't take this fact personally. The reason they don't trust you is likely due to bad experiences they have had in the past with other people who were not honest about some facet of the service they were providing.

A very quick way to get past this roadblock -- always tell the truth to your clients, no matter what.

There were a number of times as an advisor I wished I could have simply told people what they wanted to hear. It would have saved some emotional pain for them (in the short run...) and made my phone calls much more pleasant.

However, I learned very quickly that one way to build a very strong client base was to do the hard thing and tell the truth, and almost always my clients greatly appreciated me for it and became even more loyal.

If you ask any seasoned financial sales person about obtaining clients you will almost always get the same answer -- referrals are the only way to go, and many veteran advisors don't even take clients that aren't referred to them. Why are referrals so powerful? Because a referral comes from a position of trust, and indicates that some level of trust already exists between a referring client and their advisor.

It is not the east way to go, but I promise as a new financial advisor it is the better way to go.

Always tell the truth, and it will pay off.

Cory Thompson enjoys writing about topics of interest to entrepreneurs and small business owners. He is an MBA graduate from Weber State University and is currently working as a contracting officer at Hill Air Force Base in Roy, Utah.

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