Are you still using product oriented caveman selling methods?
– Are you struggling to get more profitable clients?
– Wondering if there’s some secret to easily getting a steady flow of them?
– Well, yes there is.
I stumbled upon it when I was a green 23-year-old life insurance agent back in the 1950s (yes, I’m that old and still love what I do).
During my first 2 1/2 years I would go out hunting every day. I was hunting for someone to buy a life insurance policy. My territory was Northville Michigan. I treated it like my personal game preserve.
I had a lot of drive in those days. I’d get my minimum of one sale a week so I could face my sales manager. He never said anything when I had a blank week. He didn’t have to. The look on his face was enough. I practically never had a blank week.
Selling the way I did was hard. I was young and had a lot of energy. My system was simply repeatedly asking enough people if they were interested in life insurance. It produced results. I was the second top salesman in my 23 man district.
What I did then would not work now. It’s a different era. Back in the 50s, I was selling in a sales centered market. There were a lot of people needing financial services. Salesman went around showing their latest hot product.
At that time, people weren’t upset by a cold call. There were no do not call lists. If you send out 1000 postcards with an offer, you’d get a decent return.
[caveman2] So back then, if you worked hard using what I call “caveman selling,” you’d make sales. And make a good living.
Still, I wondered if there was an easier, better way. And I found it. My company, MetLife, came out with a sales approach that was far ahead of its time. It was a client centered approach. Client centered meant finding out what the prospect needed and wanted. It meant helping him solve his problems
Although MetLife’s approach was sophisticated, in execution it was simple. They gave me a script which I committed to memory. I was doing futuristic financial planning without really understanding the philosophy behind it.
The basic strategy was to call on prospects and offer them a free analysis of their Social Security benefits. Social Security was new back then and people were curious and open to learning.
The husband, wife and I sat around the kitchen table. It was a simple matter of showing them how much Social Security would pay their families each month if the breadwinner died. Then we figured out how much his wife and kids would actually need. Of course, Social Security did not pay enough. They had a problem. I had the solution.
If the husband hesitated, the wife was there to give him “the look.” I became a star a sales leader.
I was now using client centered marketing and selling instead of product oriented caveman selling.
My life changed. Instead of working 50-60 hours a week, I worked 30-35 hours. My income shot through the roof. I was a top salesman in my district. I won prizes and trips. I got married, bought a big house and saved enough money to pursue my real dream. I wanted to become a therapist. I wanted to help people at a deeper level than I could by selling insurance. I got my Masters degree from the University of Michigan.
Here I am many years later. For years I helped patients overcome their psychological problems. Now I help financial professionals overcome their problems, the ones that prevent them from getting more profitable clients.
And I’ve found, to my utter amazement, many financial professionals today are using caveman selling like I did way back in the 50s.
Those marketing methods are even less productive now. Prospects are more sophisticated. They hate to be sold to. Sales resistance is at an all-time high. They don’t want to be told how good a product is and that they should buy it.
What do they want? They want solutions to their problems. It is a paradigm shift. The secret to getting a steady flow of more profitable clients is to switch from caveman selling to client centered selling – add value by solving people’s problems.