A Quick and Dirty Checklist: Could you pass a CSP Exam?


You worked hard to get your CIMA, CFP, Series 6, 7, etc.

You deliver your technical knowledge better than the last or next guy.

  • We (humans) are competing with artificial intelligence for our jobs.
  • Technical knowledge credentials get you in the door. 
  • Soft skills keep you employed.

Soft skills that only humans can master will make or break your future in selling to financial advisors.

It’s no secret that consultative selling falls squarely that soft skill category. Many won’t make the cut because they missed the flashing sign:

Danger: Beware of measuring soft skills softly. Are you being as tough on skills as you are on results?

What Advisors (especially RIAs) want:

Advisors want to feel well informed, unbiased, in good company and smart.

Delivering what advisors want AND and a unique buying experience will take the sale over the top.

To deliver that experience you need to be a damned good consultative seller.  

Firms often look the other way on accountability and definition for consultative selling skills. Things like “advisor expressed interest”, or “added value by talking about a product”, or “found out something about the advisor” remain on the checklist.

Seriously? How LOW is that pipeline bar?

The CSP -- Consultative Sales Professional (for wholesalers)

I made that credential up.

There is no test, exam. If you don’t see the risk there, no need to read further.

Call the credential what you like, succeeding as a CSP requires measurement of outcomes and the skills that drive them. To help get consistency, here’s my vote for the top 10 criteria to measure.

The Checklist:

Where does each person on your wholesaling team rank in delivering these conversation outcomes? More importantly, how do you know? What skills drive each outcome below?

  1. Prepared a personalized benefit headline and three strategic questions that engaged the advisor and surfaced information not available elsewhere, documented in advance in CRM (that’s how you know).
  2. Replaced personal rapport with business rapport (how?)
  3. Used structured transitions that engage advisors in moving through the conversation (examples? really hard to do...)
  4. Asked questions UNrelated to products, that triggered business insight (from the advisor’s point of view). Provided implication of maintaining status quo.
  5. Delivered a structured, less than 60-second presentation laced with personalized benefits.
  6. Adapted words and approach to match the advisor’s psychological preferences using neurolinguistics and other behavioral skills.
  7. Recognized specific questions as hidden objections and avoided the ‘overcome’.
  8. Gained agreement before ending the conversation and assessed urgency (addressed the happy ears syndrome head on). OR disqualified.
  9. Asked the advisor to engage in an activity between this call and the next to set up the follow-up call.
  10. Documented differentiating post call strategy.

These are the basics; they are not for faint of heart. The best sales reps are hungry for support in getting this right. Ultimately it makes the job MUCH easier.

Do you have criteria to assess (not just pass /fail) if you are in the A+ or C - categories?

Only you can decide, but sales teams that have worked with Interactive Communications have experienced results that make National Sales Managers smile and sleep better at night. We do the heavy lifting. Your results will reflect a smart decision.  

PS:  No need to invest a gazillion dollars in sales training. Try out one of our workshops and decide for yourself if we can help you quickly get the traction that will make your life a whole lot easier.