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Is SALES a 4-Letter Word?

by Bill Cates

Most financial professionals seem to view the words selling or sales or salesperson as dirty words. Do you? 

This probably stems from the many unfavorable stereotypes we hold for salespeople.  So instead of talking about sales, we talk about influence and persuasion.

I don’t really care what word we use; you and I are in the business of helping people make decisions that are in their best interest, that they might not make without us.  Sometimes a sale is made – they buy something from us. Sometimes they take an action. 

Brainstorm Selling

In today’s blog, I want to convey a perspective that has served me and many of my clients quite well over the years. I call it Brainstorm Selling. It’s a soft way to help prospects through their decision-making process.

When you hear the word “brainstorm”, what comes to mind?  To me, the word “brainstorm” means exploring many ideas without evaluating any one of them too quickly. Brainstorming is an exchange of ideas with no pressure to act on any of those ideas right away.

For 30 years I’ve taught that the referral and introduction process should be collaborative with no pressure. That’s what produces the best results.

You can apply the same perspective to other parts of your client acquisition process.

That’s what Brenda, a perennial top advisor (Top of the Table and Baron’s Top 100) does to perfection. Brenda told me: “When I approach a new prospect, I tell them, ‘I’m not here to sell you anything. Think of our conversation as more of a brainstorming session. We’re going to exchange a lot of ideas. We’re going to ask each other a lot of questions. There are no bad ideas and no bad questions. Together, we’re going to see if it makes sense for us to work together.

Brenda said that her prospects love this approach because they understand the concept of brainstorming—collaboration without pressure. Brenda told me that this approach frees her up to ask and say just about anything she wants and the same is true for her prospects.

Brenda explained: “This simple paradigm shift has won me more new business than I ever imagined, and the ‘brainstorming theme’ continues into the ongoing relationship, allowing us to do some very powerful work together.

I urge you to consider employing this concept of “brainstorming” as often as you can.  Maybe start with clients with whom you have a great relationship.  Brainstorm about a decision your client needs to make. Once you feel comfortable in that setting, start trying it with your prospects.  I think you’ll like the result.

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