Archive | September 2015

Master the Art of Selling

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Michael Wagner Palm Beach Gardens Florida

Eecutive Leader | Chief Marketing Officer | Expert Brand Builder | Global Business Driver

About Michael Wagner

Highly accomplished, visionary executive with proven ability to impact financial, social, and political goals through commitment to global issues, innovation, and diversity. Results-oriented, decisive leader offering 15+ years of success in sales, operations, and marketing. Deliver excellence in execution and developing people, utilizing international / multicultural experience to provide unique perspective and creative solutions, achieving high performance within diverse organizational cultures. Demonstrate rapid advancement based on high performance, with the ability to quickly transfer skills across industries. Self-starter with strong entrepreneurial spirit, high integrity, and solid work ethic; creative, highly analytical, and able to successfully manage multiple concurrent projects with keen attention to detail, excellent organization, and outstanding persuasive skills. Able to skillfully inspire, motivate, and lead teams for consistently winning outcomes.

Like any sport, there are rules to selling, especially when it comes to closing the sale. So you can become a master closer and earn that coffee, here is a dozen of my best rules for closing the deal.

  1. Stay seated. The saying goes, “Present the product, service or idea on your feet, but always negotiate from your seat.” Even if your prospect stands up, remain seated—going from a seated position to standing up suggests something has changed and allows your prospect the cue to exit and end the negotiations.
  2. Master eye contact. This is a discipline you can only instill through practice, and you can perfect it by recording yourself and reviewing it. If you want to be believed and look confident, it is vital that you make and maintain eye contact with your prospect. It shows you are interested in them, confident in yourself and your product, and what you are proposing.
  3. Communicate clearly. People don’t trust someone who cannot communicate confidently and clearly. I practiced for years using recorders and video and played them back, ensuring my communication was coming across the way I intended.
  4. Be humorous. During the close it is always appropriate to use humor that can make people feel good, inspired, or hopeful. Everyone loves a good story and people are more likely to make decisions when they are more relaxed. You will close more deals if you can get your client to lighten up and laugh.
  5. Prospects are buyers. Always, always, always, regardless of the circumstances: no money, no budget, not the decision maker—always treat the prospect like they are a buyer. I constantly scan the prospect for signs that demonstrate they are a buyer and have bought in the past: the watch, the shirt, the suit, the necklace, the car they drove in, the house they live in, the credit card they use, and others. All of those are evidence that this prospect—buyer—has actually shown the ability and history of being the decision maker and closing on deals. I always tell myself, “Every prospect is a buyer. Treat them as a buyer, and they will turn into a buyer.”
  6. Get ink on paper. People don’t believe what they hear they believe what they see. Always have a contract available and a writing pad. Anything offered and any points of value should be written down to show the buyers what they get when they make the decision with you.

    Always carry a pen. Have you ever had that one moment that changed the way you handle yourself professionally for the rest of your life? I remember once I was closing a deal and I reached for my pen—but it wasn’t there. The prospect saw this and took it as a signal that he shouldn’t sign the contract, and didn’t. I was devastated. Now I refuse to go anywhere without my sword in hand. All agreements require signatures and that requires ink! Keep a pen available at all times and in fact, have a backup pen too.

  7. Stay confident. During a sale, I always maintain that we can come to an agreement, no matter what I am told by the buyer or those around me. The saying goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” This mindset of knowing you will reach an agreement requires that you eliminate all negativity from your environment. Treat negativity as a disease that kills, and be assured, it does.
  8. Ask, one more time. Knowing another way to circle back and reposition yourself in a negotiation after being told “no” ultimately will determine if you become a great closer and get that coffee. It is not rude to persist; it is the sign of success and prosperity. When I continue to ask in another way for a “yes” after being told “no” it does not mean I didn’t listen to the buyer. It means I am more sold on my product, service or idea than I am on the buyer’s disagreement.
  9. Positivity = Possibility. No matter how the buyer responds, keep it light, maintain a can-do attitude, and persist through the disagreements until you close the deal. When you react to the negative buyer by going negative there is only one outcome—and it’s not good for either party. There is no possibility of a positive or profitable outcome if you go negative, but rest assured that negativity always succumbs to positivity.
  10. Stick and stay is bound to pay. Each time you leave the customer alone to check on something, it creates doubt and uncertainty in their mind. It creates unnecessary antagonism and tension in the negotiation, lowers the perceived value, and extends the closing time. Keep in mind, this does not mean there is not an appropriate time to leave a buyer and use an authority or third party touch for a close as this can be very powerful—as long as it is not overused.
  11. Always smile. It may sound simple, but this isn’t just about your attitude, it’s also about your physical manifestation. I’m challenging you: for the next week, practice smiling with everyone in every situation you encounter. Whether it’s passing someone on the street, making eye contact with another driver at a red light, talking with your spouse, engaging with your boss or co-workers—anywhere in any situation. Do this until you are able to argue with a smile, disagree with a smile, negotiate, overcome objections and close with a smile. Haven’t you ever noticed that very successful people are smiling all the time? They are not smiling because they are successful they are successful because they’re smiling. This is a million dollar tip: smile.

Grant Cardone is the world’s top sales training expert with the most viewed online sales training site in the world today with over 2000 segments of content used by companies like Ashley, Aflac, AllState, Google, MIT, InsideSales, Udemy, Chrysler, Toyota, MorganStanley, TMobile, ATT, Sprint, FranTarkenton Co’s, and thousands more.

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Michael Wagner Financial Services Palm Beach Gardens Chief Marketing Officer

The financial services industry is comprised of the banking, securities and commodities, insurance and real estate sectors. Over the next few years, you will see significant changes in this industry with the rise of mobile banking, social networking, the millennial generation and the talent gap. Below, I’ve captured eight of the biggest workplace trends that executives and HR leaders should pay attention to if they want to succeed now and in the future.

1. The Internet will be used to engage with millennial employees and customers

Millennials are looking for more engagement from financial advisors and banks. They want advisors to connect with them using online tools instead of face-to-face conversations like they typically would have with older generations. 61% want video meetings with advisors and 57% will change financial advisors for a tech setting. Millennials want a more connected experience and want to work in an environment where they can freely use their mobile phones and social networks. Cisco reports that millennials won’t work at a company that blocks these tools or doesn’t let them choose between mobile devices. The financial services industry is regulated and is strict on what employees can access at the office but will eventually have to open up or risk losing top millennial talent.

2. High turnover of millennials will delay strategic initiatives and growth

Millennials see the financial services industry as a stepping stone to other career options. Only 10% of millennials in the industry plan to stay in their current job for the long term, compared to an average of 18% across all industries. 42% are open to offers from other companies and 28% are actively looking for the next big opportunity, reports PwC. Millennials end up working for far more hours than they expected to and if they aren’t able to produce, they end up moving on to an entirely different industry. The financial industry is cut-throat and many companies understand that only a small percentage will be able to make it.

3. The talent gap is becoming wider

It’s widely known that the global economy suffers from a skills gap. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that there are currently 3.9 million job openings in the United States alone and not enough talent to fill those positions. In the financial industry, almost half of CEOs report that they are unable to find talent with the right skills and view the issue as a serious threat to their company’s growth. Almost 25% of those CEOs have had to cancel or delay a key strategic initiative over the past year because they didn’t have the right talent available at the time to execute.

4. They will have to recover from a bad reputation created by the financial collapse

The financial collapse has unquestionably tarnished the reputation of the industry. Millennials have especially questioned the industry because they became adults during the time of the financial crisis, bank failures and the foreclosure boom. As a result, 21% of millennials have decided to avoid the financial services sector. In addition, millennial investors are more conservative and less trusting of financial advisors than older generations. They are four times more likely than older generations to consult with other sources before taking the advice of a financial advisor, reports Accenture. Millennials are looking to their peers for money guidance over advisors says a new survey by the American Institute of CPAs and the Ad Council.

5. Diversity at work becomes a major conversation

There is now more pressure on financial companies to embrace diversity in the workplace. 68% of millennials said that while companies talk about diversity, they felt that opportunities weren’t equal for all. While African-Americans make up almost 14% of the U.S. population, their share of senior positions in the financial services industry remainsunder 3%. If the industry wants to stay relevant, innovative and progressive, they are going to have to start recruiting people from a variety backgrounds.

6. Millennials demand workplace flexibility

Workplace flexibility is more in-demand in the financial sector than almost any other sector, yet there is no flexibility. Employees work from the early morning until night and it makes having a social life difficult. 94% of millennials said that workplace flexibility is important to them but 28% of those said that it was worse than they expected when they started their job. Millennials want this flexibility especially because their personal and professional lives are so intertwined and want to spend time with friends and family throughout the day. The way financial companies are set up now, employees are unable to work from home and don’t have collaborative work spaces.

7. Show me the money

Relative to all other industries, money matters in the financial industry, even to millennials who usually prioritize meaningful work over more money. 38% say that the starting salary with a key factor in accepting their job and 44% rated cash bonuses as an important benefit (compared to 36% across all industries). In another study by Kelly Services, they also found that more millennials are looking at money compared to all other industries (23% vs 20%). This shouldn’t be a surprise to most but it’s still important to note that money drives millennials (and older generations) because of the nature of the industry.

8. The office will become more casual and less strict

One of the patterns I’m seeing is that more financial companies, especially smaller independent ones, are getting rid of the normal suit attire in exchange for a more casual one. In an MTV study on millennials, they found that 79% think they should be allowed to wear jeans to work at least sometimes, compared to only 60% of boomers. In the next few years, you will see more financial firms drop the suit and tie and replace them with more casual clothing. While, they won’t move from a suit to a pair of jeans, business casual is more accepted than it ever has been.

Dan Schawbel is a workplace expert, keynote speaker and the New York Times bestselling author of Promote Yourself.

Michael Wagner Chief Marketing Officer 727-557-9993 Insurance Services