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22 Keys to Sales Success: How to Make It Big in Financial Services [Hardcover]

James M. Benson , Paul Karasik
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

April 1 2004 Bloomberg (Book 40)
In the past few years, the financial industry has undergone dynamic structural changes that have deeply affected the sales process. Bruised by market volatility, today's consumer is skeptical and demands more for less. A business needs fresh approaches to sell in today's tough marketplace.

Here are the 22 Keys that can help any financial professional make more money, work less, and maximize his potential. Industry leaders James Benson and Paul Karasik combine their personal experience with the shared wisdom of the masters. Each key contains proven, actionable sales guidelines, including:

  • The four primary fears that could destroy a sale--and how to help prospects overcome them
  • The nine most effective strategic approaches to "target marketing" success
  • Five guidelines for qualifying prospects more effectively
  • Sixty-five ways to snap a sales slump
  • Ten ways to get clients to say yes
  • Four simple steps to generate new business with current clients
  • Five guidelines for overcoming objections
  • Six sample scripts to make closing ratios soar

Whether a company has been in business for years or is just beginning, each key will unlock a new door on the path to sales success.


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Review

"Jim Benson and Paul Karasik have written an easy-to-read-and-understand, cram-packed guide to proven successful selling techniques. I would categorize this book as a 'must-read' for new sales professionals and a 'you better read' for seasoned sales professionals."
—Albert J. "Bud" Schiff
CEO, NYLEX Benefits
Past President, Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU)
Past Chairman, International Top of the Table

"This is one of the best-written sales books I've read. The action steps and skill builders help put words to action. This belongs on the shelf of every sales professional in the financial services business."
—Robert B. Plybon
Plybon & Associates
Past President, Million Dollar Round Table

"22 Keys to Sales Success makes a great educational text for the financial professional. It presents new ideas for the experienced adviser while also reinforcing historical best practices. For the less-experienced adviser, it serves as an effective primer on how to build a successful practice. Don't miss the resources guide in the back of the book--that alone is worth the price of admission!"
Barry G. Knight
Senior Vice President and Director of Sales Development, Pioneer Investments

"With this book, Jim Benson and Paul Karasik share their expertise on a number of important skills--such as developing client and professional relationships, ascertaining and serving client needs, and formulating, implementing, and adjusting multifaceted plans--in a clear, articulate, and practical way. 22 Keys to Sales Success provides the next generation of producers and leaders the tools they need to be successful in this ever-changing industry."
—David Stertzer
Executive Vice President, Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU)

About the Author

James M. Benson is president and chief executive officer of John Hancock Life Insurance Company, a division of Manulife Financial Corporation. Overseeing insurance and annuity sales, marketing, and distribution operations, he is responsible for all of the company's distribution channels.
Prior to joining Hancock, he was president of MetLife's Individual Business unit and was also chairman and chief executive officer of New England Financial, as well as chairman, president, and chief executive officer of GenAmerica Financial Corporation.
Before joining New England Financial and MetLife, Jim held the dual position of president and chief operating officer of Equitable Companies, Inc. and was chief executive officer of its flagship life insurance operation, Equitable Life Assurance Society. From 1968 to 1984, he held a variety of positions in sales, marketing, and product development with Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company.

Paul Karasik is the president of The Business Institute, a sales and management training and consulting company. He has devoted eighteen years to helping America's financial industry professionals achieve their goals.
Paul is the author of six business classics, including Sweet Persuasion, How to Make It Big in the Seminar Business, and Seminar Selling: The Ultimate Resource Guide for Marketing Financial Services.
He is the founder of the American Seminar Leaders Association and a popular presenter at professional conferences and seminars throughout North America.


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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Narrow Your Focus and Do More of What Works May 10 2004
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Review Summary: 22 Keys to Sales Success has some very fine material in it. The book would have been much improved if it had focused on one type of sales professional in one type of organization looking for one type of client (a new life insurance salesperson in a small agency dealing with owners of small businesses, for example). That would have allowed the material to have been more focused and customized for immediate use. At the same time, some of the material just doesn't fit certain classes of sales professionals. If you are wise enough to ignore what doesn't fit, this book can greatly improve your success.
Review: The authors are clearly well read and have had a lot of experience going to seminars. The many references to the works of others are appropriate and add depth to this otherwise simple book. From that authority, they provide many helpful suggestions that will be essential to newcomers to financial sales and valuable to experienced people who aren't using the advice.
I thought that the advice to Create Your Compelling Vision, Position with Mission, Energize Your Success, Open the Johari Window, Market Yourself as the Expert, Focus on Clients (Not Compensation), Demand Objections, and Be Your Own Sales Manager were superb. I was skeptical about the strong emphasis on continuing efforts to close, scripts and the suggested ways to get referrals. The material in the book seemed inauthentic to me in these areas as a professional, and I graded the book down accordingly.
It seemed like the book was aimed more at those selling insurance products for life and retirement than anything else. So if that's what you sell, this book is probably good for you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Narrow Your Focus and Do More of What Works May 10 2004
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Review Summary: 22 Keys to Sales Success has some very fine material in it. The book would have been much improved if it had focused on one type of sales professional in one type of organization looking for one type of client (a new life insurance salesperson in a small agency dealing with owners of small businesses, for example). That would have allowed the material to have been more focused and customized for immediate use. At the same time, some of the material just doesn't fit certain classes of sales professionals. If you are wise enough to ignore what doesn't fit, this book can greatly improve your success.
Review: The authors are clearly well read and have had a lot of experience going to seminars. The many references to the works of others are appropriate and add depth to this otherwise simple book. From that authority, they provide many helpful suggestions that will be essential to newcomers to financial sales and valuable to experienced people who aren't using the advice.
I thought that the advice to Create Your Compelling Vision, Position with Mission, Energize Your Success, Open the Johari Window, Market Yourself as the Expert, Focus on Clients (Not Compensation), Demand Objections, and Be Your Own Sales Manager were superb. I was skeptical about the strong emphasis on continuing efforts to close, scripts and the suggested ways to get referrals. The material in the book seemed inauthentic to me in these areas as a professional, and I graded the book down accordingly.
It seemed like the book was aimed more at those selling insurance products for life and retirement than anything else. So if that's what you sell, this book is probably good for you. If you are a financial planner who looks at all dimensions of planning, this book is probably too sales-oriented to meet your professional standards. If you are an attorney, you will probably find much of what the book says to be appalling in its commercial focus.
One of the ironies of this book is that the authors suggest that you focus in as narrow a niche of services and customers as possible. I wonder why they didn't follow their own advice in writing this book.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Basic Review for Financial Planners July 24 2005
By Vivek Thoppay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have been a financial planner for a little over three years and I was reading this book to get some new ideas on growing my practice. Many of the ideas in this book I have read elsewhere. They just reinforced them in me, which is always good. I liked the Johari window idea in which you let everyone and remind everyone you meet what you do. I know sometimes I forgot exactly what some of my friends do. In the financial planning industry, I feel it is important to let everyone know all the things you can do and perhaps ask them to let their friends know about your services. Of course, don't push it - just give them a gentle reminder by weaving into the conversation every now and then.

This book would have been better if they had included more real life experiences from the people they have mentored. Hearing directly from them in their own words how they used each of these 22 keys would have made them more powerful.

In summary, this book is for someone who wants to reinforce the principles of sales success in the financial and insurance industry. For others who want new ideas they want to utilize in their practice, I would suggest looking elsewhere.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible value for your money Aug. 31 2004
By Robert W. Bly - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Books that give genuinely new ideas -- or utterly practical tips -- on sales are worth their weight in gold. This one does both. The instructions on how to create your own One-Minute Positioning statement alone are worth 10 times the price of the book -- it is absolutely the best technique around for explaining to people in a brief statement what you do and why they should be interested.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear tips for selling financial products Feb. 23 2006
By Rolf Dobelli - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Selling is not about pushing products any more. Pitches or sales gimmicks do not persuade the contemporary cynical, savvy consumer. In today's world, successful financial services and product sales professionals must build mutually beneficial relationships with their clients based on trust and respect. Authors James M. Benson and Paul Karasik use their experience and accomplishments in finance and insurance to identify 22 key sales strategies that anyone can use, including sales professionals in other industries. Much of the advice, for good or ill, is not specific to the area of financial services. Each chapter explains a tried-and-true, applicable sales strategy in an easy-to-understand format. You've heard some of these strategies before, but others will provide new fuel to energize your approach to sales. Each strategy makes sense and we recommend this book to everyone who sells financial products, whether you are a weathered sales veteran or a novice who is still finding your way.
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