Avoid These Failed Adventures in Sales Training
Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.
Advisors don’t like to think of themselves as salespeople. It conjures up sleezy images.
They’re much more comfortable saying they are “educators” or coaches.
Here’s the problem with this mindset.
When you deny the sales aspect of your profession, you resist sales training. Why should you train in a craft that doesn’t apply to you?
How’s that working for you?
The critical first step
Albert Einstein famously said: “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.”
Many advisors complain about the lack of interest from prospects. Their phone isn’t ringing. They don’t have enough inquiries, so they don’t have the opportunity to convert prospects into clients.
Often the problem is two-fold: lack of prospects and a low conversion rate.
It’s difficult to persuade these advisors the issue isn’t their qualifications or the quality of their advice.
It’s their denial of the fact that a critical part of their job involves finding prospects and converting them into clients.
This process is called “sales.”
Sales is evidence-based
I’ve never met an advisor who didn’t have sound evidentiary support for their investment philosophy or the way they approach financial planning.
Those same advisors are often unaware of the hundreds of studies in the fields of psychology and neuroscience that assist them in their efforts to grow AUM.
Unfortunately, so are many “experts” in sales training.
Sales training failures
I recommend this article by James Pollard entitled, “Seven Reasons Why Most Financial Advisor Sales Training Completely Fails.”
The author discusses why prospecting is critical to success, and correctly notes that how you go about doing it is less important than consistently reaching out to potential clients.
I also share his skepticism about paying big bucks to “branding experts,” using manipulative sales techniques, or relying on the questionable advice offered by “referral experts” or those who tell you to sell differently based on the personality type of the prospect.
I share Pollard’s view that what works is more listening and less talking. I cringe when I hear advice that promotes providing a series of questions intended to get to a designated bottom line. Where is the evidentiary support for this off-putting, manipulative strategy?
The same advisors who pride themselves on simplifying complex financial issues often overcomplicate the sales process. Pollard believes it’s this basic:
More AUM. Better Relationships.
My micro-learning course will increase your AUM and deepen your relationships.
If not, I’ll give you a 100% refund of the $29.95 cost.
Volume discounts are available.
While simplicity is a worthy goal, most advisors need help with each step in the process. They want to know:
- How do I generate leads?
- How do I convert prospects into clients?
When vetting a sales training program, ask these questions:
- What’s the peer-reviewed evidence for your recommendations?
- Can you refer me to at least five advisors who had a positive ROI after implementing your advice?
If your New Year’s resolution is to generate more AUM, start by saying this to yourself: “My goal is to generate more AUM. To achieve this goal, I need to get better at sales.”
You will be well on your way.
Dan trains executives and employees in the lessons based on the research on his latest book, Ask: How to Relate to Anyone. His online course, Ask: Increase Your Sales. Deepen Your Relationships, is now available. It’s been adopted by TAMPS, fund families and advisory firms in the U.S., Europe and Asia.