Want Trust? Then Listen.
The key to winning and keeping clients for the long haul is a simple but profound secret. It’s not about how well you talk. It’s about how well you listen.
Action Selling teaches that before a customer will buy your product, your service, or your company, the customer first must decide to buy you. This truth shows up dramatically in the professional-services sector. When customers choose among financial advisors, consultants, accountants, or attorneys, what are they really deciding to buy? It’s rarely a product or a company, as such. They’re usually buying a person—an advisor they feel they can trust.
What’s the opposite of a commodity?
Most products and services are commodities, easily swapped for newer or cheaper versions. A trusted advisor is the polar opposite. Once a client regards you as a trusted advisor—a partner—the client stops shopping for alternatives. Are there cheaper alternatives on the market? Probably, but who cares? The relationship is far too valuable to give up in order to save a few bucks.
The question becomes, how do you earn a client’s trust? Certainly the client must believe you have some baseline level of expertise in your field. But given that, the way to differentiate yourself is to show that you understand the client’s particular needs, that you will always take the trouble to find out what those needs are, and that you see it as your job to find solutions for the client’s needs—not just to peddle your company’s wares.
You can’t do any of that by talking. You can only do it by asking great questions, and listening carefully to the answers, and then asking more questions until you and the client both agree that you thoroughly understand the client’s needs.
Now you can demonstrate your expertise in the only way that matters – by recommending a solution to a problem the client really cares about. If you can do that, you’re an Action Advisor. And clients who find you will not give you up without a fight.
Action Selling in ACTION!
In the world of professional services, it’s all about the questions you ask and the listening you do. A few months after receiving training in Action Selling, Gerald Blakely, a Texas-based financial advisor for investment-services company Edward Jones, had this to say:
“My meeting agenda is now based on the Action Selling process. I use Commitment Objectives to make sure I focus client meetings on what we are really trying to accomplish. And I am more disciplined at asking the right financial questions. That means my clients are doing more talking, and I am doing less.”
“When I tie back my recommended solution to the clients’ specific needs, they are much more receptive. Just last night I worked with a client who wants to buy a new home and new furniture. I showed her how we could adjust her investments to produce more income to buy new furniture, make the down payment, and pay her property taxes each year. By thoroughly understanding her needs and including them in my solution, I differentiated myself. She decided to transfer $700,000 from another investment firm to us.”
Contact The Sales Board to get information about how to make sales or advisory training pay huge dividends.