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Hard Sell Stupidity

104
 
 
"We are going to be in your area next week, would you be available on Tuesday or Thursday?"
"Really? Which part of my area will you be in?"
"Are you available on Tuesday or Thursday?"
"Wait a minute, you just said you would be in my area, so which part of my area will you be in?" 
"Akasaka."
"Really that’s interesting. Akasaka is a big place, which part of Akasaka?"
"Are you available on Tuesday or Thursday?"
 
This was an outbound investment sales call.  The object was to sell me on investing my hard earned cash in their company’s investment product.
 
By the way, this conversation carried on far beyond what I have extracted here and became even more ridiculous, if that is actually possible.  The essence was that I didn't believe that what they were saying was true.  They started with a suggestion that they would be in my area and could just drop by.  They say this to appear indirect and less "hard sell". 
 
However, when you push back on the validity of what they are saying, out comes the blatant hard sell - their constant annoying refrain of "Tuesday or Thursday?".  Why would they be doing this, when it is so obviously ridiculous?  The answer is lack of sales skills and proper training.  
 
There is a set script in place and I departed from the sacred text by challenging what they were saying. I did not believe that they will happen to be in my area and therefore that they could just drop by.  It sounded unlikely to me, so I pushed back on their basic assertion.  If they wanted to see me, why not just say, "we would love to visit you, would Tuesday suit or how about Thursday?".  Instead they started with a lie or at best, a dubious assertion, that has close to zero credibility.
 
Now this sales call is for an investment offer, where you cannot see, taste, hear, touch or smell the product and you won't know if it is any good for years.  The trust factor on this type of sale is huge, yet they start the proceedings with an obvious lie.
 
How could they have done it more professionally?  They don't know me and have found my address and phone number somewhere, so are trying to begin a relationship.  When you are starting a relationship you need to immediately put the other person at ease and try to build some rapport.
 
"Hello Dr. Story, we have not met or spoken before, but my name is Taro and I am with xyz company. We exist to serve the interests of highly discerning clients like yourself.  Do you have a few moments to speak? 
 
Thank you. 
 
We offer information, insight and help busy executives like yourself to better manager their wealth.  Our clients often tell us they are so busy helping everyone else that they tend to sacrifice devoting enough time to their own personal wealth management.  Is this the type of experience you have ever had?
 
We may or may not have something that suits your situation, but the beauty of spending a short meeting with our experts is that they can at least outline some of the most successful portfolio structures that have been working for executives similar to yourself.  Are you in a position today to be able to consider investing in products which you might find attractive?".
 
This example passage does a number of things.  It flatters me that I am discerning, checks that I have time to talk, tells me they are in the wealth advisory business.  They also pick a problem that busy executives do have and that is that often we are not managing our own wealth sufficiently well.  
 
By asking me if I have had that experience, this opens up a sufficiently broad timeframe range to receive a positive "yes" response. By saying they may or may not have what I need, comes across as balanced, consultative and not hard sell.  Referring to the best practice examples, tells me they are only going to talk about things that are relevant and working well already.  
 
Checking whether I have capacity to take action will save us all a lot of time.  Wealthy people don't leave their money sitting around in cash.  They are leveraging it, investing it, working it.  Often, as a result they don't have any capacity to invest, because they are already locked into other investments.  The wealth management firm is looking for people who have not committed all of their wealth because they have recently cashed out of something, come into sources of cash or have a high degree of liquidity to enable them to move cash around between investments.
 
Instead, all we had here was a hard sell for a Tuesday or Thursday alternative of choice, built off a lie about the fact they would be in my area next week.  There is no congruency between what they are selling and how they are selling it.  The young woman I was talking to was calling me from a Philippines sales boiler room and was a "phone dog", her job being to call large numbers of people like me on a list and go through the script.  I departed from the script and she was lost.
 
We are all in the trust business and so what we say can't be tricky, smarmy or duplicitous.  We are here to serve clients and tricking them into seeing us isn't a winning formula.  The point of the conversation was to get an appointment, no matter what.  Wrong objective!  
 
The point of the conversation should have to been to build trust and invoke interest. They need to weed out non-clients like me, so that they are only speaking with qualified buyers. I wasn't one, but she had no idea of knowing that because the script wasn't intelligent.  Now you would hope that your financial advisor would be intelligent, yet what they were doing was clear proof to me how unintelligent they were.
 
In this modern age, boiler room induced hard sell doesn’t work.  The client’s interest has to be paramount.  Salespeople who don’t get this basic point are not going to be around very long.  Re-design the sales approach and put the client’s success at the center and then you will meet clients and make sales.  
 
 
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