A sales process is a series of repeatable steps that enable a salesperson to move prospects through the buying pipeline – from the early stage of awareness to a closed sale. And if you want to be successful as a financial advisor, you need to know what it entails.
Sadly, many think selling is about “just selling your product or service to a potential customer.” And while that’s true enough, it’s also true that there are other things involved in the process—buyers who can be picky, overly cautious, impulsive, and even suspicious!
Think of the sales process as a rainbow. You have seven colors making up one unified arc across the sky. Each of these colors is like a step in your selling process, blending to make an unforgettable experience.
One thing you must know is this:
As a financial advisor, it’s your job to ensure that your clients are comfortable with their decisions. Many steps need to be taken to facilitate this process, but you need to remember that each client has their own unique needs and wants out of the sale. Some people may have a specific problem they need solving, while others want advice on what they should do next with their money.
Whatever your situation may be, here is a general guide on how to conduct yourself during this process:
7 Steps To Consistently Conquering Sales
Almost all sales processes have the same general structure of steps: prospecting, preparation, approach, presentation, handling objections, closing, and follow-up. Each step of the process is an opportunity for you to shine. And if you skip or overlook any, your chances of closing the sale plummet.
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of each of them:
Step 1 – Prospecting Phase
The first step in a sales process is prospecting. Prospecting is the process of finding potential clients, either by meeting them in person, on the phone or online. It is essential to know that prospects are not customers yet. They are people who have agreed to hear you out about your services or products.
Several strategies can be used to find and qualify leads, such as referrals from existing customers, networking, cold calling, and buying leads from a third party. Still, it all starts with knowing who your ideal customer is. You may decide that some prospects are not worth pursuing based on their needs or budget constraints. Others might be worth talking with further about your offerings.
The most important thing to remember at this stage is that the first impression you make will affect your future relationship with them. It’s also vital to present yourself as someone potential clients want to do business with, not just some random salesperson trying to sell them something they don’t need!
Step 2 – Preparation Phase
You want to ensure you’re ready for the sale at this stage.
First, gather some information about your prospect and their business—you’ll need this when it’s time to pitch.
Second, learn everything you can about your product or service to present it in a way that will resonate with them.
Finally, determine what approach you’ll take when making the sale. Will it be consultative or direct? The answer depends on the product type and whom you’re selling.
Step 3 – Approach Phase
In the approach phase, you initiate contact with the prospect, build rapport with them, and discover their needs. At this point, use the information you’ve gathered in the previous step to tailor your messaging. The key at this stage is not to pitch anything yet — just come across as helpful and get your prospect talking about themselves.
You also need to determine whether or not the customer is a good fit for your product or services.
The phase is where the sales process starts to take shape. It is the step where you find out if the customer has a problem that your product can solve.
You need to ask many questions here, such as:
● If they have a problem, what is it?
● How important is it to them?
● How long have they had this problem?
● What are they doing to solve it now?
● What other products or services do they use to solve this problem?
If the customer seems like a good fit for your product, then it’s time to move on to the next step.
Step 4 – Solution Presentation Phase
In this phase, you will present your findings, recommendations, and solutions. At this point, this is where you “sell” your product or service to your prospect.
The solution presented is crucial because it tells the prospect what they can expect from you and what you’re offering once they become customers. You should present your findings in an organized manner and give the prospect enough information to allow them to make an informed decision about whether or not they want to move forward doing business with you.
The presentation of your solution is likely the most critical aspect of your entire sales process. After all, it’s the part where you convince your prospect that they need what you’re selling and why it’s better than the alternative solutions they may have considered.
In this phase, you’ll have to do a lot more than describe what you’re selling. You also have to “show” them how their situation will improve if they purchase your product or service.
Step 5 – Handling Objections Phase
If you’ve been in sales for more than a few days, you know that overcoming an objection is the most critical part of your job.
When someone says “no,” it’s not only frustrating and disappointing, but it’s also an obstacle between you and the sale. The key to winning the sale is learning how to handle objections effectively.
Many different sales objections can be encountered during the buying process: price, terms, timing, competition, quality, and so on.
Here are some common objections you might hear when selling:
● “I’m all set.”
● “I’m not sure I need this product/service right now.”
● “I don’t understand what you’re offering.”
● “Your price seems too high for me.”
This step of the sales process may sound intimidating. Still, practical sales training for financial advisors can expose you to what currently works and doesn’t while introducing you to simple but effective approaches to handling objections, ensuring that everything goes smoothly.
Step 6 – Closing Phase
The closing phase of a sales process is a “negotiation” between you and the prospect, which aims to convert them into a customer. In this phase, you will finalize all the details for your product or service, collect a payment, and get the customer on board.
Why is closing important?
Closing is crucial because it helps increase your sales revenue and profit margins. If you don’t close, you’ll lose out on sales opportunities that could have been yours. The biggest reason why businesses fail is that they don’t know how to close deals.
You want to ensure that you do not rush this part of the process because it can be one of the most critical parts of your sales pitch.
Some people believe that closing a sale should happen at any point during a sales pitch, but there are some specific times when you should ask for the sale. For example:
When it’s appropriate to ask for the sale depends on where you are in the sales cycle. If you’re still in the education stage, don’t ask for anything until you’ve fully educated your prospect on their options and benefits. However, if they have already expressed interest in your product or service, then asking them to buy may be appropriate as long as they have provided all necessary information and have made it clear that they’re ready to move forward with purchasing your product or services.
Step 7 – Follow Up And Service Review Phase
This is a crucial component of the sales process for financial advisors. Follow-up and customer service reviews are how you keep your clients happy, engaged, and coming back for more.
You should follow up with your clients regularly to ensure that their needs are being met. It can include scheduling monthly meetings or reviewing their accounts as needed. You’ll want to make sure these meetings aren’t just about what’s going on in your client’s account—you should also take time to figure out if there are any other areas where they’d like some help from you or what problems they’re facing in other areas of their lives that may affect their finances (i.e., mortgage refinancing).
Summary: The 7-Step Sales Process
The sales process for financial advisors is a seven-step journey that can get you closer to the sale. The first step is to find more prospects by prospecting. Next, you need to contact these potential clients and qualify them based on their needs—this will make sure they’re ready for what you offer! After that, it’s time to present a solution that addresses their issues; if they agree with it entirely (or even partially), they may buy from you immediately. If not, you’ll need to address any concerns they have before moving forward with anything else!