Selling Financial Products–Why You Lose Most Sales

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slippng through fingersIf honest with yourself, you’ll admit that you have lost more investment or insurance sales over your career than you have closed.  While at first this may not seem true because your brain likes to interpret the past to your benefit, most prospects don’t do business with you.  What do you have–300, maybe 400 clients?  And over the years you have spoken to 3000, maybe 4000 prospects?  Most of them have said “I’ll think about it," and disappeared. Your financial sales efforts have been largely wasted. It’s a conceptually simple matter to improve your financial sales batting average.  Selling financial products successfully is dependent on your explaining the financial product from the prospect’s point of view, not your point of view.

Let’s take the following example of selling annuities.  When I ask insurance agents why prospects resist buying annuities,  I am told, “they don’t want to lock their money up.”   HUH?  Every annuity I have ever seen is perfectly liquid–the policy owner can cash it in at any time.  There is no locking the money up.  When I make this statement, the agents then tell me that the annuity funds are locked up by the surrender charge.  “No,” I say, “the money is perfectly liquid” and if the prospect thinks it’s locked up, that idea got into their mind only one way–you put it there.  Because YOU view the surrender charge as locking up the prospect’s money, that’s what you communicate and you lose the sale.

These two issues are distinct:

1. having perfectly liquidity (as every annuity does, can be cashed in at any time)
2. the owner paying for that liquidity feature, let’s call it an “impatience penalty”

So we see that the money is NOT locked up, its just an issue of the prospect being sufficiently patient to take advantage of what annuities offer.  In fact, I sell annuities from a different aspect.

Once I present the benefits of the annuity, I tell the prospect “but this is not for you unless you are a patient investor because only patient investors can get these benefits.”

Prospect: I’m patient, really, this is for me (interesting how people want what is being taken away from them)
Me: You better be because it costs you if you’re not.  Look what happens (as I show them the schedule of impatience penalties).  If you’re not patient and you want to take your money out in the first year, it costs you 6% of your balance, so this is not for you unless you’re patient.”
Prospect: No problem, once I make a decision, I stick with it.

Now, the prospect is trying to convince me his is patient and won’t incur the “impatience penalty.”  Of course, because you’ve been selling financial products from your point of view, you’ve been calling this a surrender charge because that’s what the insurance company told you to call it (you’ve been brainwashed to think like the product providers tell you to think).  You tell me which phrase has more meaning to the prospect: “surrender charge” or “impatience penalty.”  And which would you rather do –- convince prospects as you have been that the surrender charge is no big deal as you try to twist their arm to buy OR have the prospect convince you that they are indeed patient enough for your financial product?

It takes some hard thought in a quiet place to determine how your prospects view the world and how you can best sell financial products and services to them.  I can assure that without making this effort, you will continue to lose most financial sales opportunities because prospects don’t share your point of view.

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