” You can give lifetime employability by training people, by making them adaptable, making them mobile to go other places to do other things. But you can’t guarantee lifetime employment.”—Jack Welch former GE CEO
Developing a competitive skill set is both difficult and useful. As every industry requires specific expertise it is often hard to identify a universal know-how which can be easily transferred. However, in financial technology and financial services there are some skills that seem to be universal.
If you want to be successful selling ETFs, insurance, risk valuation, structured products, portfolio analytics or credit ratings… the first step is to know your customer well and your industry even better. How? Nowadays, we are can accumulate industry specific knowledge using the internet free of charge, www.investopedia.com is an excellent starting point.
Being curious about the challenges of your customer and asking as many open questions will also help you get started. Naturally, as you ask your customer questions, you will be able to generate new leads for your organisation and eventually follow up on them or channel them to the right person to follow up. The more you ask the right questions, the more likely you are to solve the right customer challenges which is where usually a relationship with a customer grows or a new sale is made. Voicing efficiently and consistently the right message is key.
Tools like www.prezi.com or the following cheat sheet could be useful. Personally, I find it necessary to prepare diligently my client meetings and have a maximum of three things that I want to achieve to advance our relationship. In sales sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we have two years and one mouth so they need to be used accordingly. Remember the Pareto principle and its application in sales?
Once you know about your industry and your customer executing a given strategy should not be a real challenge. The key is in the following three words – JUST DO IT. If something does not work be intelligent and focus your efforts on something that does pay off.
Reporting on successfully executed strategy is often a pleasure for sales people. Using Microsoft office is often the standard process in many organisations with distinctive corporate culture. Sharing success, however often includes being vocal about your success internally – updating your CRM system or sharing what you have achieved to inspire others to do something similar will often play in your favour.
Many organisations require the same set of entry level skills for client development roles. Advance within the organisation is determined not only by this skill set but also other factors. Success is always temporary rented at the cost of learning new skills, adapting to new realities and constantly challenging yourself.