I started listening to audiobooks, attending seminars and observing. As an outsider, I found the recommended sales techniques stale and manipulative. Here's how to prospect. Here's how to handle objections. Here's how to close.
There had to be better ways. Something was missing since advisors were always looking for more clients.
DiscoveriesI made three observations
- The teachers were often salespeople who failed
- The approaches predated the Internet
- The techniques were losing potency
- 2005: Zig Ziglar (selling products)
- 2006: Harry Beckwith (selling services)
- 2007: Seth Godin (modern marketing)
- 2007: Robert Cialdini (universal principles of influence)
ImbalanceIn the life insurance world, the insurers knew more than the sellers who knew more than the buyers. Even now, information doesn't travel freely. In particular, the buyers might not understand the downsides before signing.
This didn’t make sense. The Internet was bringing transparency to other sectors. Anyone with a web browser had instant access to previously-unavailable information from insiders.
Since the inner workings of the insurance world would eventually be known, why not help? In Feb 2007, I started the Riscario Insider blog to blast the walls away
I figured that advisors would stand out if they started sharing the best of what they knew for free via blogging. I thought this ongoing generosity would invoke reciprocity,create a lasting competitive edge and build trust.
I didn't have research to back up my hypothesis until Dan Pink wrote To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others.
Think PinkDan makes the point that we're all in selling. Don’t cringe since selling has changed.
Dan observes that the information asymmetry — buyers knowing more than sellers — has generally disappeared. I've said we're moving from buyer beware to seller inform. Since he’s a lawyer, he used Latin to say we’re moving from caveat emptor (buyer beware) to caveat venditor (seller beware).
Dan says the ABCs of selling have changed from Always Be Closing to
- Attunement: build rapport
- Buoyancy: be resilient to deal with rejection
- Clarity: help buyers discover issues they may not have detected
To Sell Is Human is a must read, a must re-read and a must act-upon. Imagine selling becoming noble. Even for insurance.
- To Sell Is Human: Amazon, Dan Pink’s website, my Amazon review
- To Sell Is Human review by Business Books (Mar 2013) (new)
- Dan Pink on the new rules of selling in the information age (Entrepreneur, Apr 2013) (new)
- Design-make-sell: test if your market exists
- Let’s get real: bringing ORDER to sales chaos
- image courtesy of Yvonne Bogdanski