Insights from the field
Since this is a blog post I’ll get right to it. Not enough emphasis is being placed on closing. The reasons we typically hear range from a fear of being too salesy to the reluctance to confront the mortality of a deal. Flashbacks to Alec Baldwin’s famous “A-B-C” sales office scene in Glengarry Glen Ross also add to the pall. But to understand how to improve this, it’s important to understand some of the success factors that drive high close ratios:
1. Prospect fits criteria of past success and aligns with core competencies.
2. Initial contact came via credible outreach or respected referral.
3. Rapport was built and an authentic connection made.
4. Dialog revealed a true need or aspiration not yet met consistent with success factor #1.
5. Other influencers in the sales process were identified.
6. Several solution ideas were exchanged and feedback provided.
It's at Next where all the trouble starts. Is the client supposed to ask for the order? Does the client know that they are at the end of your process?
What we recommend is a meeting among parties that acts as a collective gathering of where everyone is in the relationship. We call this meeting The Relationship Review™. It’s an agenda as much as it is a conversation designed to do one thing: get the client to realize that it’s time to decide. Together you’ve left no stone unturned and it’s time to act. Here’s the flow:
Bottom Line: The goal of this conversation is to continue to engage the prospect. More important - you want the prospect to see the full extent of your effort. This meeting should demonstrate the depth of agreement on key points, the uniqueness of the needs uncovered and the pragmatism in your recommendation. You want to create the impression that you've both been diligent. The ask then, is very simple. You have demonstrated your/your firms’ commitment – now you are simply asking for theirs.
Need to improve the closing skills on your team? Check out our program Taking the Stress Out of Asking for the Business. Delivered online or at a location of your choice! Click here to learn more: www.billwaltonsalestraining.com/uploads/2/6/7/2/26723831/wmfactsheetpack-04-07-18_1.pdf
The perceived value of sales management and the nature of the role have morphed over the years. From the “top closer” to “product expert” to "administrator", the role is being redefined as there has never been a more dire mandate for new client acquisition.
Investing in sales leadership can yield top line revenue gains of up to 29% - Wilson Learning
To get there, help sales leaders adopt these 4 roles that are helping firms grow their topline:
Role 1: Enabler of Success
The bottom line - sound sales and performance management works best when it supports striving rather than keeping score. If you’re hiring right, your best people want to see the connection of their work to strategy, and strategy’s connection to value for clients. Your moderate (“movable middle”) performers need your coaching and training to help them get to their next level of performance. These four roles applied simultaneously will help your sales teams get there.
Click here to learn more about how Bill Walton Sales Training can help you develop high performing sales leaders in your organization: https://www.billwaltonsalestraining.com/wealth-management1.html
So here we are in the second quarter of 2018. If your numbers are on track – excellent! I was always a big fan of frontloading my sales year so I’m sure there’s a lot of you out there that aren’t satisfied. So here’s an entry that might help boost your close rates a bit. According to research from our last book, Taming the Four Headed Dragon, division and complex managers reported that less than 30% of advisors were closing prospects on an outcome. Likely fearing rejection or appearing too pushy, they’re letting too many opportunities sit on the pipeline with no defined path to next.
It’s all in how you create “fit”
Prospects know that any wealth management firm still standing is capable. But clients aren't buying on value proposition and history. They are buying based on fit. When there’s fit, prospects are likely to take action. When there’s fit, they share more. And when prospect’s share more, you receive a salesperson’s greatest gift– the client’s spoken words.
Use the CPS™ model to close on “fit”
A reliable way to sell around fit is to design prospect conversations around a specific client type with an associated set of problems that your firm’s solutions can address. We created a framework for closing on fit and it's called CPS™ – Client Type-Problem-Solution. By engaging in conversations grounded in who they are, their dissatisfaction with the current state (or goals not yet met), you create fit for an eventual recommendation because there’s context in the dialogue. Here are a few examples of how you can achieve greater fit based on some of client types our clients are engaging:
Messaging Example – Using CPS™ for Fit
So that's the theory on CPS. Here is some sample language to consider when designing your next conversation with a new prospect:
“Mr. and Mrs. Tyson thanks for meeting with me today. I was thinking about our last conversation about your honeymoon and your excitement for your future together – congratulations again. We work with many newly married couples that for the first time are thinking about comingling finances and planning for a future beyond just them.” [CLIENT TYPE]
“These clients think they have it covered with the numerous retirement accounts between them. But what we are finding is that many of these couples’ holdings are not asset allocated and thus hedged against market downturns or focused on a future goal like college or a second home.” [PROBLEM]
“So we help couples in your situations in a few ways. We ease them into the concept of combined finances by talking about joint goals and the timeframes for them. We tap into their investor personality and determine where each party might to retain some independence with their investments. I had a couple recently agree to start an IRA together with a few target dates mutual funds. They were pleased to able to take a step forward together while retaining some flexibility for each other.” [SOLUTION FIT]
Look for part two of the series as we talk about structuring the closing meeting. To learn more about our approach to closing, download a free chapter on closing from our book Taming the Four Headed Dragon.
Bill Walton Sales Training has over 60 years of collective Fortune 500 company experience in Sales, Sales Training and Field Sales Management. Our specialty is preparing individuals and organizations to present their value propositions in a way that results in higher close ratios. Our team are un-blurring the lines of differentiation between their client's fiercest competitors.