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I get the comment from non-sales and marketing types that they don’t like to be pushy. They don’t like to manipulate.
Yet only the worst advisors make clients feel pushed, pressed and closed.
The best advisors never push. They are so good at reading people they never sell at the wrong time. When they do push, they can read reactions, so they never go too far – just enough to implement the financial plan.
Xerox research has shown that an average financial advisory sale includes three rejections and/or objections. The surprising truth is that most salespeople will stop asking for business after the first objection. They also stop closing when they feel they are pushing, not when the prospect feels pressed.
I spoke at a conference and asked the audience how many consider themselves a pushy, hard closer. No hands went up. I then jokingly asked how many thought the person sitting next to them was a pushy, hard closer. Half the hands in the room laughingly went up. I asked, “Is it you don’t like to close hard or is it you don’t like people to feel hard closed?” The amazing truth is most advisors stop pushing long before the prospect feels pressed. Top advisors on the other hand read the prospect constantly and sell the way people want to buy, not the way the salesperson wants to sell.
Here are three signals people use to let you know when they are feeling pushed. If you learn how to determine these cues, you can back off, gain more information and then close at a better time.
1. They will rub their forehead back and forth.
2. They will break eye contact for more than a couple of seconds.
3. They will blink their eyes rapidly, more than 40 times per minute. FBI research has shown when people lie, they feel stress. When we feel stress, we most readily show it with our eye contact and eye movement.
You may be thinking, “Kerry, I don’t get close enough to notice what their eyes are doing.” You should. Most advisors sell everyone the same. They spend more time thinking about what they want to say instead of the way the prospect is receiving it.
I was at a Baptist church in Texas years ago speaking on family stress. Just after I spoke, the minister of that church decided he saw a closing opportunity. He looked across the congregation and loudly said, “I want all you sinners to dedicate yourself to the Lord tonight. That means you. Yes, you.” As I looked at where the padre was pointing, three people in the front row rubbed their foreheads side to side. I really liked this minister. But I think he was kind of a new age thinker. He had a sign in front of his church with the words, “We believe in six commandments and four do the best you cans”.
Verbal stress cues
1. Stuttering and stammering
This is a change from the prospect’s normal behavior. When a potential client is articulate in the beginning, but then displays stuttering and stammering later, it’s a stress cue.
2. Pregnant pauses
This is again a change in behavior from the first few minutes. In response to a presentation or conversation, if they suddenly become inarticulate and pause longer than normal, they are showing a stress cue.
3. Vacuous conversation
Under stress, people may talk but say nothing. They will talk in platitudes or cliches. They will say things like, “Well the market goes up and down. Who knows what will happen.” Or voice inarticulate things like, “Well, I guess it’s a good idea, but I have made mistakes before and probably will in the future. So it’s hard to know what to do.” This line of discussion voices words with little meaning.
If you saw a prospect rub their forehead, blink her eyes rapidly, or break eye contact altogether, what would you do? If you heard a prospect stutter and stammer, or become vacuous in their conversation, what would you say?
Like most unaware salespeople, you wouldn’t notice these nuances in the first place. But a top advisor told me years ago that her prospect used those same signals. She was presenting to an auto industry exec who rubbed his forehead and became suddenly inarticulate. She saw all these cues in one of my videos. She noticed the prospect’s stress and stopped the presentation on the spot.
She said, “Something about this is bothering you. Tell me what you are thinking. Something is of great concern. What is going through your mind?” She said the exec told her he was just informed a few days earlier that his wife wanted a divorce. He was so stressed that he wasn’t sleeping. They rescheduled the meeting for the next week when the exec was less stressed. She sold one of the biggest cases of her career. All because she knew how to spot when the prospect was feeling stress.
The point isn’t using these words. The point is knowing when to use these words. If you can sell people the way they want to buy, no one will ever say no to you. But if you sell the way you want to sell, you may over sell or not sell hard enough.
If you can see John Smith through John Smith’s eyes, you can sell John Smith what John Smith buys. John Smith will buy a lot from someone who understands and reads his emotions.
I would love to send you a free video of “Stress Cues: How to sell the way people want to buy.” Write me at [email protected] or call 714-368-3650. We will spend a few minutes talking about your goals for increasing your business this year.
Dr. Kerry Johnson is “America’s Business Psychologist.” He is the best-selling author of 17 books including the recently released, How to Recruit, Hire and Retain Great People. He is also a frequent speaker at financial conferences around the world. Peak Performance Coaching, his one-on-one coaching program, promises to increase your business by 80% in 8 weeks. To see if you are a candidate for this fast-track system, click on www.KerryJohnson.com/coaching and take a free evaluation test. You will learn about your strengths and what is holding you back. Or call, 714-368-3650 for more information.