Can Aggressive Sales And Quality Service Co-Exist?

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Can Aggressive Sales and Quality Service Co-Exist?

March 3, 2015

by Beverly Flaxington

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Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Dear Bev,

About five years ago, the large organization where I work started becoming more sales-oriented. Selling is now part of our compensation and review process and God help us if we don’t show enough grit. To make matters worse, we are expected to continue offering the highest end client service possible. Our clients are very high net worth investors and demand attention and responsiveness. My colleagues and I have only 8-10 hours in a day. Even if we work nights and weekends, which many of us do, providing the highest quality client service and finding time to network and uncover new sales is challenging at best and impossible at worst. I know the industry is trending away from technicians who actually know how to invest and toward sales types who just know how to sell, but this isn’t good for the investors either.

Peter V.

Dear Peter,

I understand everything you have written about but I don’t see a question for me to answer. Are you trying to figure out the balance in these demanding and seemingly competing objectives? Are you asking for my agreement or alternate viewpoint on your observation about the industry?

I have a few comments that will be appropriate in response:

  1. I don’t think that offering quality client service and keeping an eye on increasing revenue or finding new clients represent competing interests. In fact, my own business runs this way! We have to serve our clients with the highest quality attention, but we also have to grow and find new opportunities along the way. You do not have to choose one over the other; both aspects of the business need to coexist.
  2. We’re seeing companies put an increased focus on selling. This is because the industry continues to be very competitive and good companies are losing ground with existing clients getting “sold” by other advisors. The messages get murky for investors and it’s important to have a proactive focus on letting your existing clients and prospects know who you are and what you do well.
  3. When selling is done well, it’s merely an extension of offering good quality client service. It’s no longer about “overcoming objections,” but rather seeking understanding and building relationships with new clients.

Reframing your experience might help here. Perhaps if you could find ways to extend your relationships with clients and incorporate questioning and listening techniques into what you are already doing it would not feel like a new aspect of your job competing for your time. Ultimately selling should come naturally to you and be a natural experience for your clients.

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