Hi there,


I posted a query a few weeks back, as I got offered a job as a Stockbroker which required me to build up a client base from scratch.


I wasn't sure about the role, as although I work in stockbroking, most stockbrokers here in the UK don't really require you to go out and either cold call or network yourself to build business. I'm not a salesman but I think I come across well to clients and I suppose this got me wondering whether I would be able to do what the office head wanted, which was to cold call local accountants, lawyers etc and bring business in and also network and make contacts that way. He also said I could contact dormant clients, or clients who had left, which I imagine would be easiest.

Anyway, I'd be interested to know your thoughts as to whether someone who isn't a natural salesman (or has "the gift of the gab", as we call it here in the UK), could ever become a good salesman? Is this something you could learn?



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How old are you?  When asking people to hand over their money do you have the experience to make them feel safe doing so?  Do you look the part?

I'm not shooting you down but I am addressing what the perspective clients will be thinking.

No problem, they're all valid questions. I'm 32 with a bit of grey hair (not sure if that would make look more responsible). I have 5 years experience at more junior levels of stockbroking and have exams and some experience advising clients. I dress more smartly than most in financial services here in the UK. I think I come across well to clients but don't know if I could cold call lawyers etc, at the moment at least which is why I asked my question.

Have a variety of product to offer.

It doesn't matter if you're selling vacuum cleaners, garden/flower seeds, pocket knives, or stocks and commodities. Having a variety of services or product to go over with as client/customer chooses creates the market place setting required for success. This doesn't mean flood them with stuff they don't understand or want. Just enough to narrow in on their likes and interests. People naturally want to invest in what they like and know something about. A salesman need only help the client/customer like and understand what they want enough.

Interesting points. I certainly agree that you'd have to believe in your product and ultimately try and find which product is right for your potential client.


I was originally thinking more along the lines of personality. Do you think the average person can learn to be as thick-skinned and confident as someone who's more of a natural?

I'm a bit of both, I suppose.


I can be a bit shy but then I can be quite loud when you get to know me. I can come across well with clients but that's different to trying to sell to a lawyer, who's very busy. I dunno, if I was the ultra-confident type, I probably would have bitten the guy's arm off and thought about whether I could do it later.  

You keep mentioning lawyers.  Why?   Why would selling to a lawyer be any different than selling to anyone else?


Fundamentally, selling is the establishment of a relationship, a fundamental trust between you and your client.  And yes, that is definitely a skill that can be learned, though it's best to develop it within yourself, rather than just following a formulaic approach.


Once you earn your client's trust, that's when the fun starts.  This may help you...you are not selling financial services.  You are selling YOU PROVIDING financial services.  Yes, that's an important distinction.


Seriously, though...why this fixation on lawyers?  You've got me curious.

Haha, I just mentioned lawyers as an example - I would be cold calling lawyers, accountants, financial advisers (don't know if you have the same distinction in the US - people who don't necessarily manage investments but help with general management of wealth). I was simply trying to make the distinction between contacting a busy professional, who would likely have a 'gatekeeper' and an ordinary Joe. Though, if I'm honest, I'd rather not have to cold call anyone but perhaps, that's something I would just have to do - the rewards (both in terms of job satisfaction and financially) would be worth it

Cold calling...heck, dealing with clients in general can be a terrifying thought for some.  But, once you address that fear, I expect that you'll find it to be a very pleasant experience for you.


I have my own tech support business.  When starting it up, I had no fears about my own skills, and only minimal concerns about funding.  But, the thought of dealing, one on one, with clients...it terrified me.  Now, I find it the part I look forward to the most.


Remember, make it about trusting YOU, and slant your approach in that manner.  Yes, you're selling financial services, but you're actually selling YOU selling financial services.  A minor distinction, but an important one, since I presume that your income will depend on commissions.

Thank you for such an insightful post! That's definitely the way to look at it.

Yes, I think the average person can sell very well if they try. In fact, I think the average person will out sell the insensitive and the cocky. What seems to be the hardest I think for the really introverted is after the pitch they have trouble simply ASKING to close the deal. Cocky people have the problem of thinking they can demand the right not privilege.

I think anyone can be a salesmen. Some may be naturals but I'm willing to bet that most just seem to be naturals because they worked at it. I think if sales is where you want to be then you need to practice and also learn from others. The best way to do this I think is to get a mentor who can show you the ropes.


I'm not in sales but my brother is and I know that over the years, whether he's selling pharmaceuticals, car, or heavy machinery, he always seems to have someone above him that is seeking advice from. They maybe his direct boss or they may just be some expert in his field. The point is, my brother is a natural salesman (especially to women I think) yet he seems to be always seeking new tips from others. I think that's the way to make a buck in sales.

   I would say an outgoing (but not overly forward and obnoxious) approach is really all you need.


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