If prospecting does not come naturally to you, you may want to explore these ideas in your quest for new clients. A fear of prospecting is not so secretly a fear of rejection. Our basic human nature dictates that we don’t like to be told “no,” and we might even fear indirect rejection even more. Our pride can suffer when we feel as if we have connected with a prospect, only for them to disappear without any hint or explanation of their true feelings.
A few advisors among us thrive on this aspect of the business. These are natural salespeople who can charge through difficult moments and emerge with no less confidence, no less pride and no less tenacity than when they started.
For the majority of advisors, however, the appeal to our work is in the advising aspect. The individuals in this camp enjoy the process of learning the ins and outs of advising and applying that knowledge to make a difference in their clients’ lives and businesses. This preference for working in the business rather than on the business—serving current clients instead of finding new ones—can become a trap because these advisors are more likely to avoid calling the five leads they have than to serve clients.
A host of mental gymnastics can convince an advisor that not prospecting will actually be good for the business. These include: “You could increase wallet-share or generate a referral” and “You have to stay on top of your clients so that you can retain them.” But in reality, your staff should be managing most of your day-today tasks so that you can devote as much time as possible to the hardest and most profitable part of your work: acquiring new clients.
Being an active thought leader can help you passively engage prospects.
If prospecting is not a natural behavior for you, you can still achieve exponential growth in your business. Here’s how to engage more prospects:
Hire a coach. By engaging an industry coach (someone with expertise in your field) or a pure sales coach, you can inject new insights into your new business activities and introduce some outside accountability. Having a new direction and having to “report” your progress can lead to a big boost in your activity.
Capitalize on your knowledge. Your expertise gives you the opportunity to engage large groups of people. Seminars are one option, but you can be more creative than that. Engage your local chamber of commerce. Join a networking group. Speak to parents at your local high school about college funding. And so on. Go beyond one-on-one engagements to interacting with large groups of people.
Build industry authority. Being an active thought leader can help you passively engage prospects. By writing for publications—industry or local—and by maintaining an active blog and social-media presence, you can demonstrate your knowledge and spark conversations with potential prospects in a way that’s much less personally taxing than, say, cold calling.
Hire an appointment-setting firm. Set appointments are still not as warm as referrals, but some of the hardest parts of the prospecting process are done for you: the cold calls and the follow-up touches necessary to set the first appointment. This allows you to begin a conversation with someone who has already expressed interest in what you have to say.
Review your growth plan quarterly. If you can’t measure it, you should not do it. That’s what my old mentor used to say. At the beginning of each year, set a goal for your growth and check on it frequently. It’s easy for someone to say, “just call your leads,” but if you have to see how much you’re not growing quarter to quarter (instead of waiting until December to evaluate your progress), you might get the extra push you need to prospect more.
Prospecting may never become “easy” for you, and that’s OK. While you are addressing your discomfort with prospecting and exploring other ways to acquire clients, your competitors are playing it safe and not taking any steps that lead to growth.
Thank you NAIFA Advisory Today for publishing this article.