Susan has been a financial planner for about a year, and is always looking to meet with new prospects, hoping to turn them into clients. Recently she received a referral from one of her strategic partners, called the person, and got an appointment to meet.

Susan’s First Meeting with a Prospect

At the meeting Susan first talked about the person they know in common, and then she got right down to business. She pulled out her iPad and showed her prospect a Powerpoint presentation about her firm, her background, the services she can provide, the benefits of these services, and how her company’s fees are structured. Susan then asked if her prospect had any questions and hoped that he could make a decision then about working together. As she expected, her prospect said he’d have to think it over (they always do) and could she get back to him in two weeks? Susan left the meeting feeling that it had gone very well, but was not surprised that when she called back in two weeks, her prospect said he needed more time to think it over. Susan was encouraged that he sounded positive.

Susan’s Misguided Beliefs

Susan truly believed that after this meeting she had a good chance to make this person a client. Rather than focus on what Susan did wrong in this process, let’s focus on Susan’s beliefs and how they are preventing her from becoming successful in sales.

1. My presentation skills are my most important and effective selling tool. When you are presenting, you are not listening. When you are ‘educating’, you are talking. You need to be asking questions to learn about and understand your prospect’s issues, challenges and pain. By just presenting, your prospect will quickly realize that you aren’t bringing him any value. Don’t present: ask questions and investigate what is important to your prospect and how you can be a solution.

2. My company’s services and their benefits differentiate me from my competition and give me an advantage. If you rely on features and benefits, you are probably going to sound like everyone else and your prospect will conclude that you are a commodity. Then price is your only distinguishing feature.

3. Everyone needs what I sell so if I get a ‘No’, I’ve failed. By believing that a ‘no’ is failure, you put extreme pressure on yourself and make your prospect defensive. Your buyer will rightly conclude that the sale is more important to you than helping to solve his business or personal problem. Instead focus on qualifying your prospects thoroughly so you understand why some prospects will say ‘no, not now’, and that is ok.

4. When my prospects say ‘I need to think it over’ they still will usually buy from me. Prospects rarely say ‘no’ to salespeople even when they have little or no intention to buy. They don’t want to hurt the salesperson’s feelings or they don’t want to be in a pressure situation. Or they may want more free advice and request another meeting to pick your brain. Be direct. Ask for the ‘no’ to save yourself the torture and be able to move on your next prospect.

5. I need to convince my prospect that he would benefit from purchasing from me by being a good closer. Again this belief is just going to put pressure on your prospect. People like to buy but they don’t like to be sold to, and they buy for their reasons, not yours. Turn your belief around 180 degrees: your prospect’s job is to convince you that he has a problem, a budget and the ability to decide to fix it, and needs your help.

Believe that You Are a Solution

Your attitudes and beliefs are crucial in controlling your results. Yes you also must establish rapport and develop a good relationship with your prospect, but in the end, it’s all about whether your prospect believes you will be able to solve his or her problem. Believe that and focus your attitude on showing how you can be that solution and then you will be a successful sales person..