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The five key financial services sales skills

The five key financial services sales skills

By Lars Pedersen, CEO, Questionmark

Many financial services firms rely on the effectiveness of their salespeople to drive revenues and growth.

But many salespeople may not be maximizing their performance.  As a result, they may be hindering the firm’s performance.

To unlock potential, financial services firms should assess the top behaviors and skills of their best-performing salespeople.  They can then replicate these skills across the broader salesforce through relevant training and support.

What’s the problem?  

Financial services firms depend on making sales.  But half of financial services salespeople expect to miss their annual target.[1]

Regardless of this, many salespeople believe that the targets they were set were reasonable.[2]

So, while some salespeople may be performing well, many may be underperforming, despite the investment in training them.[3]

Five key skills

The most successful salespeople have clear behaviors and skills that enable them to sell more than their peers.

By measuring the skills of the best performing workers with staff assessments, employers can get a good understanding of what works and what doesn’t.  Firms can then train other salespeople in these skills.

There are often five key skills that firms look for in their salespeople.

First, digital marketing.  Some 82% of customers look up salespeople or their companies on LinkedIn before responding to their communications.[4]  A strong digital presence will help with lead generation.

Second, first-class knowledge.  Customers know they can get basic information online.  During a conversation with salespeople, they want to go to the next level of detail.

Third, consultancy.  A would-be customer expects a salesperson to understand their business and their challenge and identify products that are right for them.  Customers want advice on how to use products effectively.

Fourth, qualifying leads accurately.  Some salespeople waste too much time pursuing leads that are unlikely to convert.  They should be able to spot a future opportunity early on and be ruthless in ignoring those that are unlikely to bear fruit.

Last, communication. Both speed and quality of communication are essential.  Calls must be returned.  Emails have to be answered quickly.

How assessments help

Assessments, which measure progress by testing skills, help employers to understand the skills that their people have.  By measuring such progress, employers can help improve it.

Regular skills assessments give employers reliable and accurate information on the strengths and weaknesses of their salesforce.

They can then introduce training to address weaknesses, and to replicate the skills and behaviours of the best performers.  They can also test the effect of training with further assessments.

That’s why one in six US Fortune 100 companies use Questionmark’s enterprise-grade assessment platform.

Providing a competitive advantage

When the financial services industry is changing as rapidly as it is, firms must know their people have the skills they need to maximize performance and their potential.

Getting a clearer picture of why some salespeople perform well, and others don’t, is crucial.

Building this picture through robust skills assessments could make a difference to performance and drive both sales and revenues.

[1] https://c1.sfdcstatic.com/content/dam/web/en_us/www/documents/reports/sales/state-of-sales-3rd-ed.pdf

[2] https://c1.sfdcstatic.com/content/dam/web/en_us/www/documents/reports/sales/state-of-sales-3rd-ed.pdf

[3] https://www.td.org/insights/training-trends-in-the-finance-industry

[4] https://www.rainsalestraining.com/blog/9-tips-for-success-in-financial-services-sales

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