As financial planning continues to shift further and further away from selling products and towards the delivery of quality advice, many have suggested that financial planning may soon reach the point where it departs entirely from its "sales" roots - a vision widely supported by both consumers and new financial planners entering the profession, who all view sales with a highly negative stigma.
Yet the reality is that at its purest level, "selling" is really just about persuasion and influencing the decisions of others, and financial planners really are in the business of persuasion, convincing clients to: 1) pay the planner for services; 2) to engage in the financial planning process; and 3) to implement the advisor's recommendations. As a result, if you - as the planner - don't know how to "sell" your clients on the value of you, the financial planning you offer, and motivate them to act on your recommendations, then you simply can't succeed as a financial planner, regardless of whether the sale of an insurance or investment product is ever involved (though especially if clients really do need to implement such products!).
Accordingly, the reality is that perhaps it's time to ditch the sales stigma in the financial planning profession, and take a fresh look at how the noblest implementation of sales, persuasion, and influence is at the very core of what it takes to be a successful practitioner. To do this, however, also requires dropping the embarrassing history of how "sales" has been done in financial services in the past, and instead look to the latest tools and research available, so that we can develop proper training for how to "sell" effectively in the 21st century.