Prospecting — you are not a portfolio manager

Understand that you are a sales person, not a portfolio manager

While the above seems obvious, given the blank stares we get when we talk about prospecting, we have come to realize that a huge hurdle for many advisors is understanding that in order to grow their business, they have to do a lot more than be great advisors or portfolio managers – they have to be great sales people. No business, no matter how great, can survive for long without a regular flow of new sales.

So before we even start talking about the mechanics of finding good prospects, we tell them that they must first understand and embrace the notion that they have to “sell themselves and their practice.” But selling doesn’t have to be about whipping out your PowerPoint presentation on your system for investing.

Advisors have to become more than just good advisors – they have to build a sales focused practice. That means devoting time to prospecting each and every day.

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.

In their prospecting efforts, advisors also need to develop sales strategies and set goals. It means reaching out in the community in an organized fashion to create awareness of your services.

Take away

Prospecting is hard work: It requires a sales mindset and a commitment (step 1), a targeted approach makes it easier (step 2), as does connecting with people in the group around their interests (step 3).

Look for more in the next blog when we discuss how targeting makes prospecting easier.


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