• Al Townsend

Challenging the Status Quo

“In the absence of value, it will always come down to price”. This quote from Tom Peters’ book Re-Imagine has never been more relevant than today. In a business environment that is highly regulated and being changed dramatically by technology, that is creating a race to zero by Robo advisors and ETFs, clients want to know what value advisors and their firms are providing. The same old business and sales approaches used in previous years are becoming less and less effective to acquire and, even more importantly, retain client relationships.

Advisors face a greater number of challenges today than at any other time in recent history to stay competitive and grow their business. Their clients are more demanding and resistant to recommendations, past business practices are being challenged, new products and ideas are being thrown at them every day, profit margins are being squeezed, and their clients are getting mixed messages from the media. In the midst of all of this, firms and their advisors are trying to develop a more predictable and sustainable business platform.

Selling the best performing product and/or the one with the lowest fees, at best, is a commodity sale. It simply requires getting in front of as many people as possible to create sales. But at some point, the performance will turn around and another firm will meet or offer cheaper fees. Being a “pitchman” in a commoditized environment is not a good business model for anyone who wants to be successful long term.

Future success, and even survival, in the financial services industry will be based on a firm’s ability to challenge the status quo of past sales practices and the perceptions that clients have developed about advisors. Advisors will need to provide real value, i.e. solutions that solve to the client’s needs and challenges, delivered through an exceptional service experience.

With the proliferation of new products, positioning the right solutions to clients and differentiating from other providers has become much more difficult, even for experienced advisors that are adept at the consultative or solution based sales process.

Meeting the Challenge

Investment firms have been training their sales people on solution/consultative selling for years and have had limited success overcoming old sales behaviors. The old behavior of pitching their product is much easier than developing a skill that requires asking the right questions to uncover needs or problems and then determining how best to present their firms solution. As a result, today only a small percentage of advisors have been able to achieve true mastery of the process.

“Challenging the Status Quo” is the next evolution of solution or consultative selling. It provides firms and their advisors with insights on the current financial environment and how to work with their clients. It lays out a clear roadmap to engage, qualify, and sell the right investment or insurance solutions to clients.

TMC Group has over 18 years of experience working with financial firms to improve their sales effectiveness and evolve their sales cultures helping them to remain competitive in the markets they serve. Our “Challenging the Status Quo” programs are based on TMC Group’s experience and its own research in working with domestic and international private banks and financial firms in the United States and Canada. 

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