By J.J. Peller
You’ve likely heard the old-school sales phrase, “always be closing.” In today’s world, that’s the wrong mindset. In fact, that mindset can be detrimental to your business growth. Why? Because it leaves out the more important previous step: know exactly what your potential prospective clients want and need.
The always-be-closing mindset is a closed mindset. It narrows your field of perception to see only how to get someone to sign on the dotted line. Instead, you must open your mind to see more possibilities for how you can help someone. This seemingly tiny mindset shift can make a massive difference in your success.
From ABC To ABQ?
If your mindset is “always be closing,” then you’ll try to “close” at the first buy signal. But what if there’s a bigger hook point that your prospective client hasn’t shared yet?
It’s kind of like going fishing and yanking the pole in an attempt to hook the fish at the first sign they’re nibbling the bait. If you pull the pole too soon, you might just scare the fish away! It works the same in sales. If you try to “hook” a person who is just barely nibbling, you might make too much commotion and scare them off before you have a chance to truly attract them to want to talk further with you about how you can help them.
“Always be questioning” (ABQ) is a totally different approach to sales. Simply put, you keep asking questions until you can see multiple different major problems, issues or goals that you can help someone with. As an example, if you’re talking with someone at a networking event, instead of trying to convince them of your financial advising prowess with a well-timed elevator pitch, ask that person a question. Here are a few questions you can keep in your back pocket to ask anyone at any time:
What are you most excited about for the rest of this year?
What are some fun adventures you have planned for next year?
What’s the most important goal that you’re working toward right now?
What major changes are you working through in life right now?
What in your life is grabbing most of your attention this week?
A few simple questions can go a long way in moving someone to open up about what is important to them. Once you know what is important to another person, you can go to work conceiving potential solutions to help them.
I’m not suggesting that you immediately respond with the solutions that come to your mind. The point of conceiving solutions for the problems, challenges and goals that are important to people is simply to ensure that you know you can help them. Once you know that you have ways that you can help the person you’re speaking with, you can continue with ABQ.
The Other Major Benefit Of ABQ
If you want to turn a lead into a prospect and turn a prospect into a client, you first need to create a relationship. You can do this by showing authentic curiosity about the person you’re speaking with. One of the most vital skills you’ll develop in your career is the skill of asking questions in a genuinely curious fashion.
When you ask questions of another human in a sincerely curious way, you build trust. People want to feel seen and heard. Feeling seen and heard creates a sense of psychological safety. A sense of psychological safety builds rapport. And rapport builds relationships.
Too many people ask questions that feel “leading.” Being great at asking questions is not something that you’ll automatically stumble into because you’ve read this article. You’ll need to work at it. Did Michael Jordan become great just because he picked up a basketball? No, obviously not. It took consistent practice and dedication. Although all people can ask questions, not all people ask questions well. Make this skill a priority.
By intentionally developing your ability to ask questions effectively, you’ll make progress toward being a much more effective communicator. This skill will lead to your ability to ABQ. And by keeping ABQ as your standard operating procedure, you’ll more quickly build relationships and draw people in who want to become your clients.
Your Next Step
Prepare four core questions that you’ll start asking every time you meet someone new. Then practice asking them!
About the Author
J.J. Peller is an Executive Business Coach with Carson Coaching. He is an Associate Certified Coach through the International Coaching Federation. J.J. offers services to help financial advisors unleash their full potential and accelerate growth and success.
The information included herein is for informational purposes and is intended for use by advisors only, and should not be copied, reproduced, or redistributed without the consent of CWM, LLC.