business man handing prospect his business card (Photo: Shutterstock)

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There's no need to reinvent the wheel.  Plenty of salesstrategies have withstood the test of time.  Technologymay intervene as everyone looks for the silver bullet, thetechnique that always works.  But the Golden Oldies weregolden for a reason.

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Feel, felt, found

We often talk about overcoming objections. That implies sales isa battle, culminating in a victor and a loser. In reality, we wanta long-term relationship. We are trying to help the prospect choosethe solution as best suited to their situation as we can find.

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Sometimes prospects object, not because they don't likesomething, but because they don't understand it fully. Enter, feel, felt and found.

  • I understand how you feel. You are building common ground.
  • Other people have felt the sameway.  Your concern is valid.  This isn't thefirst time it's come up.
  • Then they found that…  Youexplain the answer to their question or their concern. More information was needed.
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Is there anyone else… who else would like to…

This is a technique for soliciting a referral from aclient.  It's phrased in a way to make it easy for them.Here's the scenario:

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A client calls. They've heard about a tax law change that mightaffect their retirement plans.  They only know sketchydetails. They've called you for clarification. Although you are notan accountant and don't give tax advice, you can explain thechanges, thanks to the background material your firm hasprovided.  Your client is happy with the explanation.

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You ask: "Is there anyone else who would like tolearn how this tax law change might affect theirretirement planning?"  The key word is "learn." Otherfriends have probably mentioned it too.  Yourclient got their answer, but might not feel comfortablepassing on the explanation to someone else.  What if theygot details wrong? What if the other person asked questions theycouldn't answer? They mention a friend.

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A similar version uses the word help. Your client called. They have a side business. They want to set upa retirement plan, get it open by year end. You get them thepaperwork; it's opened and funded.

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You ask your client: "Is there anyone else I can help regardingsetting up a retirement plan for their side business before the endof the year?"  They have friends who do similar things.They suggest names.

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You probably work with someone already

You meet people socially. They ask: "What do you do?" It seems whenever you answer, they get the words: "I already havean insurance agent" out before you finish speaking!  It'sa knee-jerk reaction.

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Try this instead: "I'm an insurance professional at (firm name).You probably work with an insurance agent already." There should bea dramatic pause. They are thinking "You took the words right outof my mouth. What do I do now?" You have regained theinitiative.

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They will probably answer yes, unsure of what to saynext.  You can ask how long they have been together. Wouldthey recommend them?  What do they like best about them?In what areas do they see room for improvement?  You canlearn a lot.

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If you wanted to continue in a sales mode, you might say: "Itsounds like you are very happy with your current agent. Here's my card. If anything changes, please give me a call." You'veplanted the seed. You can even jump to this stage after they say"Yes, I have an agent," skipping over the drawing them outquestions.

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These ideas often stay in circulation for a simple reason — theywork.

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Bryce Sanders ispresident of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNWclient acquisition training for the financial services industry.His book, "Captivating the Wealthy Investor" can be foundon Amazon.

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Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders, president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc., has provided training for the financial services industry on high-net-worth client acquisition since 2001. He trains financial professionals on how to identify prospects within the wealthiest 2%-5% of their market, where to meet and socialize with them, how to talk with wealthy people and develop personal relationships, and how to transform wealthy friends into clients. Bryce spent 14 years with a major financial services firm as a successful financial advisor, two years as a district sales manager and four years as a home office manager. He developed personal relationships within the HNW community through his past involvement as a Trustee of the James A. Michener Art Museum, Board of Associates for the Bucks County Chapter of the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Board of Trustees for Stevens Institute of Technology and as a church lector. Bryce has been published in American City Business Journals, Barrons, InsuranceNewsNet, BenefitsPro, The Register, MDRT Round the Table, MDRT Blog, accountingweb.com, Advisorpedia and Horsesmouth.com. In Canada, his articles have appeared in Wealth Professional. He is the author of the book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor.”