Editor's Note: This is the tenth and final article in aseries identifying the best sales techniques for 2015. Toview the rest of the series, visit 100 best sales ideas 2015.

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As any sales professional will tell you, selling is as much art as itis science. It takes skill to sell in a digital universe, but, morethan that, it takes intuition, social media savvy and a deepunderstanding of the market you are looking to reach.

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Each year we poll the industry's best to find out what singleselling tip has made the biggest difference in their practices.Here, in no specific order, is our collection of the 100 tips thatwill help you sell well in 2015. Read, learn and leave your ownsuggested sales tips in the comments section below.

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Editor's Note: This is the last article in a 10-partseries identifying the best sales techniques for2015. To view the rest of the series,visit 100 best sales ideas2015.

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100. Everyone should have the opportunity to say“no.”

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The average American knows 600 people, according to the NewYork Times. Have they all been given the opportunity to dobusiness? Let's assume you've taken the time to explain who you areand what you do across your extended social circle. If they don'trise to the occasion we might assume, they aren't interested.Worse, we take people “off the list” because we perceive they arein difficult financial straits or going through a life changingevent like divorce.

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Everyone should have the opportunity to say no. If you ask and they decline, that'sfine. Don't make the decision for them.

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— Bryce Sanders, President, Perceptive Business SolutionsInc.

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99. Maximize opportunities for socialdiscovery.

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With the widespread adoption of social media, we are no longersearching for news — news is finding us! A similar trend is nowtaking place with products and services. Consumers are beingincreasingly influenced by social media — discovering localbusiness, products and services via friends and familyrecommendations. With the availability of “social login,”marketing professionals must anticipate this “social discovery”accelerating on virtually all products and services, and ensure itis a key component of all future marketing plans.

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—Vinay Murthy, Vice President, Business Development,KnownCircle / SocialTwist

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98. Have one thing be “yourthing.”

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Your organization may offer a full arrayof benefits, but it's not necessary or even plausible to betop-of-mind for all of them with your clients. Pick an area you can dominate as asubject-matter expert and market yourself as a known authority inthat field. I do this with dental insurance. Clients and prospectsmay initially call me for dental benefits expertise but often endup asking about our other products once I've demonstrated a masteryof that niche.

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— Patrick Garrabrant, Director of Large Group and AffinitySales, HealthPlan.com

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97. Make it meaningful.

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The best marketing tip I ever received was from Mike Maddock,co-founder and CEO of Maddock Douglas. It goes something likethis:

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“If you want a really effective marketing campaign, you bettermake sure that what you are selling is really meaningful to a lotof people.”

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This is a humbling truth about the relative importance of therole of a marketer. A marketer's role is important; however to bereally effective, the marketer must also have the ability to impactthe offering itself, not just design a glitzy campaign. Theoffering could be a product, service or the customer experience.When you consider the speed of change in consumer tastes anddesires, you see that the role of a marketer is quicklytransforming into the role of an innovator. Consequently,marketers must develop a new set of skills to remain relevant inthe decades to come.

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— Maria Ferrante-Schepis, managing principal for insuranceand financial services innovation at Maddock Douglas.

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96. Work your strengths; delegate the rest.

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Why is it some seem to reach extraordinary amounts of successwhile others peak and can't seem to get past their currentplateau?

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Those who see great success have learned their strengths, how toexploit them, and how to delegate the rest in order to maximizetheir time. We all have the same 24-hour day to work with; why notspend it wisely and focus an extreme amount of effort at whatyou're great at and figure out a way to add someone to your team totake care of the rest. There are ways to optimize, systematize, andscale if you get out of your own way.

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We've all heard it a million times: work on your business andnot in your business. Sales and marketing has to be treated thisway, too. You need to learn in what areas you can dominate and makeit a priority to fill your time with those types of tasks, so longas they add to your bottom line. Any time you find yourselfcompleting tasks over and over, you need a system to take care ofit. Any time you find yourself lost and wasting time on somethingyou're unfamiliar with, find someone who can do it now, and learnto do it on your own later.

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We also have the advantages of technology no previous generationhas had — useful tech is all around us and can multiply ourefforts. As a younger person, I've grown up with technologicalacclimation, where others may continue to do things how they alwayshave at the risk of becoming obsolete. This is a pattern which hasto end.

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Time is always ticking. Make the most of every second.

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— Jason Fisher, Owner, BestLifeRates.org

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95. Forge ties with business partners.

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Under the insurance umbrella, there are many ways agents canbuild their business. One of these is mortgage protection, the mostimportant coverage people place on their home, making you even morevaluable to your clients. Note that “mortgage protection” is reallyanother way to describe life insurance — in this instance, apersonal policy with living benefit riders set up in relation to amortgage.

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In real estate sales, most people know about primary mortgageinsurance and homeowners insurance. The lender is protected againstdefault, and the physical structure is covered in case of theft,fire or damage. All bases seem covered, but what if the newhomeowner or a breadwinner passes away, or becomes ill or disabledand can't work?

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Connecting with realtors and real estate professionalsmight generate leads and establish a complete real estate servicesteam that will serve your clients and energize your business.

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— Jim Katzaman, Manager, American Classic Agency

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94. Make technology work for you, not the other wayaround.

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Countless software tools provide ways to acquire, nurture andretain clients. Ensure you protect your personal brand and image bymaking sure each system has accurate information. Some softwaresyncs this information automatically, so there is no excuse to havebotched data. Nobody likes a “Dear Sir or Madam” email thesedays.

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—John Marcus III, CEO and Co-Founder, Bedrock Data

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93. Try this 4-step strategy.

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1. Get off the couch and into the world you are developing.“Fear has no enemies but itself.”

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2. Discover if you're talking to the right person to make thatdecision for that product.

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3. Ask questions that are comfortable, direct and professionalthat pertain to the topic you are selling, to see if there is atimely need for your product or service. (The “Bull in the ChinaCloset” approach has never successfully worked for me.)

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4. Rapport is everything!

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— Dick Klick, independent agent and broker

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92. Consider seminars.

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In my experience, there is no form of advertising or marketingbetter than seminars. Zero. If your goalis to expose yourself and your business to new prospective clientson a consistent basis, then by all means please consider hostingregular seminars.

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Our industry has a unique advantage that I firmly believe manyfinancial professionals are failing to capitalize on. Thisadvantage is the need for a personal relationship to be presentbefore any business takes place.

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When people choose to employ the services of financialprofessionals, there are specific elements of “human touch” thatsimply cannot be trumped by any form of technology or internetsearch. There is a personal relationship that needs to bedeveloped. Seminars give you that opportunity.

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Christopher P. Hill, RFC®, President, Wealth and Income GroupLLC

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91. Men and women are different (duh!), so why do youoffer them the same long-term care plan?

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I think it's time to start planning differently. For years we'veforced stand-alone long-term care insurance(LTCI) on both men and women because we didn't see anyother options. Our solution has been the shared care benefit, sothat, if the man did not need care, then the woman could use thebenefits and they wouldn't be wasted. Unfortunately, the industryrequires both spouses to choose identical benefits to use a sharedbenefit rider. This often drives us to recommend higher benefitsfor the male than are necessary. Using shared benefits continues tobe a viable option for couples but I think we can get a little morecreative and do better for our clients. For almost every couplethat I see I am offering a linked benefit option for the male.Depending upon their financial situation and health, I may offer asingle-premium option or an annual pay option. Fact finding alsohelps me to determine whether a life-linked or annuity-linkedproduct makes sense. We know that the husband is much less likelyto need care and that he will probably need it for a shorter periodof time than his wife. So, why not allow the wife to receive adeath benefit if her husband does not need care? You also reducetheir risk of future rate increases because most linked productsoffer guaranteed rates.

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— Timothy Kelly, Vice President, Sales, Individual CommercialBrokerage, Inc.

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