Interesting question, right? Imagine if I randomly sampled twenty of your clients and put them in a room together with one goal, to talk about you! You couldn’t be there with them – rather, you would be viewing these conversations behind a pane of glass. How would that make you feel? I’ve asked financial advisors this question before and heard all of the responses you can imagine: anxious, eager, confident, excited, etc… What is your answer?
Believe it or not, your best clients aren’t working with you because of the funds they are invested in, the amount their money has grown, or the products they own. They are your clients because they like and trust you. They like and trust you as an advisor AND a person. They appreciate the detailed care you have given them in assembling their financial affairs, but they also appreciate that you have shown that you genuinely care about them. They are happy that you have gotten to know them and their family. They are thrilled to be partnered with you, and most of your best clients view YOU as the Chief Financial Officer of their family affairs. Sounds great right?
Now if those feelings and emotions describe your best clients, say the top 20%, what do the rest of them think, let alone say about you? What are they going to say about you to others? In this business, we are challenged every day with going above and beyond the financial plans we assemble, to create a client “experience.” What are you doing to create that first class client experience in your day-to-day interactions with your trusted clients?
Do they receive unexpected and delightful gifts from you? Are their names on a screen welcoming them to your office? Do they get preferred parking? Do you remember where they are vacationing next and have a bottle of wine sent to the room? Do you work alongside them at their favorite charities? Whatever it is that you do, this is a good time to audit that “experience.” Now don’t get me wrong, you cannot provide the same level of service or experience to all clients… but take a look at that “top 20%” and “next 30%” (top 50% total) of revenue generating clients. Work with your team to break down what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a client for a year. Write down every communication, e-mail, text, phone call, meeting, event, etc. Find out where the gaps are and identify if your best clients are getting all they should be from your relationship. I promise you they are talking about it either way!
Here’s the Skinny,
I’ve been saying for years, “anything you ever do to earn income requires selling.”
There are obvious direct sales roles, but even the “best” of those have been re-positioned as “consultative selling” by today’s standards. Financial advisors may now be the best example of the consultative (and fiduciary) approach to building business (aka, selling), with attorneys, accountants and consultants in that same category.
Beyond that, no matter what the role someone plays on staff, sales skills are “still” required – even if you don’t think of them that way. Imagine a receptionist (the voice of your company), or customer service rep (CSR) dealing with both happy and disgruntled customers. Every situation you can imagine requires some sales skills:
- Helping a customer make a decision or choice of any kind.
- Handling a difficult conversation and/or delivering bad news.
- Getting along with co-workers.
- Solving problems and creating solutions of any kind.
- Project management and/or new initiatives.
- Thinking creatively.
- Interviewing for a job.
Simply put, revenue dries up and the world stops spinning without sales. My dad used to always say to me, “nothing happens until someone sells something.” But the trick is, people don’t actually want to be “sold.” However, they love to “buy” and they very much appreciate sincere assistance and trusted guidance in every situation along the way.
My point for sharing this today is simply that I read the blog re-posted below from Seth Godin (best-selling business author) and felt it was one of the better ones I’ve seen that describes the subtleties and broad scope for all that includes sales…
Enjoy & and may I suggest, contemplate:
Of course you are. You’re selling connection or forward motion. You’re selling a new way of thinking, a better place to work, a chance to make a difference. Or perhaps you’re selling possibility, generosity or sheer hard work.
It might be that the selling you’re doing costs time and effort, not money, but if you’re trying to make change happen, then you’re selling something.
If you’re not trying to make things better, why are you here?
So sure, you’re selling something.
Perhaps it would be more accurate to say, “I’m not selling something too aggressively, invading your space, stealing your attention and pushing you to do something that doesn’t match your goals.”
That’s probably true. At least I hope it is.
(But if you are any good at all, you are always selling something, especially through infectious enthusiasm for what you do.)
That’s the Skinny,