The Characteristics of a Great Sales Culture

January 27, 2015

by Beverly Flaxington

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The following is excerpted from The Pocket Guide to Sales for Financial Advisors  by Beverly D. Flaxington (ATA Press, 2014), which is available from Amazon via the link above.

What does it mean to have a sales culture in your advisory firm? First of all, it means embracing sales – not looking at the selling process as negative or unsavory. It means talking about new business development, meeting regularly to assess what’s working and celebrating growth wherever possible.

If your advisory firm lacks a sales culture, you must establish one to be successful in ongoing growth. It’s not as easy as saying, “We’ll focus on sales from now on, and everyone needs to be a salesperson!” As a first step, understand that new sales are imperative to the health and longevity of the firm. New sales mean growth. New sales are required if you want to keep the best employees. Great employees leave companies that are not creating growth or opportunities for advancement. Every single employee should be aware that sales equal salaries. They should understand that selling is not just something salespeople do. Every employee must care that the firm survives and thrives and know that they play a critical role in the growth process, whether they are directly facing clients or not. Attitude matters just as much as anything else.

Take the time to actually write down the sales objectives for your firm. This is a critical first step. Most people wrongly assume that just by putting an emphasis on growth   and selling, they have created a sales culture; it goes deeper than that. A sales culture has clearly stated objectives, and those objectives are known throughout the firm. They are tracked and measured and communicated.

An effective sales culture means embracing new sales, wanting to grow the business and being willing to put an emphasis on uncovering new assets. A great sales culture is biased toward action. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect before taking action. Create a plan and work with what you have. You can identify 10 “should be” clients; you can find three Centers of Influence to open discussions; you can practice your platform points and telling them more effectively. In a successful sales culture team members are driven to succeed. Simply put, this means embracing hard work, positive thinking and persistence as well as a “no excuses” philosophy.

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