I Screwed Up! Learn From My Mistakes To Improve Your Sales

Posted By on Nov 10, 2013|0 comments


Even an expert falls on his face.  Learn from my mistake! This is a story of how I screwed up on completing a sale a few weeks ago. I want you to learn how to get your prospects to a collaborative point so that you can convert them into clients … rather than fall on your face like I did.

Setting the Scene

In our cold calling campaign we make 150 calls a week. Of the calls, 4% convert to the sales process, and two of those advisors will become clients of our sales training program. But our numbers declined this week because I screwed up.

I knew as soon as I hung up the phone what my mistake was.  In fact, I had a feeling of fight or flight because my error was so blatant. The authors of Crucial Conversation would say that I was creating a victim story – it was my fault that I did not convert the prospect to a client.

After each call, I complete an assessment, which allows me to look at what worked well and what I can learn from to improve on my next call. My assessment covers four questions: What was right; what made it right; what would be ideally right; and what was not quite right?

Here was my assessment:

  1. What was right? I identified need in discovery.
  2. What made it right? I got specific on the opportunity.
  3. What would be ideally right? I did not get to collaborative point.
  4. What was not quite right? I failed to understand what it meant to not have higher ticket amounts, consolidate number of accounts and increase assets under management (AUM).

My frustration came because I saw the problem right before me, and I realized what a solution could be; however, I was unable to collaborate with the individual to convert the prospect to a client.

The Situation

The advisor whom I was speaking with runs a practice out of a bank that has more than 30 branches. This particular bank is located in the Midwest and has two full-time and one part-time advisors that service the banks’ client base. Together, they hold $50 million in assets compared to the banks’ base of $1 billion in AUM.

The sole source of clients comes through referrals within the bank. The average account size is small, and the asset base relative to the bank’s base, as evidenced above, is also small.  Consequently, the goal for 2014 is to increase the asset base and increase the average account size.

As I have expressed before in our Sound Selling class, the process we follow and what we teach is a four-step process: status, opportunity, diagnose and outcome.
Clearly, I identified the status and opportunity.  The diagnosis is a little more difficult, as the bank itself has an internal trust department and the referrals come through the facility managers.  However, the facility managers have no incentive to refer clients of the bank to the financial advisors as it would make more sense to keep clients in house with the trust department.

Despite this hurdle, this financial advisor should be commended because she has grown the business to $50 million in assets. But the advisor could do so much more. The opportunity was staring me right in the face.  At AUM in a Box, we have worked with several advisors to immediately stop answering client questions; stop being so quick to help, and bring in the clients’ accountants to the discussion. What I was missing is that we could do the same with the facility managers at the bank. We could have the financial advisor collaborate with the facility managers and the clients to reach a solution.

Let’s review a portion of my conversation:

What is valuable to bring to the facility managers?

  • There is a tie to the bank and clients remain within the fold of the bank.

What works well when working with the facility manager?

  • The facility manager makes the hand-off and then the financial advisor manages the relationship.

What do clients appreciate?

  • Clients open up and share their anticipated goals, hurdles and outcomes.

What is holding you back?

  • The time to visit each of the branch locations. We are not disciplined to get out to all locations.

What is the plan when meeting with facility managers?

  • We don’t have an agenda. As long as we take care of customers and communication, advisors don’t talk with facility managers.

As you can see, there is no plan. The advisor has no intention of working with the facility managers, and there is no collaboration. Doing any one of these things would help boost asset growth. Having all elements could really create an amazing outcome.

Despite the solution staring me in the face, I was unable to work collaboratively to engage the financial advisor to understand the impact, her emotions, her goals and that there was a clear roadmap to create a solution.

Next Steps

Sometimes even an expert screws up. Learn from my mistake. Collaborate with clients and link the ultimate goal with the emotional impact that the prospect is facing.

photo credit: twenty_questions via photopin cc

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