10 Great Communications Tips for Financial Services Sales Agents
With the financial services industry undergoing something of a transformation, effective communication skills have become more important than ever. It is estimated that 2 trillion in wealth will change hands over the next five years. Given that 90% of new heirs switch their financial advisors, there is a huge opportunity for financial services sales agents to find new clients during this period of generational change.
While an impressive skill set, market knowledge, and maths skills are important, financial services sales agents will not succeed without excellent communication skills. To help you make the most of this coming opportunity, we have put together a list of 10 expert communication skills, the best financial services sales agents don’t leave home without!
1. Identify client preference. Having primarily dealt with an older audience, your previous clients might have preferred a face to face meeting or telephone call. With the influx of millennial investors in today’s industry, you will need to figure out the most effective means of communication. Remember, you will be dealing with a technically proficient client base who will expect a new type of client experience. A face to face meeting might even be seen as an inconvenience. Figure out whether video chat services like Google Hangouts or Skype would be preferable.
2. Keep the lines of communication open. Modern clients will expect open lines of communication. The days of the quarterly check in are nearing an end. Bear this in mind as you meet with prospects. They are looking for a “trusted advisor”. Proposing windowed or limited communication can quickly scare away your prospects. Let your prospects know that if they have any questions or concerns you will be readily available for a quick call or video chat.
3. Get to know your prospects. Pay attention as you meet with new prospects and clients. They will want and expect you to know their preferences without haveing to constantly remind you.
4. Go mobile. If a prospect contacts you while you are out of the office, are you going to be able to answer their questions or provide the information they need? Or will you have to get back to your office, log on to your desktop, access the info you need, before finally responding? If the answer is the latter, you will need to think about incorporating a mobile solution which allows you to access the info you need on the move. Untimely delays in communication will do little to win over the modern investor.
5. Maintain eye contact. When you do meet face to face with prospects, you should take care to listen attentively to their situation. Maintaining eye contact can be a quick win here. One thing sorely lacking in society today is listening skills. Most people, it seems, would rather check their Facebook feed than pay attention to the people in their company. Maintaining eye contact throughout the meeting is a great start here.
6. Don’t interrupt. This tip almost goes without saying, but you would be surprised how many financial services sales agents are in the habit of interrupting. Even if your prospect communicates at a slower pace than you are used to, it is imperative that you don’t interrupt. When you have started to grasp an understanding of your prospect, you can start to add your input.
7. Learn what resonates. Does the content you present to your older clients resonate with millennial investors? Older clients, for instance, might be interested in learning about the history of your financial service and how well established you are. On the other hand, millenial investors are much less likely to be interested in your company’s history. Chances are, they will have researched this information before you even meet.
As a result, you will just be wasting everyone’s time if you include this historic info in your presentation. Instead, you will need to keep the focus on what you can do for them. Millennials are more focused on themselves than previous generations and will be primarily interested in how your service impacts them directly.
8. Supporting content is key. Remember, today’s investor is well researched, self-directed, and always online. Providing prospects with the right collateral can be crucial to how they perceive your services. Leading financial services companies have started to invest in the digital tools that can help financial services sales agents deliver the type of experience the modern client expects. These tools can provide visibility into how content is performing in the field by tracking which content was used successfully in the past and which pieces of content did not perform.
9. Summarize. Another quick way to demonstrate your attentiveness is to summarize what your prospect tells you. This tactic will have the added benefit of helping you to stay focused and remember the prospect’s situation more clearly. It will also help the prospect to feel validated and to develop a connection.
10. Be seen as a safe pair of hands. Before you can claim any new business, you will need to develop the trust of your prospects. For purchases involving large sums of money, your will need to win the complete trust of your client. In order to get to this level of trust, you will need to demonstrate your ability to act confidentiality and show legitimate concern for their situation.
Useful Financial Services Sales Agent Resources
The Financial Services Industry is Investing Big in Digital Advertising
The “Greater” wealth transfer: Capitalizing on the intergenerational shift in wealth
TEDxSF – Scott Hess – Millennials: Who They Are & Why We Hate Them