When I first started my job as a financial planner, I didn’t have any experience in acquiring clients. The classic “cold call” was unknown to me and I can’t say that I was so enthusiastic to try it. This changed drastically when my first boss and friend told me to watch Boiler Room, an old movie with Vin Diesel and Ben Affleck. This movie about a young stock trader and firms doing everything they can to make their clients trade regardless if it is ethical or not.
If you discount the parts that this movie shows with very unethical practices in the financial world, you will see behind this “big show” that there are a lot of great truths about how to make money in life and succeeding with clients. I’ve been to Youtube and take my favorite scenes (warning: they don’t always use clean language).
In this first scene, we see Ben Affleck, one of the co-owners of the firm making his pitch to the new recruits. There are 3 things that I learned from this scene:
- You must respect your co-workers and colleagues
- You are required to work very hard if you want to succeed because nothing is easy
- People who says that money is the root of all evil, doesn’t have any
In this scene, Vin Diesel, another owner, shows how to close a client. The most important part of this call is when he is done with his pitch and patiently waits on the line. Vin is done talking, the client is not answering and Vin simply waits on the line and lets the power of silence work its magic. Silence is one thing that is not socially tolerated in our society. If you purposely include silence in a conversation and you don’t break it, you obtain full control of this conversation.
This scene is probably the best example of how to succeed on a cold call. There is a guy who calls to offer a newspaper subscription. XXXXXX, a young broker, is asking the representative to start his phone call once again with a real sales pitch. The difference between the 2 approaches is simple but effective: mention “what’s in it for me” benefits with confidence to your client. That’s too bad the sale is not closed at the end of the call:
A few months after the recruits started, they don’t generate money as expected. Ben Affleck comes back with another inspirational speech about the ABC technique: Always Be Closing. You want to be in a situation where your client answers “yes” to questions. The point is not having questions regarding what you offer, it is just to bring the client to a mood that he wants to say “yes”.
At the end of his speech, Ben says something very true: a sale is made on every call you make. It’s either you sell the client something (a product, a service, an appointment) or the client sells you he doesn’t need you. At that point, it’s up to you to decided on which side of the sale you want to be!
I watched this movie again not too long ago as I am restarting a new book. I can say that the basic rules preached in this movie are brilliant:
- Work hard
- Play the numbers game (the more you call, the better you get)
- Talk about benefits (what’s in it for me)
- Be confident (but not cocky!)
- ABC (you need to get into a positive mood to make sales)
On the other hand, the actors show way too much confidence, arrogance and cockiness. I doubt that this would work with just any clients if you are looking to build a solid relationship with them. Each time I’m about to go into a “cold call” session, I watch a few of these scenes to remind me to be confident and proud of myself when I call. After all, the most important thing is how you sound on the phone, not what you say ;-).
Quick edit: after reviewing these scenes once again last week, I booked a meeting for a $3M deal the next day! It’s always a good idea to review your best practices before taking action.
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