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Why Aren't Your Sales People Selling?

Tony Cole

Tony Cole

Tony Cole, Founder and CEO of Anthony Cole Training Group


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Top 7 Sales Lessons from BISA's 2013 Annual Convention


BISA is the Bank Insurance and Securities Association. During their annual conference, many topics, methods, strategies, and product evaluations are presented and discussed. There are several GREAT speakers in the general sessions, but it is not a conference where you will find constant discussions about the art and science of selling or sales management.  However, I cannot help myself.  Whenever I hear a talk, a message or a point of view, I find myself automatically translating it to sales and sales management.  Here are some of the speakers, their thoughts and my translation of those to sales, selling and sales management.

BISA Annual Convention

Jim McNeil  - Executive Director of BISA, – Scott Stathis – Managing Director and COO BISRA

The research they shared indicated that only 50% of the FAs in only 30% of the banks are doing ONE financial plan a month.  

Sales POINT:  Get more sales from more sales people by:

  • Making financial plans a metric for success
  • Raising the standard from 1 per month to 1 per week
  • Building the consultative skills of the FA


Jean Chatzky – author of Money Rules – NBC financial editor

As I listened to Jean and the other speakers discuss “selling to women”, it is clear to me that you cannot treat all women the same - just as you cannot treat all buyers the same. By noting the general guidelines and acknowledging the differences between the relationship building and buying process for men and women, you have a greater chance for success. 

Sales POINT:  You must build the necessary skills to quickly develop confidence and trust, ask masterful questions, and listen to understand - all of which are critical to your success.

BUT, of all the points Jean made, this one hit me like a ton of bricks because it pertains to every client facing opportunity an FA or LBR has!  *Treat woman (actually ALL clients) as if they are your grandma who has 80,000 twitter followers. 

Sales POINT:  Treat everyone well because bad news will always spread wider and faster than good news!


Tom Ricketts – CEO of Incapital, Owner of the Chicago Cubs

Tom started his conversation by telling the crowd that there are 3 things critical for success.  He made it clear that there are more “things” that contribute to success, but in his experience at Incaptial and running the Cubs, these three seem to be the most critical:  Mission, People, Work Place. 

Sales POINT: You must have the right people.

  • Do you have the right people that, when aligned, motivated, trained and managed, will get you to your mission?


Dr. Quincy Krosby – Chief Market Strategist for Prudential Annuities

Dr. Quincy did a great job identifying financial indicators to help advisors advise their clients. 

Sales POINT:  Use Financial Indicators /Sales indicators as Leading Indicators.

  • What are the indicators that help you determine if your sales team is growing, flat or in a decline? 

Sales indicators (like attempts, contacts, appointments, opportunities and presentations) all give the sales manager a glimpse as to what sales will look like in the future.  If you are in a role where advising/coaching is critical, then work from leading indicators.


Holly Buchannan – CEO Buchannan Marketing – Selling to Woman

Holly did a wonderful job of pointing out the deficits FAs have when working with women.  Her interviews and research about women buyers revealed the following:

  • Women don’t feel listened to
  • Women don’t feel like they are believed
  • Women aren’t given time to digest

Sales POINT:  Ask masterful questions, shut up, ask questions to clarify the points, ask about decision making process.  Ask what is important and why it’s important.  *Important Note: If you’re not patient enough to get the whole answer, then don’t ask the question.


Tony Cole – President, Anthony Cole Training Group

I would not have included anything from my workshop, but I found the results of my survey to be valuable information so I wanted to share it with you.  While I waited for all 30 of the attendees to arrive, I asked the 16 who were there to answer the following:  “My sales people could sell more and be more productive if only THEY…”  Here are the results from that informal survey:

  • 3 – Were more motivated
  • 5 – Consistently prospected
  • 4 – Had conversations with the right people – decision makers
  • 9 – Did everything possible to succeed
  • 3 – Created urgency with prospects
  • 1 – Asked better questions
  • 1 – Had better office support
  • 2  - Answered – all the above

What I found startling was that 56% of the people (program or sales managers) told me and admitted to themselves that their people lack commitment – they are not doing everything possible to succeed. 

What we know from our research:

  • 33% of those evaluated lack commitment – the willingness to do everything possible to succeed
  • 33% lack desire – the passion for success in SELLING
  • 20% lack both desire and commitment
  • 20% have outlook issues –  they’re unhappy with themselves, the economy or the company they represent
  • 66% fail to take responsibility for outcomes

My point here is that when individual sales people respond to the evaluation questions that provide us this data, only 33% are identified as lacking commitment, while in this informal survey, 56% of the managers have the perception that their people are not willing to do everything possible to succeed.

Whether 33% or 56% of the sales team lack commitment is irrelevant.  What IS relevant is this question:

“Were they HIRED that way or MADE that way?”

Nobody goes to their supervisor looking for approval to hire someone that is just going to be average. But, what we know is that, on average, 80% of any sales force is failing to reach their goals.

Hire Better Sales People

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