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Understanding the psychology of the sale

Liz DeCarlo

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Paying attention to the psychological aspects of a client meeting can increase closing rates.

When a prospect or client walks into the office for a meeting with Walton W. Rogers, ChFC, CLU, the first thing they see is a laminated sign in the lobby that reads: “W. Rogers & Associates welcomes Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”

The sign is the first step in paying attention to the psychology of a sale. “It shows I’ve done something special, I’ve prepared for them,” said Rogers, a 45-year MDRT member from Annapolis, Maryland, who served as MDRT President in 2009. “They love it; some ask to take it with them.”

Paying attention to the psychological aspects of client interactions can make all the difference when it comes to moving forward with clients. “It’s about how we communicate, listen and understand a person’s needs and dreams,” Rogers said. “Once we understand what they need, we can design solutions that benefit them.”

When they’re ready for the meeting, Rogers’ second step is seating people at a round table. Because nobody’s at the head, this demonstrates all parties are equal partners in the process. If they’re meeting someplace where there is a square or rectangular table, Rogers watches where they sit.

“If they sit at the head, I know they want to be in charge,” he said. “If it’s a couple, I make sure I sit where I can make eye contact with them. If they need to talk, I’ll turn away briefly or sometimes even leave the room to give them privacy.”

Step three is preparing an agenda and a folder with any documents he might need for this client. The first three items on the agenda are blank, followed by some general items such as “review your policies.”

Rogers then asks, “What has to have happened when we finish today for you to be pleased that we met?”

“Psychologically, I’m turning the meeting over to them,” Rogers explained. “If they’re here, it’s because they need to talk about something, so whatever they answer gets written into the upper part of the agenda.”

When Rogers writes what they say, he’s using their exact words so the client feels listened to and understood. They agreed to the appointment because there’s something they want to tell somebody they trust. By turning the microphone over, you’re allowing them to have a conversation about what they really need, Rogers said.

When it’s time to present solutions and recommendations, Rogers writes them down next to the numbers one through four. Research has shown people tend toward the middle number, in this case usually three, Rogers said. “So if I have a recommendation I think is best for them, I’ll put it at No. 3.”

In the end, it’s about understanding what benefits they need out of the relationship, and designing products to meet those needs, Rogers said.

Contact: Walton Rogers


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