What one characteristic separates great from average advisors?

One important “style” separates industry icons from average and has more to do with success than substance.

Top advisors speak and act with authority. They know they know. They aren’t arrogant about it. They are authoritative not authoritarian. They know they provide a valuable service that most people won’t do on their own. They want to be authoritative because they want people to help themselves with their advice.

Your conversational style carries your authority – like advice from physicians. When they talk, you listen and follow through. You can do the same so when you talk, clients listen and act in their own favour. Here’s how:

Accept that you have the authority of your license and education. You know more about your topic than nearly any possible prospect. When you believe this you will speak with authority.

“Authority” is “the power to give orders, make decisions and enforce obedience. It’s the power to influence others because of your commanding manner or recognized knowledge.” This is exactly the position you are in with a client or prospect. They expect that authority from you.

Authority in a client relationship starts with appreciating and accepting that you have it. Here is how you demonstrate it:

  • With your voice – A tone of voice that’s lower and slower than usual conveys power, authority and confidence. A higher pitch and faster pace makes you less authoritative.
  • When making recommendations, give advice and don’t just offer options from which to select. Know your prospect well enough that you can advise them with conviction, not have them advise themselves. That’s what happens when you provide handful of possible options from which to choose. That’s common but less authoritative. Advise, don’t “optioneer”.
  • Use the right words. Recommend a course of action based on their circumstance. Advise them to do something specific. Stand up for your advice.
  • Acting with authority means giving proper, professional advice and then fully expecting people to take it. Implied consent demonstrates authority.
  • “Dress for Authority” is just like “dress for success”. Show up looking like someone from whom your prospect would naturally take advice. Be at least as well dressed as they are and then a little better. That has “little better” conveys authority. It will also be different for different groups of prospects.
  • Be prepared and practiced. Authorities know their stuff, know who they are stuffing and then they “stuff” them. Preparation driven by practice is very compelling and authoritative.
  • Have a set process. Follow the same approach with each prospect and client. Be known for your specialty. Use compliance, privacy and engagement as an authoritative advantage not a stumbling block.
  • Provide everyone with your best service. Have a sales system that impresses and separates you from the herd as an authority.

So, if you want to cultivate that one trait that puts you at the top of the class, be authoritative. The biggest advantage is to you. It takes the sting out of people saying no. When you know you know, you don’t mind the “nos” so much.

How can I minimize the negative impact of sales objections?

If you see objections as the result of a bad presentation, a bad idea, a bad product, a bad company or all of them combined, they cause fear avoidance and poor sales. But if you think differently, sales objections can build sales. They aren’t stumbling blocks but stepping stones to helping more – and selling more.

Objections activate the sales process. You need a dialogue and that’s what they are – sales dialogue starters. Here’s how to think to make that dialogue work for you in your process:

  • Under sales pressure, prospects express questions as objections. Reduce sales pressure and by getting to know your prospect before asking for action. Inspire them. Listen carefully for the questions buried in objections. Answer those questions.
  • Expect objections from everyone, always. They are normal and when the sales dialogue starts.
  • Research the best answers to the worst objections you get. Build them into your presentation. Pre-empt them and you negate them.
  • Never ask for action without being prepared for what you are going to say after they object. Here are some:
    • “I don’t need any”, “I’m not interested”, “I’ve got this handled”, “I have a guy” - all suggest a lack of trust and inspiration. Have you seen the “Ideal Protection Portfolio”? Compare it to your plan and get the peace of mind you want.
    • “I don’t have any time for this” – None of us have time for a product but most of us have time to protect our family or business. Can we talk about protecting your family?
    • “It’s too expensive” – That’s why we customize our recommendations to suit your situation. You will likely be surprised at how affordable security can be. And, when you say expensive, you mean compared to what?
    • “I don’t like it” – I don’t like insurance either but I love what it can do for me, my family and business. How about we look at what it can do for you too?
    • “Let me think about it”, “Send me something” – The best time to consider a serious issue is with an expert at hand – like talking over a medical procedure with your doctor. Let’s talk this through together.
    • “I can do this later” – Ironically, something out of your control, not time – your health, decides whether you can buy. The potential cost of waiting is not a price increase but insuring yourself at a crazy price.
  • Prospects count on you to stick with them through objections. A wise farmer once told me that “unless the bank asked for their money 4 or 5 times, they didn’t really want it.” Prospects check for your belief and sincerity by your answers to their objections too. If you quit early, maybe YOU weren’t that convinced of your advice.
  • Your personal beliefs limit your sales success. You will only sell until you hear an objection with which you agree.
  • Answer objections honestly. Cocky doesn’t work.

You cannot answer every objection nor can you get every sale. Still, objections are the currency of the sales process and a natural part of your sales dialogue. Rethink them and be prepared.