When we talk advisors and ask them about what they want to improve in their practice, invariably the answer that comes back is their prospect pipeline. Bill Rice of www.BetterCloser.com has come up with 10 tips for advisors to improve their prospect pipeline.

  1. Keep it clean. Develop a methodology for annotating key actions or tagging each lead as you work it. These annotations function as milestones that segment your prospects. This segmentation becomes key to observing and acting on leading indicators to convert more prospects into sales.
  2. Keep it tight. Cut 10 percent of your leads each day from your pipeline. You can withdraw them from the active pipeline and feed them back in systematically after about 30 days for a courteous follow-up. For Internet leads, start by cutting leads over 15 days from inquiry; leads attempted and not contacted more than five times; leads contacted and not applied more than five times.
  3. Give every note/lead a next step. Most of us are managing a pipeline of 100-150 prospects. Unless you are superhuman, or already have a good action/status methodology, it is impossible to know where you are and, more importantly, where you are going on any one lead. Quick fix: add it to every note. Where am I going on the next call? This becomes your mini-tactical sales plan. Place the answer to the question on every action, even if you don’t make contact.
  4. Put a memorable reference in every note. This little trick will turn high volume sales into high volume relationships. Did Susan say she needed to hop off the call because she need to run Bobby to his baseball game? Note it. And on the next call ask Susan how Bobby’s game was. These are the little touches that make customers.
  5. Give every call an objective. Before you dial know what you want the result to be. And don’t make it so broad as “close the deal.” Instead, it should be something like “when does their ARM reset? Do they have a steady, documentable income stream?” Get to a credit pull.
  6. Look for leading indicators. This is where your action/status methodology becomes critical to seeing patterns that indicate pending conversion. Use time, frequency, and status to triangulate successful sales patterns. Turn those patterns into best practices and leading indicators for projections and sales techniques.
  7. Optimize your call back periods. Call back periods are another key link to your action methods and leading indicators. Set your call-backs to trigger off of your leading indicators to ensure each call is advancing the prospect forward into a sale.
  8. Build a rhythm. Create a sales day or habits that have rhythm. Good runners have rhythm and can generally set their watch by their pace. It is not full of surges, but rather a steady cadence.
  9. Throw out your dialer. Dialers are for robotic, cold calling, fishing expeditions or surveys. Dialers frustrate prospects and your sales numbers. Enough said.
  10. Pick up the phone. This is number 10 because it is the most important. Get started! You have to pick-up the phone and make the call. Overcome the fear to engage.