This article was originally published in The Business Journals.
Sales is tough. If not, everyone would do it.
You need to find prospects, get them to talk with you, follow up, and eventually close. Sometimes the right expression can help to get your point across or lighten the mood.
Here are 18 of my favorites, learned from people in the field over the years.
1. Is your advisor more interested in who you know than knowing you?
It’s the “anti-referral” comment. Their advisor is asking for referrals, but maybe not giving them attention.
2. When was the last time…
“You heard from your advisor” or “had a comprehensive portfolio review.” You are setting a standard when you say “We try to be in touch at least quarterly.”
3. I will handle your account personally. I won’t hand it off to someone else.
You might be a sole practitioner. You are competing against a team. Prospects worry about “bait and switch.” The top person brings in the relationship, then junior staff handle it going forward.
4. I would like to keep in touch. How do I do that?
You met someone at a party. The connection starts with the social relationship. Don’t offer your card. Name some common interests that make it worthwhile. Stop talking. Let them make the next move.
5. I’m sure you are happy with your current advisor.
You met them at a party. As soon as you answered “What do you do?” they explained they’ve got it covered. You follow with “Here’s my card. If anything changes, please give me a call.” Move to another subject.
6. You don’t know me.
There’s someone at an event you want to meet. You know someone who knows them. Your next remark is “I think we have a friend in common.” They ask who. The ball is rolling.
7. You will be an important client to me.
This works in many situations. You can insert will be/are/were. Everyone wants to be an important client.
8. Advice is worth what you pay for it.
People know if they go to an accountant or lawyer, the advice will cost them. They take it seriously. Free advice is often used to sell a certain product.
9. There is no free lunch.
It’s common sense. If the prospect says they can trade stocks for free online, it makes sense the firm is making money from them somehow. They just aren’t telling you.
10. What do you like best about your advisor?
Would you recommend them? If they can’t say anything positive, ask: “Why do you stay with them?”
Asking for referrals
11. This is the type of person I would like to meet.
You have prospects in mind. You share a short list with a friend, asking who they know. They might ask why. You don’t want to say: “Because I want to sell them something.”
12. This is the type of person I may be able to help.
The situation is similar to the one above. The friend might ask why you want to meet them. “Help” sounds like something everyone would want to have.
13. When you tell other people about me, what do you say that I do?
It’s a way of learning if your friend or client has the right words to position you. You can tweak their answer.
Following up a prospect
14. I hope you consider persistence a virtue.
You are calling back to stay on their radar. The prospect hasn’t made a decision and knows why you are calling. This should get a laugh.
Closing the sale
15. Does this make sense to you?
Another is “are you OK with that?” These are trial closes to verify the client is following along as you deliver your proposal.
16. Are you ready to proceed with the plan?
You delivered your proposal, using trial closes along the way. You are transitioning into closing. The word “you” lets the prospect know it’s all about them. No is the uncomfortable answer.
17. Let me make this easy for you.
It sounds so much better than “Here is what I want you to do.” Who wouldn’t want to take the easy path?
18. I want to work for you.
I need the go ahead from you. It’s another transitional statement. You’ve delivered your presentation. You are hoping for “Let's do it.”
Sometimes, all it takes is the right expression to bring them around to your way of thinking.
Disclosure: This communication is general in nature and provided for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be considered or relied upon as legal, tax or investment advice or an investment recommendation, or as a substitute for legal or tax counsel. Any investment products or services named herein are for illustrative purposes only, and should not be considered an offer to buy or sell, or an investment recommendation for, any specific security, strategy or investment product or service. Always consult a qualified professional or your own independent financial professional for personalized advice or investment recommendations tailored to your specific goals, individual situation, and risk tolerance.