An exclusive interview with leading sales training coach and consultant, Michael Salmon.
John Nyaradi: Hi there, I’m John Nyaradi, publisher of Wall Street Sector Selector, a financial media site specializing exchange traded funds and global markets. Today, I’m really pleased to welcome our special guest, Michael Salmon. Michael, welcome to Wall Street Sector Selector.
Michael Salmon: John, thank you for having me.
John Nyaradi: Michael is the director of the Salmon Academy, a leading, training, coaching and sales consulting firm. He works with Fortune 500 Executives, top financial advisors including Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo and others. He has been a keynote speaker at the COMDEX Convention and at the well-known SALT Conference where he appeared alongside George W. Bush, Colin Powell, and Former Prime Minster Gordon Brown. Michael appears widely on various financial media sites including CNN, CBS, NBC, Fox and Bloomberg. Today, we’re going to talk about his new book which is Winning More Business in Financial Services: How to Score Big with Referrals and Networking. So Michael, let’s start here at the top of Winning More Business in Financial Services. Why did you write the book and what can people expect to get out of it?
Michael Salmon: I wrote the book, John, because I work with advisors around the country, have coached many of the top advisors in the country and cognitively, they understand that they need to grow their business but most people don’t have a process. I’ve developed courses and have been helping people on a direct basis which was great, but by writing this book, I’m going to be able to touch more advisors to help them grow their business.
John Nyaradi: Right at the beginning you talk about “warm” calls versus “cold” calls. Nobody likes the “cold” calls. They’re not so effective. How do you move from the “cold” call situation to a “warm” call?
Michael Salmon: Well, John, it’s not so much what you know but whom you know and everyday we’re constantly reminded of that. I think what people need to do is get very specific about whom it is that they want to work with it. They need to leverage their network to get to those “warm” calls, but if you’re not doing it efficiently and effectively, you won’t get the result you want. In the book I discuss how to figure out with whom you want to work. Is it retired folks, business owners, professionals, doctors? And then I show how to get specific and get access to those people through that “warm introduction”.
John Nyaradi: Asking for a referral can be kind of uncomfortable for a lot of people. How do you do that?
Michael Salmon: I think it’s all about staging, framing and delivery. And we go through how to do that in the book.
John Nyaradi: Let’s talk just for moment social media. Is that playing to what you’re doing at all?
Michael Salmon: I think social media is a great tool but you’ve got to use it for good and not evil. And right now, people in the financial service business have to be very careful for compliance purposes. But what I can suggest for people is one of the greatest tools out there from social media and that’s LinkedIn. And not using LinkedIn for the technology to drive it for you but to use LinkedIn as a tool to determine and look at whom do you know and whom do they know.
Where the mistake happens is a lot of advisors use the technology where I would communicate to you through LinkedIn and say, “Hey, I see you know Shelly,” and you say back to me at LinkedIn, “Well just send Shelly an e-mail.” When Shelly gets the e-mail and says, “Hmm, who’s this guy Michael and how does Michael know John?” I really don’t know the connection and that’s too distant.
And so I go back to the human connection. Use the technology as a resource to create potential opportunities for people that you want to speak to and then go back to the people that you know and ask people directly for that connection and how they would like to do it and where they’re most comfortable doing it. I believe you take a combination of networking and LinkedIn and you’ve got a powerful tool.
John Nyaradi: Let’s talk about the Salmon Academy.
Michael Salmon: Salmon Academy provides training and ongoing coaching through our curriculum to help organizations grow their business and we do it through a variety of different vehicles. We do the face-to-face, in-person training. We do virtual training. We do eLearning.
And then we provide ongoing coaching because our feeling is anytime you go to training, people walk out of there and they feel really good and fired up but what happens is they go back to their office and they go back to doing things the way they did it before. But when you have the coaching aspect of it, it really makes a big difference. I coach countless of the Barron’s Top 50 and I’ve asked them repeatedly why do we still work together and they say, “Because you know what? I feel like I can still learn something from you.”
At the end of the day, we’re judged by our ability to demonstrate results and we provide management monthly reporting so that they can see that anything we do, it’s all the cost of doing business. It’s never an expense and we demonstrate our bottom line in everything that we do.
John Nyaradi: That’s great. So we’re talking in late summer of 2012. I’d like to end this conversation with sort of an open-ended question and that is, what do you see is the biggest challenge facing financial advisors right now and then how they can overcome and succeed to meet that challenge?
Michael Salmon: Well right now, John, I think people are on the sidelines with cash and people may not be happy with their advisors but they’re in no rush to change. And the fact that there is not a lot of wealth creation right now, pretty much advisors are going to be taking business from another advisor.
Everybody sees what’s going on in the market day to day. You don’t know what’s going to happen. We have sovereign problems that need to be resolved. You’ve got Europe in turmoil. Unemployment is high. We have the election coming up. So everybody can rationalize why they don’t do anything but what advisors can do to accelerate it is really two things.
Number one is when they’re sitting down and they’re talking with people, do more listening and less talking and qualify people and find out what their interest is and find out what their expectation is and set a timeline. Let’s just establish the timeline upfront so there’s a mutual expectation, there’s some accountability.
And then secondly, and this is really what it’s all about, is helping people to optimize their network of contacts to get access to the people they want to meet to a warm introduction. Optimize your network of contacts. Speak to people. Let them know the kind of folks that you want to meet for a warm introduction and once you get to do that, birds of feather flock together, then the opportunity goes up exponentially. I believe if you can do that, great things will happen for you.
John Nyaradi: Folks, we’ve been talking with Michael Salmon today. He’s the director of the Salmon Academy, the leading training and coaching and sales consulting firm. Michael works for Fortune 500 Executives and top financial advisors. His new book is just out which we’ve been discussing. You can learn more about the link at the bottom of this interview. The book, of course, is Winning More Business in Financial Services: How to Score Big with Referrals and Networking.
You can learn more about Winning More Business in Financial Services: How to Score Big with Referrals and Networking and more about Michael and his work by clicking on the link at the bottom of this interview.
Michael, it’s been wonderful chatting with you today. I appreciate it. I’m sure we’re all looking forward to talking with you again soon.
Michael Salmon: Thanks, John, my pleasure.
(recorded interview, edited for length and clarity)