Why is it that some advisors consistently earn a six-figure annual income while other advisors, putting in the same hours and selling the same products, struggle each month financially to make ends meet? The answer to this question is painfully simple: The six-figure advisors spend more time on the phone, never forget to ask for referrals and consistently exceed their clients’ expectations.

For the majority of salespeople, prospecting for new business is without a doubt the most challenging and stressful aspect of the selling process. The good news is that prospecting, like any other desirable skill, can be acquired through training and incorporated into your business routine. Daily prospecting for new business is the key to every salesperson’s long-term financial success. Here are some time-proven tips that will help you prospect like a pro and put more business on the books:

Act fast on referrals
Research indicates that the most effective time to ask for referrals is right after you’ve made the sale or provided a valuable service for your client. Asking for referrals prior to closing the sale is a big mistake and may even jeopardize the sale itself. Once rapport has been established and the sale is completed, your client will be on an emotional high and far more open to the idea of referring their friends and associates.

Prospects, like food in your refrigerator, are perishable and therefore need to be contacted quickly. Each day you let slip by without making initial contact with your referral dramatically reduces the probability of you making the sale.

Get in touch … quickly
Develop the habit of contacting your referrals within two business days or sooner. Have a system to keep track of your referrals so they don’t end up falling through the cracks. Relying on your memory alone is a very poor business decision that will cost you dearly. Be sure to take the time to thank your advocate and give them feedback on the status of his or her referral. Follow up by sending a thank-you card or a gift of appreciation. Advocates aren’t born, they’re developed.

Selling, like baseball, is a numbers game pure and simple. Schedule a minimum of two hours a day for phone calls. Treat your prospecting time with the same respect you would give to any other important appointment. Top producers place great value on developing lifetime relationships with their clients. They are aware that their clients are aggressively prospected and their loyalty cannot be taken for granted.