Too many salespeople are on a Quixotic pursuit of mysterious truths to drive their sales success. They want to find that compelling pipeline-filling cold call script, to learn the magic question prospects can't deny, to acquire the perfect solution coveted by all.
The thing is, the truths that unlock sales success aren’t mysterious—and are already all around you. Sadly, most don’t see them because they’re obscured by the lies we tell ourselves.
The lies you tell yourself are your most significant roadblocks to success.
I'm not criticizing individual producers per se. The lies aren't so much the result of you intentionally lying to yourself. You have been lied to by the industry, which perpetuates so many of the same lies. Chances are, you have come to accept them as your truth. (Yeah, someone owes you an apology.)
Admittedly, these lies are easy to buy into because, as with most dangerous lies, you can find a tiny bit of truth in each of them.
Lie #1 – This is a relationship business.
Tiny bit of truth – All things being equal, people do business with those they know, like, and trust.
This is hard to deny, right? It seems to support the idea of this being a “relationship business.” Here is where the lie obscures the truth. The key here is in the “all things being equal” qualifier. Things are only equal in a commodity business. DON’T LET THINGS BE EQUAL.
If you are competing with a spreadsheet and capabilities presentation, yes, all things are equal.
Instead of depending on a spreadsheet, capabilities presentation, and, ultimately, a relationship to earn new business, focus on your ability to deliver more value and more impactful results than your competition.
Remind yourself every day—this isn't a relationship business. It's an advice and results business.
Lie #2 – It takes 2 – 3 years to develop a new client
Tiny bit of truth – For way too many producers, their sales cycle does take this long. But it shouldn’t.
If it does take this long, it’s because your sales process isn’t creating a sense of urgency. It is also a strong indication that the producer has bought into Lie #1. It takes a while to achieve “best friend status” with a prospect. 🙄
It is up to you to ensure all things aren’t equal by utilizing a sales process that:
- Gives the prospect permission to expect more from an advisor than a spreadsheet, free stuff, and “good service.”
- Uncovers needs that are hurting their business.
- Enlightens them to attainable and impactful solutions specific to their needs.
- Shows them a clear path to bringing meaningful improvement to their business.
When you bring this kind of education to a motivated buyer, they will not want to wait 2 – 3 years. They are going to want to improve their business as soon as freakin’ possible.
Lie #3 – I only work on referrals
Tiny bit of truth – For many producers, the only opportunities they ever have in their pipeline randomly show up while they sit and wait.
On the surface, this lie sounds admirable. The reality is, this is a statement used by producers who are afraid to prospect.
Admittedly, prospecting is the scariest and most difficult part of a scary and difficult job. But, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Do you genuinely believe in you and your team’s ability to deliver better results than your competition? In your heart, do you believe that your clients are more successful because of working with you?
If so, then recognize that prospecting isn’t the rude interruption your fear it being. Instead, it is an offer to share business improvement ideas with someone who desperately needs them. If you have this kind of insight and ability and don’t make it available to those who need it, shame on you.
Lie #4 – Our service is what sets us apart
Tiny bit of truth – because they still operate in such a traditional manner, this is the closest many agencies can come to articulating a value proposition.
But answer this question. If an advisor/agency failed to provide good service to a client, what would happen? They’d get fired, wouldn’t they?
Providing good service is not a differentiator; it is a minimum expectation we all have of anyone with whom we'll even consider doing business.
Before you tell yourself Lie 4a, your "value-added" services aren't a differentiator either. They are another ante into the game.
Ultimately, all that sets you apart is “how” you work. Your value lies in your ability and willingness to figure out what a prospect needs, offer specific solutions, and methodically use them, ensuring each client gets improved results.
A healthy personal narrative
It's time to stop perpetuating the lies of the industry. It's time to remove the lies so the truths can take root, and you will have a reason for more optimism.
Wouldn’t the following be a more positive story to tell yourself?
- I am competing in an advice and results business.
- I will earn a new client as soon as they understand how I will make them stronger.
- My prospecting efforts aren’t an intrusion.
- Because I have valuable business improvement insights to share, I have a responsibility to make them available to those who need them.
- What sets me apart is my willingness and ability to do things others won’t, things my clients need to be more successful at what they do.
Cut yourself free of the choking vine of lies so you can grab the branch of what can be when you embrace truths of your success.
Photo by Elnur.