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Strategic Selling

Strategic Selling

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Strategic Selling

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  1. Strategic Selling By Paul Neveu, SVP Sales and Marketing, BPAS

  2. Opening thoughts You walk into a presentation. Shake hands, smile at everyone, make eye contract. Look around the room, get a feel for the players involved, and what type of meeting they are looking for. In the next hour, anything can happen. You might walk out frustrated and exasperated. You might walk out thinking, “that was a decent meeting; now the ball is in their court”. Or you might walk out knowing you won the business. How you handle yourself, what happens in the meeting, and the way you interact with decision makers drive everything.

  3. Opening thoughts There is an art to selling – just like any performance in music, dance, or theater. In sales, one quality hour can be more important than a week of “normal work.” It’s where sales people make their living. This presentation is a collection of observations from hundreds of sales meetings. I hope you find some these insights helpful.

  4. A Look Back to 1995 • Internet was just taking hold • People had time for meetings • Formal presentations were the norm/expectation • Presenter talked for an hour, followed by Q&A • Everyone was busy, but in a manageable way • People were impressed by technology (e.g., daily valuations) • There was time for a well informed vendor selection process

  5. Today: the dynamics have changed • Most people are stretched thin • Too many emails • Information overload • Prospect has a limited time • Can’t consider every issue during the process • Meetings become disjointed • Impression is more lasting than the information exchange

  6. Eight factors that drive wins 1 2 3 4

  7. Eight factors that drive wins 5 6 7 8

  8. Effective Listening Take Notice: • Who are the players? • What role does each play in regards to the plan? • Who are the dominant personalities? The deferential personalities? • Who will drive the decision? • Which areas should I focus on in this meeting?

  9. Effective Listening • Open ended questions are essential • When you talk 90% of the time, you’re not going to win • When dialogue is 50% /50%, chances of winning triple!

  10. Effective Listening

  11. Effective Listening • Plan design opportunities • Fiduciary issues: • Fiduciary status of providers (non-fiduciary, 3(21), 3(38), etc.) • Quality, frequency of education meetings • One on one meetings • Participant advice or education/guidance ? • Current Configuration • Issues, concerns, complaints

  12. Set your strategy / flow for the meeting • “Rather than just give you a standard presentation, I want to tailor this meeting to your actual needs and concerns • “Tell me about your plan, your recent experience, and which topics you’d like me to touch on today?” • Make sure you conduct a balanced meeting (e.g., don’t spending 90% of the time on investments)

  13. Balanced presentation of capabilities A. We have the capabilities, expertise and credentials to excel at this engagement B. We will be humble and responsive to your needs (not arrogant or condescending) B A Said another way: We are big enough to handle your plan and this relationship is important to us.

  14. Thoughts on the capabilities overview • Is your firm a known quantity to the prospect or not? • People want this section kept SHORT… they get bored quickly • Illustrations, visuals, list of household name clients, figures to validate the size of your organization • Don’t read bullets in the meeting…respect the client’s intelligence

  15. Thoughts on the capabilities overview • Your goal: “We know enough about you that we could present you to our peers as the next provider.” • Relevant references • Everyone wants to believe there is something unique about the way a DC plan works for a car dealership, or a manufacturing company, or an accounting firm (their industry) • Be prepared to give references and cite other clients in the same industry (BPAS references will always help)

  16. Building trust and rapport • People buy from people that they LIKE • Show you are genuine; you have a life outside of work • Read people and the room • The chameleon beats the elephant every time • Type of group: formal or informal; white collar, blue collar or a mix? • Observe how THEY act and communicate • Observe the egos in the room; who likes to “call the shots” • Dovetail with it

  17. Limitations • Fees an’ts Building trust and rapport • Be honest about the product (l • , fees, what can/can’t do) • Short answers • When you don’t know, admit it • Write it down, promptly follow up afterward with answers • Let your personality show! People are turned off by “stiff” corporate personalities • Spontaneous humor • Using measured language

  18. Miscellaneous Non-verbal cues • Lack of eye contact • Some try to control, steer the meeting • Looking at watches, phone • Shuffling papers • Looks of interest or apathy • Who is willing to ask questions • Who offers limited information / plays a mean game of poker

  19. Miscellaneous • Continuous eye contact • Spread it around the room--treat all players as equally important • Use of industry terminology • inevitable, but be smart about it

  20. Getting into your comfort zone • Face-to-face meetings vs conference calls or webcasts • Sales people, earlier in their career: • Focus on delivering polished presentations • Make a “sales pitch” • Identify and overcome objections, advance the sale, etc. • Anxiety, nerves before meetings • Worry about knowing the answers • Worry about the flow, sequence and agenda of meetings

  21. Getting into your comfort zone • Seasoned sales people (later in their career) • Know the subject matter inside and out • Quiet confidence • Go in fresh, without rehearsal--go with the flow of the meeting • Leads to far better meetings because nerves don’t get in the way • Not intimidated by key decision makers or dominant personalities • Don’t over think it--go into the meeting and respond

  22. Technical interchange/solving problems Tactfully educate the prospect during a meeting to advance the sale • DOL or IRS rules • Fiduciary considerations • Types of fiduciaries and what the status means • Plan design • ERISA rules • Compliance testing • Investment matters • Industry statistics

  23. Quantify numbers and value proposition At the end of the day, decision makers need to be able to say something like: • We looked at four proposals. Cost ranged from 101 to 152 basis points; each proposal had advantages. The proposal from _______ and BPAS came in around 136 basis points. But, BPAS offers 3(38) fiduciary services, strong participant education and a full-service plan administrator to simplify and enhance our plan. It’s a good value for reasonable fees, so we are making that recommendation. We also know we could reduce total cost by 30 basis points if we go with the lowest cost menu of funds.

  24. Quantify numbers and value proposition • Your job is to help them arrive at these figures • Vendor cost comparison matrix • Mini RFP • Joe Boyle’s presentation focused on this • Best practice: Show what total cost would be for your recommended menu as well as the lowest cost menu • Cost of investments needs to be isolated to its own category to avoid creating impressions which can cause us both to lose the bid. Don’t “go down with the ship” over a particular investment menu.

  25. Points to ponder • Having variation in investment menus among retirement-plan clients is inevitable • Remember, we are in this business for three reasons: • To do an outstanding job of servicing clients • To help participants be able to retire • To be profitable

  26. Points to ponder • We appreciate it when our financial intermediary partners have strong convictions about their investment menu. • However, there will be certain plans where “breaking the mold” is necessary • Consider adding certain funds to your approved list (after review) • Consider supporting certain funds on a “directed” basis, outside of your fiduciary status • Possible to handle certain funds through Schwab PCRA window • Don’t forget the value of “true open architecture”

  27. Spontaneous interaction • Encourage attendees to ask questions as they come up, not wait until the end • Continue to ask THEM questions during the meeting • Have a list of questions in your folder to use throughout • Short answers are essential • People won’t remember your response or they think you’re being evasive

  28. Spontaneous interaction • Avoid long stretches where you’re the only person talking (more than 3 minutes) • The mind falls asleep when it hears the same voice for a continued stretch of time • Use actor techniques • Alternate tone, speed, pitch and volume--use pauses, rising or falling intonation • Vary body position--standing, sitting, hand gestures, walking around the room • Mix it up, keep it fresh, keep people interested • Practice! Video tape a presentation or meeting, review and critique it

  29. Urgency/Respect for time • Acknowledge the common things in most proposals so you don’t waste time on them (e.g., daily valuation and website access) • Pay close attention to verbal and non-verbal cues • More than an hour? Make sure they’re engaged, not your hostages

  30. Urgency/Respect for time • Wrapping up a meeting early will score points • What are your three lasting points? • Don’t read bullets--respect their intelligence • Keep the meeting one of intellectual engagement, not just a “presentation of information”

  31. Professionalism, Timing and Follow-up • Identify 2-3 items/questions for follow up • Respond to all parties with answers • Multiple emails are better than a single email • Send thank-you email after meeting • Ask for opportunities to provide web demo, conference call, or other follow-up discussion • Continual follow up, while respecting their process

  32. References Are Key • Best way to advance a sale • Have an advance discussion • Select right personality • Cultivate relationship with references • Remember that BPAS has many references who can be called upon as well

  33. Questions?

  34. Contact Paul Neveu Senior VP of Sales & Marketing BPAS pneveu@bpas.com 603-580-5522