Building Your Pipeline: Are you a Socializer or a Sales Person?
Some of you might be thinking: what a silly question? And, besides, who cares anyway? Well, any financial advisor who has business development responsibilities should care – a lot!
Perhaps a different way to ask this question might be: are you the advisor who talks to your clients, prospects, and Centers of Influence about everything but business? You’ve known these people for years, and you are privy to conversations about their pets, travel plans, kids, colleges, and other family members. But you never get around to talking about their business needs.
If this sounds familiar, then you might be a Socializer. A Socializer may hit it off quickly with clients and prospects – putting them at ease with a friendly style and comfortable conversation. And in the process, Socializers may learn a great deal of valuable information. But sadly, they don’t use this information to help them share insights, build a financial vision, identify pain points, or position potential solutions – let alone close a deal.
So what’s wrong with being a Socializer? Nothing really – socializers tend to just not go far enough. Here’s the thing: clients and prospects expect – and want – you to be a consultative salesperson, too. They want you to ask the right questions, identify their specific needs and opportunities, and then make appropriate recommendations to meet these needs. They want you to take the initiative to find their pain and fix it. And if you don’t, they probably won’t respect or value you as a business partner. After all, nobody wants a financial advisor who is friendly but provides little value.
According to Harvard Business Review’s publication, “Do You Really Know Who Your Best Salespeople Are?”(December, 2010), Socializers make up about 15% of all salespeople.
So how do you know if you’re a Socializer? Here are a few clues: Do you find yourself talking a lot about topics other than business? Do you get a lot of personal information, but don’t know to bridge to a business conversation? Do you have an anemic pipeline ?
Management observation and feedback, customer feedback, and assessments can also be helpful in self-identification. My clients appreciate the awareness and prescriptions they get from the Birkman Sales Grid®. This assessment provides them with insights into their authentic sales style and how they can adapt that style to building their pipeline and closing more sales. After all, it’s great to be a natural socializer as long as you are also adept at adjusting your style to meet your clients’ needs and reach your sales goals.
Do you want to build your sales pipeline? For a free 30 minute consultation, or to learn more about The Birkman Method®, click here.