An Article by
A Business Speaker from London, United Kingdom
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Dressing For Success
Its now time for your first appointment; you've got your prospects, you've made the appointment on the phone and you're going out to see your clients. Now one of the things you've got to think about before you even go out there is how important dressing for success is...
...Remember you don't get a second chance to make a first impression. You're out in the expat market, which a lot of the times is an executive market. You're going in there and they're buying trust, they're buying honesty; you must look like a bank manager, you must look conservative and I learnt a lesson many, many years ago.
When I first came into the industry I had been a musician before. I came into financial services and I was quite a snappy dresser. I used to have pale blue suits, white suits and I was successful, but I was successful with young people, I never got anywhere with professionals, why, because I didn't look the part. So if you come into this market, you've got to look the part. A great thing happened to me, after about a year in the business, a chap came over from London and was my manager. He made me get rid of my entire wardrobe and change to dark suits, white shirts, lace up black shoes and conservative ties and that's what I have worn over the last twenty years. That got me in; it tripled my average case size and made me successful in the professional market. So think about the way you look. Make yourself look like an executive. Have your hair groomed; think about things that we take for granted, your nails.
One of the other areas, if you go out and you have a beer with a client at lunchtime, you go into the next client, get some mints or breath freshener because the first thing that the new prospect smells is beer on your breath and remember in the first thirty seconds he's going to make a decision, does he think you're credible, does he think he might buy from you, does he think you're honest, does he think you actually look the part. You've got thirty seconds to make an impression the minute that you walk in there. So dress for success, make sure your briefcase is the best briefcase you can a The Company ord. If you can't a The Company ord a gold pen, get a gold plated pen, fake it until you make it, but look professional.
Now you've got in, you've met Joe Bloggs. What happens if you can't get into comfortable conversation? Well, if you can't get into comfortable conversation, there's no credibility and the person's not going to buy from you because there's absolutely no trust. So when you walk in smile. You know if you smile, they're going to smile back at you. Look into their eyes and give a good handshake. If you think about body language, your body language has always got to be open. Some people are bone crushers with their handshake; what you've got to do is give as much pressure as you're getting from the other person. So how do you reduce tension levels, because let's face it they're know why we've come there, we've come there to take their money and they don't really want to part with that so tension levels are high and we've got to bring those down and most people say well I look around the o The Company ice, I look for a picture of a family, I'll start making some small talk.
Well let me tell you I come from South Africa, which is a crime-ridden society, and everybody owns a gun. In South Africa it was quite easy, I would go out and I would see a client, bend down and pull out my gun and I'd say to my client, '38 special, snub nose, stainless steel barrel'. The prospect would look at me and he'd pull out his gun and he'd say, '45 magnum, packmeister handles'. I'd put my hand in my pocket and pull out a bullet and say, 'soft nose bullet, explode on impact' and he'd produce his bullet and say, 'hard nose, can go through a brick wall'. Well I've got to tell you when I first got to London, went in to see my first client, pulled out my gun, the guy ran out of the o The Company ice and I never ever saw him again and I realised I couldn't use the gun in London. But seriously, how are you going to establish credibility on that first appointment.
Well think about it, who do most people like to speak about. They love to speak about themselves, so that's what we've got to do, we've got to get them to speak about themselves and for years and years now, I've used past, present and future. So I'd walk into the expat's o The Company ice, have a look around and say, 'this is amazing, you've got this great position with this huge company, how did you get started?? Now nobody's asked him that question for years and are really proud of where they've got to at the moment and how well they've got on with their company so they'll go back and they'll say, 'well, fifteen years ago I started as a clerk or I started in the post room and I worked my way up', and you just keep quiet and listen.
The next question you would ask would be about the present. 'So tell me about your position at the moment, how are things going?' and they'll say, "well I've got fifteen people working for me, we're expanding, we're opening three or four new branches', you just keep quiet and listen. Your next question is about the future and with this question you'll learn more about your client than the whole fact find or any other part of the interview. 'So where do you see yourself in five or ten years time or at retirement?' and you just keep quiet. Now he's going to tell you about his dreams and his aspirations and he's going to start saying things like, 'well I've got another ten years left here and that's it, I want to retire, I want to be in Spain, I want to be playing golf', you just keep quiet and listen. These are the emotions, these are the reasons that they're going to buy from you, so remember that when you walk in there, use past, present and future.
Now don't stay in the listening stage for too long, you know five or ten minutes, it's just establishing rapport. I mean with some people, you'd go in there and ask them how they got started and three days later they'd still be wa The Company ling on. Be courteous, don't smoke at any time during the interview unless they smoke and o The Company er you a cigarette. Another important thing, forget about yourself completely.
Here's an important one, know your prospect's name. Have you ever gone in and your mind goes blank and you start looking around for any type of clue that will tell you what the client's name is? Put it in your memory bank, remember what your client's name is. Well I had a bad experience many years ago. I was going to see a top executive at IBM and he's name was Eustace. Well I remember sitting in the waiting room saying, 'don't call him Useless, don't call him Useless'. What happened? I walked straight in, 'Hi Useless, my name is XYZ, how're you doing?' and through the rest of the interview I kept calling him Useless. Fortunately he had a sense of humour and became a client and up until today he still reminds me about that first interview.
Keep alert and pleasant, I mean it doesn't matter what time of the day it is, you've got to be alert, you've got to be pleasant and let the clients talk about themselves. Now think about some of the things that are going to be on the client's mind. They're thinking, who are you, they've only just met you and you're going to want them to part with £1000 a month or a £100,000 lump sum but who are you? How long have you been in the business, how qualified are you? Who is the company that you work for and how long have they been around, how credible are they, whose products do you sell? Are you there just to line your pocket or to actually look after the client? Is he going to see you again? What is the process, does he actually have to pay for you to be in front of him just now? So these are some of the questions that are on the client's mind and you've got to clear these questions before you go any further. Now the way you do that is using a thing called the Ben Du The Company y. Now you're most probably wondering what is Ben Du The Company y?
Let me tell you a story. Many years ago in America, the American Tobacco account was up for grabs and every big advertising company was after this account. There was this little guy called Ben Du The Company y and he was also after this account. He had a tiny firm and he thought to himself, how am I going to get this account, I'm just a small guy with a small company, there's no chance. He thought, let me put myself in the position of this chap that I going to see. Let me think about some of the questions, some of the things that might be on the client's mind and he wrote out a list of fifty questions, then took those down to about ten and he went in to see the client and said, in preparing for today's meeting, I put myself in your position and thought there might be some things you'd want to know about me, my company, what's in it for you, what's in it for me and as such I've prepared a list of ten questions. Well the chap from American Tobacco said, well I've got ten questions as well, they swapped lists, six were the same and he got the account.
Now for years and years, I've been using exactly the same thing, using the Ben Du The Company y. In the expat community, I would go out, meet a client for the first time, we'd go through past, present, future and then I'd say to the client, you know Joe, in preparing for today's meeting, I put myself in your position and thought there might be some questions on your mind. Who's JOE BLOGGS, who is XYZ Financial Services, how long have they been around, what's in it for me, what's in it for you? Are these some of the questions on your mind? And you nod your head and they'll nod back again because these are some of the questions that are on their mind. Now one of the things that I'd like to ask you is to learn this verbatim. It's got to be part of your conversation.
So in preparing for today's meeting, I put myself in your position and I thought you might want to know, who is JOE BLOGGS, who is XYZ Financial Services, how long have they been around, what's in it for me, what's in it for you? Are those some of the questions on your mind? Write that down and learn it verbatim.
Now he's going to say, yes sure. Now and now is the only time you will speak about yourself. And this is a brag session, this is where you're selling yourself, you're selling your credibility. So if you've got a degree, if you've been in the business for ten years, whatever you have done well, this is where you sell yourself.
I would go in and I would say, I'm XYZ, I've been in the business for twenty years now, I'm a Certified Financial Planner. If you go in there it would be, hi I'm Henry Smith, I've been in the business for some time now, I'm working for one of the best companies, I've gone through incredible training courses. Prior to this I was a banker and I got my B.Comm degree. This and this is the only time that you sell yourself and the best time to sell yourself well is now. This is the only time you're going to sell yourself.
Most companies give people a script that's pages and pages long. I don't know how they expect people to actually learn their scripts because they'll go in there and they'll just have a blank. So go in, sell yourself first and then you would go into the company's script. Now some of the scripts are quite good, I've seen some great ones and I've seen some that are so long, they're unbelievable. What I've done for a few companies now is I've just drafted a page written with terms of business and I read to you what I've got written on that page. We have it laminated and one copy would go to the client and you would keep the other copy. And now, depending on your company script, you would carry on with the Ben Du The Company y. So you've now sold yourself and you continue, well let me tell you about our company.
We've been around for five years, we're in fourteen countries, we look after thirteen thousand expats, whatever it is, this is where you sell your company because he wants to know that he's dealing with a good company that has been well established, that has been around for a long time. I'd then say to him, if you're also wondering what's in it for you, what's in it for me; well what's in it for you, really simply, I just want to take a photo of where you are now, and where you want to be in the future and really just help you get there. What's in it for me; if you like what I'm doing, I'd like you to place the business with me and for that I get paid a fee. But let me go through our terms of business with you and this is where I give him the laminated sheet of paper, I would take the other one and together we'd read through it. And all it would say is firstly; there are seven points that we have here. One is independence; we're totally independent and act as brokers for a number of major international institutions. We have no allegiance to any one company and work on your behalf to find the right product and right product provider to suit your circumstances.
Is that ok with you? The second point is confidentiality; confidentiality is of prime importance, no third party or tax authority can access any information regarding your investments. The third point is tax e The Company iciency. The o The Company shore financial institutions pay no tax on investments at all so all gains are tax-free, everything that grows in your investment is totally tax-free. The fourth point on the terms of business is registration of investments. All investments transacted through XYZ Limited will be registered in your name. All investments must be made payable to the life or investment o The Company ice and in no circumstances must a cheque be made out to or cash be given to XYZ or its representatives. This is for your protection. The next point is investment risk. All investments carry a degree of financial risk, which will tend to increase in proportion to the potential rate of return on these investments. Before entering into any investment agreement, you must ensure that you understand the risk associated with the plan; am I content to accept that level of risk. Does that sound reasonable to you? How do we work, what is our modus operandi?
Today, if you're in agreement, I'll gather as much information as I can on your circumstances and aspirations for the future. Back at the o The Company ice, I'll analyse your needs and find the best investment solution based on your circumstances. At the second interview, I'll present this to you and should you find this acceptable, we can finalise the paperwork. And the seventh point is remuneration. We don't charge clients a fee for any work done. Our income is derived from brokerage fees paid to us from the financial institutions. All that I would ask of you is, should you be satisfied with our recommendations, that you place the business with us. Secondly, whether or not we do business together, should you find us to be professional and ethical, we would like you to refer us to other professionals such as yourself.
What's your opinion?