Lately, I’ve been starting some branch office presentations by asking, “What’s not working for you?”
Usually, the first item on the board is cold calling, which is quickly followed by seminars, which in turn is immediately followed by referrals. These channels, most everyone agrees, are not working today.
Except, I know they are, which brings me around to the “Law of Self-Justified Expectations”: If you think some marketing approach is not working, you can bet your bottom dollar it won’t work for you.
So let’s second look at each of these prospecting channels. Clearly, there are instances where each has not worked. But if they are working somewhere, will they work in your market? To put it another way, what are the successful advisors doing that the unsuccessful advisors are not?
Is working: Discipline, proven technique, sticking to it.
I recently spoke with a young man at one of the wirehouse firms. He’s been in business about three and a half years. He’s 33 years old. By all rights he should not have survived. He is on track for $500,000 this year.
How did he do it? Calling business owners in the day and a residential list, scrubbed against the “Do Not Call” list, in the evening. He’s using a classic multi-call approach. He kept at it until he made it work. And then he kept doing it.
Not working: Tired old scripts that try to appeal to everyone.
Consider this opening line: “This is Fred Smartly with SmithWellsMorganMerrillUBSBank (the last remaining major firm). I’m calling to introduce myself and let you know of some services we have available.” (Snore.)
If you are doing this, STOP. This approach goes back to the ‘70s (or earlier!). And it probably didn’t work then. And it most certainly does not work now.
Is working: A precisely targeted approach geared to the needs of a particular list.
Consider this fact: People tend to buy what they know. Suppose you come up with a strategy to invest in technology stocks. Whom should you call? Farmers? Janitorial services? What about people at a high income level in technology companies?
You might open with, “I’m looking for a most unusual investor. This investor understands technology and likes to invest in it. Am I talking to the right person or should we part company at this point?”
Or, to a business owner: “I have a white paper that covers pitfalls of transferring management of your firm to your heirs, or to a buyer who will succeed you. It also covers an investment strategy designed to protect you in case the transfer does not go as planned. Are you interested in reading it?”
Tailor your approach to your list. And by the way, great marketing starts with list development.
In case you need some more help, I have posted “The 16 Best Scripts” free for the taking at www.billgood.com/coldcalling2009.
How many times have I heard someone say, “My area is seminar’d out”?
Not working: As with cold calling, the “old way” does not work. You really need to think many times before throwing 5,000 bad invitations against the wall and hoping for a decent response. Hope is not a strategy.
Other factors that make seminars not work: