How To Sell Without "Selling"

Don't want to use those aggressive sales techniques and tactics? Here's how to sell without "selling" or being pushy.

Marketing is defined as the action or business of promoting and selling products or services. Selling is a marketing function that pairs your products and services with client wants and needs. At its most basic level, it is an exchange of money for goods and services, but you have to get to the exchange part ! Here's how you can sell without being pushy and scaring prospects away.

Your Foundation: Technical Knowledge.

There seems to be this romanticized notion of the “born salesperson”, who can sell anything under the sun. He/she says the right words, does the right things, and magically closes every deal on the radar. I hate to burst your bubble, but this does not exist. The first piece of the sales foundation is your technical knowledge.

As a financial advisor, you have taken your Series 7 and Series 63. You probably have a few insurance licenses, and perhaps you’re a CFP. All of this is great, but you should be learning every day. New trends emerge, new products are created, and legislation constantly changes the financial needs of the people you serve.

If you know your products and services, you will be better at linking the solutions to your customers’ problems. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know. Imagine you sell cars. You never take the time to learn about the cars on your lot, so you falsely assume that none of your cars have Bluetooth capability. Then a customer strolls on the lot and just has to have a car with Bluetooth today! You are unable to close the deal because you never made the right presentation. You didn’t catch the “hot button” that could’ve easily been caught by a more knowledgeable salesperson.

While this is a simplified example, you should heed the lesson and never stop learning. Your insight and sales “instinct” will become much sharper as you easily link pain points to solutions and features to benefits.

Help Your Prospect Win.

Selling is about finding the other person’s problem and solving it. Not all problems will be readily apparent – part of this ties back to having the technical and product knowledge, but most of it comes down to asking the right questions that will lead to a correct identification of the problem that needs to be solved.

Always remember that your goal is to help the client win, whatever “winning” might mean for that person. The marketplace doesn’t care about your needs or what you want. It only cares about the value you can bring to the table and the needs you can fill. If you’re motivated by helping your client win, then you will always be the winner. If you focus on the outcomes you help your clients achieve, you will win too.

In order to sell without being pushy, you need to constantly cultivate win-win situations. Even if you are slightly pushy when selling, it's better to "push" someone towards a win-win situation.

Educate Them First.

Financial services aren’t something that’s necessarily “sold” in the sense that you’re pitching and persuading and closing every chance you can.

The problem is that you have to “sell”. In today’s world, we are so accustomed to buying things on an as-needed basis, but when it comes to finances, this spells out disaster. You must make it clear that investment/financial planning services are not something to pursue when you need them.

Because sales are about pairing what you offer to what your prospects want/need, there’s a large educational component involved. If you sell insurance, teach the prospect about the value of insurance, what it does, how it can protect them, and so on. Be sure to link the benefits to their particular situation.

A confused buyer says “no”. You must make sure that your particular prospect understands the value of your service in such a way that they can see the direct relationship to their own life. If you’re selling a dividend income fund, find out if consistent income is important to the prospect and stress the feature of a long track record and the benefit of peace of mind.

One of the reasons this tip is so powerful is because the educational content can be systematized and refined over time, improving your conversion rate. As you present the content over and over, you can ask questions and fill in any gaps you may have missed for future presentations.

You are a professional guide who is helping people along their financial journey. If you “sell” from a place of curiosity and teaching, you will go far.

How You Come Across as "Salesy"...

Here are some of the ways your prospects might get scared away:

They see your shelf of trophies and plaques.

Oh man, this is a big one and I see it all the time. You could be a master prospector, brilliant appointment setter, and incredible closer but still blow it here. Nothing else matters if your clients sit down, look around your office and see “Annual Top Producer” awards everywhere. The minute they see these, they will start to feel as if they’re nothing but another number in your sales goals.

If you have trophies in your office, you might be reading this thinking that I don’t know what I’m talking about because you’ve still managed to convert clients. I dare you to take down all the awards and track your numbers over the next year. I promise you that you’ll see a change.

Related: 5 Ways to Generate Leads Without Cold Calling​

You’re too eager.

I get it. You want that client bad . You’ve read a few books and attend a few seminars that told you to think positive. You try your best to remain optimistic and start going above and beyond for the prospect, thinking that you’re going the extra mile in the name of customer service. You should serve your customers, but you shouldn’t act like a servant.

Be very careful – there’s a fine line between eager and desperate. If you’re too eager, you will come across as desperate, no matter how good your intentions are. Being eager is great. Being too eager isn’t. It triggers your prospects’ brain to say, “Stop! Something doesn’t feel right.” Once they get that feeling, it’s incredibly difficult to get them to move forward.

Some advisors come across as desperate because they push too hard for a meeting. While I understand that prospects will often dismiss advisors with a quick “we’re not interested”, some people are legitimately not interested. You can determine if someone is truly interested by asking the hard question: “Do you not want to set an appointment because you’re busy or because I haven’t established enough value?” If a prospect is truly busy, understand that it’s a “not now” instead of a “not ever”. If someone doesn’t understand the value in what you offer, either attempt to fix it or move on. Someone who doesn’t quickly “get” the value of a financial advisor isn’t likely to be a good opportunity.

You’re too easily and readily accessible.

This is similar to being too eager. If a prospect calls you at 6:00 p.m. on a Sunday night (for whatever reason) and you call back within three minutes, it might be hurting your sales.

Let me get this out of the way: in almost every sales arena, speed is power. If you can get in touch and/or follow up with someone quickly, your chances of making the sale improve exponentially. However, for a financial advisor, it tends to have a negative impact.

You want to create an air of scarcity and exclusivity. For most advisors, steep account minimums serve to create this air of exclusivity. For others, it means not being too easily accessible. Most financial advisors think that they should always be easily and instantly accessible. The problem with this is that it lowers your status, which makes you seem untrustworthy.