|March 31, 2016||Comments Closed|
Successful financial services selling is about building clientele. So many professionals and firms simply forget this basic fundamental.
A top-performing firm is one that is able to consistently produce superior growth in revenue and profitability. The top-performing firms regularly outperform their peers and competitors in the areas of retention and new business.
Their primary source of growth is organic, a combination of new business and excellent retention of existing clients, with the latter driving referrals to produce new opportunities.
Recruiting and developing new producers also drives growth . Finally, sales leaders are responsible for the next generation of sales talent. Identifying, recruiting, hiring, developing and retaining new producers is key to prolonged organic growth.
To achieve outstanding organic growth, top firms focus less on hiring more and more producers and instead focus, invest and expect more from their existing ones, using the following seven strategies:
1. Creating a strong brand – Top firms take brand development seriously, as they understand that a strong brand—one that is recognised by clients, suppliers and the community —can have a positive impact on their ability to write new business, retain clients and attract top talent.
A strong brand is not built overnight; instead, it’s based on the reality of better people, service, and capabilities and on helping staff to believe in and understand how to communicate the brand in their daily actions.
2. Developing a unique sales process – A consistent and unique sales process has been the key for many top firms. A good sales process begins with prospecting and continues through to the delivery and ongoing management of a client, covering every step along the way.
Having a sales process is also a great way to train and develop new professionals. It becomes the firm’s blueprint for acquiring and servicing clients.
3. Cross-selling – Top firms understand that one of the most effective sources of new business is through existing clients, the people that are already doing business with you.
Cross-selling is also an obvious retention strategy to protect the top 20% of clients producing 80% of the revenue.
4. Providing training and development – Many professionals are required to participate in continued education to maintain their qualifications. Top firms also use training as a means to giving their producers a competitive advantage.
Top firms provide training on technical issues, communication skills, technology, and internal processes and procedures.
5. Building a culture of accountability – Top firms ensure that someone takes ownership of sales leadership. In small firms, that will usually be the owner of the business and in a larger firm, a senior manager.
The right person with the necessary authority can create a culture of accountability and help producers succeed by removing any roadblocks and obstacles that are limiting their success.
6. Maintaining active pipeline management – Top firms understand that a healthy sales pipeline is a key predictor of future sales success. They recognise that a contact management system is essential for tracking clients and prospects throughout the sales process.
7. Having a niche focus – Firms that specialize properly enjoy increased production of new business and improved profitability. Top performers leverage their specialisation into a competitive advantage by gaining insights into client and prospect needs.
Too many firms are looking for their next acquisition to achieve easy growth, instead of focusing on generating new revenue from their existing clients. If you adjust your strategy so that you are spending at least 60% of your prime time on sales-related activities and generate 75% of new business from existing clients (referrals, cross-selling and introductions), you will become a top performer and will never be at the mercy of the markets or the economy.