Selling Financial Services by Meridith Elliot PowellA Powerful New Course with LinkedIn Learning – taught by Meridith Elliott Powell! (me!)

I am very excited to share my new course How to Sell Financial Services” will be launched on LinkedIn Learning on April 24, 2018. A passion of mine, this course is the nuts and bolts of how to sell financial services. This course is for anyone brand new to the industry, those interested in taking their sales skills next level, and for leaders who need to coach and inspire a team to sell.   Here is a sneak peek at what you will find in this innovative video series.

There is little in life, other than family, that is more important to people than their money. They lay awake at night thinking about how to make more of it, how to save it and how to protect it.

That is where we come in, as financial services professionals we have the answers and solutions that can help our clients solve their most significant challenges and ensure they achieve their dreams. However, the only way to do that is to sell.

“The key to selling financial services is to focus first on building trust with your consumers.”

The key to selling financial services is to focus first on building trust with your consumers. In other words, investing early in building their confidence in you. Establishing their belief that the information they are gaining from you is of value. When your customers come to trust you, selling your products and services is much easier and far more rewarding for both you and your clients.

When you begin by building trust with your customers, you open the door for more meaningful conversations, more capacity to learn about your customers, and you are in a stronger position to build a long-term relationship versus a one-time transaction. Their confidence in you grants you the ability to offer multiple products and services which enhance their lives and help you achieve their goals.

To build trust with the customer, you must focus on connecting with your customers. You achieve this by investing the time to understand their goals, their challenges and what they need and want in their relationship with you, their financial services provider.

4 Strategies to Build Customer Trust

  1. Take A Genuine Interest – you begin selling financial services, not by focusing on the products or services you want to sell but be genuinely taking an interest in learning who your customers are. Asking great open-ended questions such as: Tell me a little about yourself? Or What do you do for a living? When you ask open-ended questions, you get your customers talking about the person you are most interested in learning about – them!

At this point of the relationship, you want to focus on asking open-ended questions. Here are some of my favorite questions include:

Tell me a little about your business. That is so interesting, how did you get started doing that? What do you most value in a relationship with a financial services provider? What are some of the most significant changes you have experienced in the last few years – professional or personal?

Those are my “go to” questions. When I begin a relationship by asking those questions, I set the tone that I am far more interested in my customer’s goals than I am on my own. Talk about establishing trust.

  1. Truly Listen – when you ask open-ended questions you get an excellent opportunity to listen – truly listen. When you listen to your customers, tell you about themselves and answer your questions two things happen. One your customers will tell you exactly what they need, what they value and how they want to be sold. If you are listening, this is critical information if you are going to close a deal. The other thing is again when you hear to what they are saying; you are sending a strong message that says this relationship will always be more about them and their goals; then it will be about you and your goals. In other words, you send a message that you are interested and that you care. When customers feel that you listen to them, and when they feel that you care, it sets up the trust you need to begin to build the relationship.

“The biggest communication problem is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply.” ~ Stephen Covey

  1. Act-On Urgent Need – when customers tell you what is most important to them and what they most want this is what we call “urgent need.” Customers cannot hear anything else you are talking about or information you want to share until you acknowledge and solve their urgent need.

Let me give you an example, let’s say that I come into your financial institution to get a car loan. In the discussion you are having with me about this loan, you notice that I have $150,000 sitting in a savings account. In fact, that money has been sitting in there for more than two years, primarily earning no interest. When I share that I do not have plans for the money and that I am not interested in using it to buy my car, you naturally are thinking about talking to me about investor services.

While as my financial services provider you are right, I do need to be thinking about moving that money into a product that will ensure it starts working for me. You need to understand that until you address my need for a car loan (the urgent need I came in for), I will not be open to discussing my investor services need. Why? Not because as the salesperson you are not right, but because when you dismiss my need as not urgent, it makes me as your customer feel unheard. When customers do not feel listened to, they do not trust, and without trust, sales becomes a one-time transaction vs. a long-term relationship.

  1. Plan Next Steps – with your customers urgent need solved, and their feeling of being heard established, you are well positioned to begin to sell financial services. You have built trust, the foundation of creating a long-term relationship. It is time to establish next steps. At the close of any sale, and most importantly after acting on urgent need. Let your customers know you will be calling them in a week, a month, whatever your time frame to discuss the next steps in expanding this relationship. Laying the groundwork for proactive contact is vital to ensure you keep the trust you have built and put yourself in a position to quickly sell your customers more of the products and services they need. My favorite line for this is “Thank you, Mrs. Jones, I enjoyed working with you today. I am going to give you a call in a week just to ensure everything is working smoothly with your account. Then we can talk about some ideas I have, based on our conversation, to save you a little time and perhaps save you a little money.”

This is just the beginning; this course holds so much more about how to sell financial services. By the end of this program, you will not only have built your sales muscle, but you will also have a powerful process you can use day-in and day-out to build your portfolio and expand your customer base.

For more information about selling financial services—I invite you to take my latest course called “Selling Financial Services” on #LinkedinLearning. You can get details on the course here