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The Need to be Nosey

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An objection that gets raised periodically in training from people that are not comfortable selling is that they don't want to be nosey with some of their customers – especially the ones they know really well (friends, relatives etc.). They tell me that they feel uncomfortable talking about money to these people and feel like they are prying into things that they shouldn't be.

Sales vs. Service

Usually when I hear this objection to selling there is a misconception about what the persons job really is. If the actual job description of this financial service provider is to simply do what the customer asks them to do then I understand the reluctance to be a little more inquisitive. Having said that, if all they do is what the customer asks them to do then that is order taking. Order taking is fine if they work in a restaurant, but they don't. They work in a financial institution where exceeding customer's expectations is usually one of their primary mandates. How will they exceed the customer's expectations by simply doing what they ask? They won't. It will be good service I'm sure, it will be adequate and satisfactory service, but it won't exceed expectations. To do that they need to add value to the transaction. How do they do that? Engage the customer, find out about any challenges, frustrations, difficulties they may be having financially speaking and go to work to help them.

Whose Responsibility Is It Anyway?

Whose responsibility is it to proactively try to assist people in their financial/banking needs?

Well let me ask this: Whose responsibility is it to ask questions about your teeth? Right, the dentist. Why? So they can better anticipate problems you may be having with your teeth and provide a solution before it's too late.

Whose responsibility is it to ask questions about your health? Right, your doctor. Why? So they can better anticipate health challenges you might have and either fix what's wrong or help prevent something from happening.

I could go on with different professions but you get the idea. What if you got really sick with a terminal disease 6 months after a full check up at your doctor? What if you found out the disease was curable had it been caught early enough? What would you say, if after confronting your doctor about his malpractice, he said, "I'm sorry, I know you too well to pry into your personal health issues, I didn't want to be snoopy and have you feel like I was butting in where I shouldn't."

You see what we are dealing with here is a professional service issue not a sales issue. Doctors need to ask us personal questions to help diagnose and prevent health issues. People that work in financial services need to ask their clients personal questions about money to help diagnose and prevent financial problems. To not do so under the pretext of not wanting to be nosey is bad service. It may be because the expectation has never been clearly laid out to this person, it may be because they don't know how to go about it and what to ask, but whatever the reason it does not take away from the fact that it is their responsibility to ask the questions. If the folks that work at your financial institution don't ask you money questions, who will we leave that responsibility to? The doctor, the dentist, the gardener … the neighbor?

Ask with the intention of digging up dissatisfactions, problems, challenges – whatever you want to call them – uncover them, get people talking about them, because when you do, they will be asking you for recommendations and solutions. Most importantly, they will thank you for it.

If You're Really Nervous

If you're really nervous about asking friends money questions just tell them why you are asking before you ask.
• "Bob, I think I might be able to save you some money can I just ask a quick question?"
• "Susan, I don't want to sound nosey but if I knew a little bit more about this situation I might be able to make it more convenient for you to do your banking, do you mind if I ask you a question?"

You get the idea.

"Every great batter works on the theory that the pitcher is more afraid of him than he is of the pitcher."
Ty Cobb

Have a great month!

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