Sometimes, the best prospects are the ones who, originally, got away.
The combination of a traditional sales mindset and industry developments—such as the rise of aggregators—can mean that advisors overlook the potential return of meeting a prospect who does not quickly become a client, especially in the life insurance and annuities space.
The volume of opportunity that can come with working an aggregator is a potential gold mine for advisors, and the industry is rightfully excited about the possibilities the rise of aggregators creates for sales and business growth. At the same time, when the volume of opportunities goes up, we become more likely to overlook the value of individual interactions, especially the ones that we do not quickly close.
One of our longtime advisor clients told us this story: He met with a prospect in one of the appointments we set for him, and though the meeting went well—the prospect was a fit, the dynamic was promising—the prospect ultimately chose to work with a much larger out of state firm.
Two and a half years later, the advisor was in town on other business and decided to drop in on the prospect. He didn’t have an appointment. He didn’t send an email ahead of time. He figured he would just pop in and say hello. When the advisor walked through the door, the prospect’s face went white. The prospect had the advisor’s card in his hand and was about to hand the card to his secretary to have a meeting scheduled.
That prospect turned into the largest sale the advisor had ever made.
If the advisor had purely focused on the day to day impact his sales had on his Profit & Loss statement, he may have never closed the sale. The volume mentality would have had him dropping that prospect to focus on the next dozen and never looking back. And that’s something we see often in the industry.
Advisors meet with prospects, evaluate the potential of the opportunity in that moment, and eject from the engagement as soon as they see that the prospect will not become a client in the near future.
Yes, we all have our drip systems sending out emails to nurture leads in the long-term, but as soon as we think of a meeting as “a waste of time,” our approach shifts, and we begin to treat the prospect like a non-opportunity. If you behave like the advisor in our story, that does not happen. Every conversation you have with someone is good for your business because if you treat them well, they come back to you in two years. They might refer you to a colleague. They might say something kind about you that you never hear about, but your reputation grows positively as a result.
(Related: When Getting the Boot Leads to a Sale)
Even as your volume of sales opportunities goes up, you should still take the time to help the non-opportunity prospects in the same ways you would help high-potential prospects: Give them your attention in meetings. Point them in the direction of a helpful resource to help them solve problems. Check in on them from time to time with a personal touch.
If you keep the quality of your engagements high, these are the kinds of returns you are likely to see:
- Prospects reconnect down the road because of the memorable sales experience they received.
- Your network grows, giving you access to more referrals and opens the door for you to request introductions as well.
- Your reputation improves as even non-clients speak positively about interactions with you.
- Your audience for future marketing and thought leadership expands, increasing the likelihood of content sharing and word of mouth.
Volume will always be a powerful source of growth potential, but do not let volume make you lose sight of individual prospects. You never know what a prospect can become in the future, but if you treat them poorly, you can be sure that they will never become a positive force for your business.