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How to Go From Product Peddler to Professional As a Financial Advisor

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According to Neil Rackham, author of SPIN Selling, one of the hardest things for many traditional salespeople to do is stop acting like a seller and instead sees the world from the buyer’s perspective. Now, this doesn’t mean trying to manipulate the buyer by seeing things from their point of view. What it means is a shift in perspective. It means abandoning the old views of buyer vs. seller and in its place; you must share the buyer’s concerns. It means shifting your thinking in two respects.

* Shift from persuading to understanding

* Shift from a product focus to a buyer focus

Top salespeople see the world from the buyer’s point of view. This helps them understand the needs of the buyer. So instead of worrying about persuading, they seek to understand. This leads to a natural tendency to ask more questions thereby uncovering more needs. As a result, the top salespeople don’t talk prematurely about product. Their clients see them as sincere which breaks down many of the walls we face when trying to persuade clients before understanding their situation.

Think of a bridge that connects products to consumers. You are that bridge. As a result, you have to understand both — product and customer. Which end is the most important?

* Most salespeople are more comfortable and proficient at understanding their products than at understanding buyers.

* Very successful salespeople have adequate product knowledge, but superior knowledge of customers.

* Salespeople with the highest product knowledge don’t make the most sales.

* If forced to make a choice, buyers are more likely to deal with those who best understand their needs than with those who best understand products or services.

How do you achieve a better understanding of your clients?

* Keep up with business and industry trends that affect your clients.

* Read current business journals as well as product manuals.

* Have a real curiosity about what’s going on inside the buyer’s world and ask a lot of questions about changes in their lives as well as their hopes and dreams.

From Chapter 12 of SPIN Selling, “Sharpening Your Skills”

“Why do we never get an answer when we’re knocking at the door? – The Moody Blues

It could be because we are knocking on the wrong door. Or are we knocking too loudly? SPIN is an acronym for a type of questioning/profiling used by top salespeople. S stands for “Situation”; P for “Problem”; I for “Implication” and N for “Need-payoff.

First let’s take a look at “Situation” questions. These are the type of questions that are essential early in the sales process. If you are meeting the prospect for the first time, you obviously need together data. These are also the type of questions that most new salespeople feel comfortable using. They are typically non-threatening to the client, but there are some risks associated with a “laundry list” approach to profiling with such questions as, where do you work? Do you own a home? Do you have a checking account? The problem with this “checklist” style of questioning is that the prospect will become bored if you ask too many. The thing that separates the successful salesperson from the rest of the pack is how they listen to the answers to these questions and the way they limit the number of questions at a given time. As they gather information they move in the direction of a perceived problem.

If your client or prospect can’t understand the reasons behind the questions you are asking they will quickly grow bored and the likelihood of a sale or cross-sell opportunity quickly dies. Let’s look at the difference between Situation questions and Problem questions.

Situation Questions

Problem Questions

Do you have an investment account?

Have you been satisfied with the performance of your investments?

Do you have a checking account at another bank?

What checking account features does your other bank offer that keeps your business?

Do you own a home?

Are you satisfied with the rate on your home loan?

Are you interested in looking at alternatives to your CD?

What is the purpose of the funds in your CD account? Is it long-term or short-term?

Where are you employed? How long have you been there?

Does your employer offer a 401(k) or other retirement plan?

As you can see, the Situation questions will gather the facts. The Problem questions can gather the same type of information but move you into a relationship mode where the prospect sees you as a problem solver.

“One of the greatest pieces of economic wisdom is to know what you do not know.” – John Kenneth Galbraith

By now we should have a clear picture of how to uncover our clients’ problems by asking questions in a manner that will reveal them. As difficult as it may be at times, we also discovered that we shouldn’t offer solutions until we know what the problem is. This is accomplished through a combination of Situation questions and Problem questions. We can then develop the client’s need with Implication and Need-Payoff questions. If we employ this strategy with all of our clients then we should hear significantly fewer objections and close more sales.

If you find that you are hearing more objections than you like, there’s a good chance that you are offering solutions before you uncover the problem. Many times we are the ones causing all of the objections. A recent television commercial for a health care provider discussed the phenomena referred to as “the real purpose of the visit” or RPV. Doctors have to ask a lot of questions to uncover the RPV because patients just like clients and prospects will reluctantly give up the real problem they need help with. Just as a doctor could be liable for malpractice if he/she prescribes a medication without understanding the problem so can a financial advisor for offering a solution before understanding the need.

Think about the typical CD customer. Given the low interest rate environment we are experiencing it may seem surprising that more of our members with CDs are not flocking into the branches to meet with our Financial Consultants to take advantage of better investment alternatives. So when you call them in the course of your Block Time during the day you probably come away frustrated at their resistance to your great ideas.

Keep in mind; you are not going to sell anything over the phone. Your goal is to get an appointment. When it comes to people and their money they want to have a trusting relationship with the person giving them financial advice. So if you have not uncovered a need, you are not going to get an appointment. And let’s be realistic, there are some CD customers who just won’t budge in spite of the great job that you do. Let’s look at two ways to avoid unnecessary objections.

1. Objections early in the call. The research done by Neil Rackham, author of SPIN Selling, shows that customers usually do not object to questions unless you become rude or otherwise offensive. Most of the time objections arise from solutions that don’t fit the member’s needs. If you find that you are getting a lot of objections early in the call it means that instead of asking questions you have been offering solutions and features. Try to keep from offering solutions until you uncover the real need.

2. Objections about value. If your members don’t perceive the value of what you are suggesting then you will get objections. It’s a sign that you are not developing the need strongly enough. For example, the CD customer raises the concern about NCUA insurance. You immediately launch into a discussion about how their $300,000 won’t be 100% insured anyway and the NCUA could go out of business just like any insurance company. You tell them the fixed annuity is safe and pays more interest than their CD, blah, blah, blah. You notice that your prospect is even more determined and throws out a number of objections and you find your sale slipping away. What the member is really telling you is that you have not demonstrated value with your proposed solution. Their concern is safety because they need that money for long-term care.

A better approach would be to confirm their concern about safety. Then proceed to uncover the need for that CD money (long-term care) and discuss how your solution addresses both needs by demonstrating how your proposed solution addresses both needs. Cut down on the use of features and concentrate on the use of Problem, Implication, and Need-Payoff questions.

Four Stages of a Sales Call

1. Obtaining Commitment starts before the discussion, by setting objectives that will lead to a realistic commitment.

2. Obtaining Commitment is easiest if you’ve developed strong needs in the Investigating stage and have demonstrated the capability to meet them

3. Obtaining Commitment has three steps:

* Check that you’ve addressed key concerns

* Summarize the benefits

* Propose a realistic commitment

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Source by Mark Hoaglin

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Where to Find Those Efficient and Hardworking Affiliates?

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Everyone wants a hardworking affiliate, employee, associate, partner, or even spouse, and why not? It’s the next best thing to doing the work yourself. However with the massive outbreak of work and income opportunities available online, how can you beat everyone else and find that one (or more) ideal person who will make your online business explode with success? Here are some of the most ingenious and uncommon ways to snag the idea affiliates for your affiliate program

Direct Sales Agents

Direct sales people are really one of the most enterprising, hard-working individuals in business. They mostly work on commissions or rebates and are willing to literally go door-to-door offering their products to anyone and everyone they bump into. Imagine how much easier their job would be if they could be an affiliate and simply work via the Internet and a mobile device or desktop.

Also, most direct sales people tend to carry more than one brand in their product arsenal so signing up as an affiliate would be almost the same type of work but using a different approach.

Colleges and Universities

Many college kids would be interested in a part-time income opportunity if it would mean funds to help pay for their education, loan, or partying. All you have to do is make sure to offer them products they can endorse as a student.

Freelancers

Did you know that the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest annual report show that 75% of U.S. businesses used freelancers in 2011? Freelancers earned a whopping US$990 billion in 2011 which is a 4.1% increase from the previous year. The only industries where the number of freelancers decreased were in insurance, finance, and construction. Most probably your affiliate program isn’t a part of these 3 industries.

Furthermore, online business and finance experts are predicting the growth to increase incrementally every year even with an economy that is improving. People just want income security and more control over their earnings. With the spate of lay-offs, it’s understandable why many would prefer to work as an affiliate than as an employee.

Scout For Them At Affiliate Conventions

There are annual affiliate conventions held in different cities around the country. You should try to catch one when it is held somewhere near your location. The average turn-out for these types of conventions has increased regularly over the years. Last year, many of them were sold out weeks before the event.

Advertise!

The US Census Bureau has said that as of 2012, 15% of Americans are poor, 43% of young adults depend on their parents to some extent for money. Even more surprising is that the median income of young adults in 1982 was $31,583 and last year it was $30,604 for the same age group! Income is dropping and people are looking for ways to earn additional income outside of their 9 to 5 jobs. That’s where you can come in playing the hero and helping others realize their dream income.

Finally, go online and talk about your product. Make the affiliate marketers come to you and have the luxury of picking the best candidates. You will need some help in marketing your affiliate program so target a marketer who’s experienced in affiliate program and SEO.

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Source by Lina Stakauskaite

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Recession Is Here… Six Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make During Recessions And How To Avoid Them

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The U.S. is officially in a recession. What is a recession? A recession is a business cycle contraction or general economic decline due to significant drop in spending and other commercial activities. Most pundits and politicians will blame Covid-19 crisis for the recession, but even pre-Covid-19 the proverbial writing was on the wall.

The U.S. had over 120 months of economic growth, which was the longest expansion in the modern history. Other indicators, such as negative yield spread on treasuries (long term bonds having lower interest rates than short term T-notes), were pointing to an imminent change of the economic cycle and an impending recession. The only real question was: when and how bad?

Then Covid-19 came… If the cycle was going to change anyway, Covid-19 acted as a huge and unexpected accelerant to make the recession much more immediate and severe.

Inevitably during recessions all classes of real estate, including residential homes and condominiums, will be negatively impacted as lower consumer spending and higher unemployment rates affect real estate prices and marketing times.

Here are the six costly mistakes home and other real property sellers make during recessions and how to avoid them:

Mistake #1: This will pass and real estate market will be hot again soon

First thing to remember is that real estate cycles are much longer than general economic cycles. Even if the general economy recovers, which eventually it always does, a typical real estate cycle takes as long as 10 to 15 years. The cycle has four key stages: Top, Decline, Bottom and Rise.

Let us consider the last real estate cycle, which lasted approximately 14 years:

  • 2006 – Prices hit the Top
  • 2006 to 2012 – Prices Decline
  • 2012 – Prices hit the Bottom (Trough)
  • 2012 to 2019 – Prices Rise*
  • 2020 – Prices hit the Top
  • 2020 to? – Prices Decline

*NOTE: In 2016 the national residential real estate price index reached its pre-recession 2006 peak levels. It took 10 years for the real estate market to recover.

The way to avoid this mistake is to recognize that real estate cycles take years to run and plan accordingly. Additionally, nobody knows for sure when the prices will hit the top or bottom until after the fact.

Mistake #2: Low interest rates will make the economy and real estate market rebound

Between 2006 and 2011 the interest rates (Fed Funds) were continuously cut by the Federal Reserve Board and went from low 5% to almost 0%. However, that did not stop the real estate recession and depreciation of property values.

Undoubtedly, low interest rates made the economic decline and real estate recession less severe and saved some properties from foreclosures, but it still took six painful years for the real estate market to hit the bottom and then four more years for the prices to go back to their pre-recession levels.

Some markets had never fully recovered. For example, residential home prices in some parts of California, Arizona and Nevada are still below their 2006 highs.

To avoid this mistake, one needs to realize that although low interest rates help stimulate the economy and the real estate market, they do not cure them.

Mistake #3: I don’t need to sell now, so I don’t care

If you do not need to sell until the cycle plays out, which typically is over ten years, then you will not be as affected, especially if you have a strong equity position, limited mortgage debt, and solid liquid assets.

However, it is good to keep in mind that “life happens” and either professional or personal circumstances can change and we may need to sell property before the downturn runs its course.

Furthermore, if a property has a mortgages and its value declines to the point being “upside down,” meaning the mortgage loan balance exceeds the value of the property, then the options of selling, refinancing or even obtaining an equity line of credit, will be significantly limited.

This does not mean that everybody should be rushing into selling their real estate if there is no need to do so, just keep in mind that circumstances may and often do change and property options will be affected, so plan in advance. As one wise proverb says: “Dig your well before your thirst.”

Mistake #4: I’m selling, but I won’t sell below my “bottom line” price

This is a common and potentially very costly mistake. Generally speaking, every seller wants to sell for the highest price and every buyer wants to pay the lowest price. That’s nothing new. When selling real estate, most sellers want to achieve a certain price point and/or have a “bottom line.”

However, it is important to understand that the market does not care what the Seller, or his/her Agent, think the property value should be at. The market value is a price a willing and able buyer will pay, when a property is offered on an open market for a reasonable amount of time.

Overpricing property based on Seller’s subjective value or what is sometimes called an “aspirational price,” especially in a declining market, is a sure first step to losing money. When a property lingers on the market for an extended period of time, carrying costs will continue to accumulate and property value will depreciate in line with the market conditions.

Additionally, properties with prolonged marketing times tend to get “stale” and attract fewer buyers. The solution is to honestly assess your selling objectives, including the desired time-frame, evaluate your property’s attributes and physical condition, analyze comparable sales and market conditions, and then decide on market-based pricing and marketing strategies.

Mistake #5: I will list my property for sale only with Agent who promises the highest price

Real estate is a competitive business and real estate agents compete to list properties for sale which generate their sales commission incomes. It is not unusual that Seller will interview several agents before signing an exclusive listing agreement and go with the agent who agrees to list the property at the highest price, often regardless if such price is market-based.

Similarly to Mistake #4, this mistake can be very damaging to Sellers, as overpriced properties stay on the market for extended periods of time costing Sellers carrying expenses such as mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance.

Furthermore, there is the “opportunity cost” since the equity is “frozen,” and it cannot be deployed elsewhere till the property is sold. However, the most expensive cost is the loss of property value while the real estate market deteriorates.

During the last recession, we have seen multiple cases where overpriced properties stayed on the market for years and ended up selling for 25% to 40% below their initial fair market values.

The solution is to make sure that your pricing strategy is based on the market, not empty promises or wishful thinking.

Mistake #6: I will list my property only with Agent who charges the lowest commission

Real estate commission rates are negotiable and not set by law. A commission usually represents the highest transactional expense in selling real properties and is typically split between Brokers and Agents who work on the transaction

Some real estate agents offer discounted commissions, in order to induce Sellers to list their properties with them. But does paying a discounted commission ensure savings for the Seller? Not necessarily.

For example, if the final sales price is 5% to 10% below property’s highest market value, which is not that unusual, due to inadequate marketing, bad pricing strategy, and/or poor negotiation skills, it will easily wipe out any commission savings and actually cost the Seller tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenues.

The solution is to engage an agent who is a “Trusted Advisor,” not just a “Salesperson.” A Trusted Advisor will take his/her time and effort to do the following: 1) Perform Needs Analysis: listen and understand your property needs and concerns; 2) Prepare Property Analysis: thoroughly evaluate your property and market conditions; 3) Execute Sales and Marketing Plan: prepare and implement custom sales and marketing plan for your property; and 4) Obtain Optimal Results: be your trusted advocate throughout the process and achieve the best possible outcome.

Finding such a real estate professional may not be always easy, but it certainly is worth the effort and will pay off at the end.

In conclusion, this article has outlined six costly mistakes real estate Sellers make during recessions and how to avoid them. The first mistake is not understanding that real estate cycles are long and take years. The second mistake is a misconception that low interest rates alone will create a recovery. Another mistake is not realizing that circumstances may change and not planning in advance. Mistakes number four, five and six pertain to understanding the market value, proper pricing and selecting the right real estate professional.

By understanding and avoiding these mistakes, real estate Sellers have significantly better chances of minimizing the negative impact of a recession while selling their properties.

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Source by Robert W. Dudek

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Useful Tips To Build The Best Gaming Computer

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Every gamer will want their computer to be the best gaming computer among their peers. Sometimes, with a little knowledge and tips and tricks, it is possible to build the best gaming computer and show it off to your peers. This article will show you how:

1) You can’t get the best gaming computer from computer retailers

If you want to get the best gaming computer, you have to build your own. Different gamers have different requirement for their gaming machine. Unless you are willing to pay a high price, you will not be able to buy a commercial computer that fulfills all your gaming needs. The only option you have is to build your own gaming computer.

2) You don’t have to be rich to build the best gaming computer

It is not necessary to burn a hole in your pocket to build the best gaming computer. With some due diligence, do some market research and compare prices around the marketplace. Merchant such as TigerDirect and NewEgg give regular discount to their products and you could save a lot of money if you catch them during their promotional period.

3) Most expensive parts do not have to be the best part

Sometime, the latest model or the most expensive model does not have to be the best part for your computer. It requires various components to work together to form the best computer system. When choosing a computer part, what matters is how well it can integrate with the rest of the components. Compatibility is more important than individual performance. What use is there if you spend lot of money on the latest quad-core processor and find that your motherboard doesn’t support it?

4) You don’t need to change the whole PC to own the best gaming computer

It is a misconception that you have to change the whole gaming machine to build the best gaming computer. If you already have a good barebone system, what you need to do is to upgrade the necessary parts and your gaming computer can roar back to life instantly.

5) Brand is important

Unless you want to see your computer system malfunction every few days, it is important that you purchase the parts from branded manufacturers with strict quality control. Motherboard brand such as Gigabyte, ABIT, ASUS are some quality brands that you can consider

If you follow diligently to the tips stated above. You will be on your way to build the best gaming computer. While price can be an issue, it is better not to scrimp on important computer parts such as motherboard, CPU, RAM and graphics card as it will cost you more to upgrade in the future.

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Source by Damien Oh

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