Selling for the Non-Sales Professional
May 19, 2015
by Beverly Flaxington
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Baupost's investment process involves "never-ending" gleaning of facts to help support investment ideas Seth Klarman writes in his end-of-year letter to investors. In the letter, a copy of which ValueWalk has been able to review, the value investor describes the Baupost Group's process to identify ideas and answer the most critical questions about its potential Read More
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In my presentations to financial advisors, I find the word “sales” is negatively received. If I ask the audience, “What words come to mind when you think of a salesperson?” the responses will be things like “slimy,” “pushy” or “used-cars.” Most financial advisors have this negative impression of the sales process.
But selling is what you do every single day. You may “sell” someone on an idea; you may “sell” them on becoming an employee (or staying an employee); you may “sell” an existing client on the benefits of increasing their AUM with you. Selling doesn’t mean pushing something that isn’t needed or doing something slimy or wrong. Quite the opposite, sales are part of growth and, when done well, a sale means a positive experience with you.
The best services and products don’t sell themselves and being technically good is not good enough. Being technically great isn’t even going to cut it. You have to know how to show that what you do is needed and will solve someone’s problem. You have to ask for the business.
So you didn’t go into finance and investing to become a professional salesperson. That’s okay. Many of the best and most effective salespeople started as engineers or teachers. Selling is about a willingness to understand people. It’s about asking the right questions, listening to the answers and then creating a connection with someone to show them that you can solve their needs.
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