Years ago while working at Merrill Lynch in New York, I heard eight advisors talk about their practices and how they had become successful. What struck me most was that although they couldn’t have been more different – there was the proverbial red suspenders guy, the quiet shy guy, the newbie etc —- they shared one common practice: each prospected every single day and met people they didn’t know before.
Today, as consultants to the financial community, the question we get most often from advisors is, “where and how do I get prospects?”
We tell them: “first you need to get your head wrapped around the notion that getting a flow of prospects is not simply about acquiring a list of names. If it were that easy, the phone book would suffice. Effective prospecting is hard work. For those willing to put in the time and effort, the rewards are gratifying – and prospecting can be made easier.”
Here are three surefire steps to make prospecting easier.
1. Understand that you are a sales person, not a portfolio manager
Advisors have to do a lot more than be great advisors or portfolio managers – they have to be great sales people. That means devoting time to prospecting each and every day.
2. Targeting makes prospecting easier
Getting focused on a smaller well-defined group that you are familiar with is easier and more effective than trying to sell to everyone. Pick a group you’ve already succeeded with from your existing client list.
3. Connecting with people means having an interest in what interests them
Once you have identified the group you are comfortable working with, you can start to connect with them where they normally congregate. You’d be surprised how many groups are regularly looking for informed speakers (the value add to their members).
Take away: Prospecting is hard work: It requires a sales mindset and a commitment, an targeted approach makes it easier, as does connecting with people in the group around their interests.