Only a fool or a philanthropist, it seems, would work for an individual client for a full year before seeing the first dime of commission or fee income from the relationship. Most professional advisors wouldn’t dare take the risk or invest such patience in a client. But John Egan, CFP, is not like most advisors; he advises taking a patient approach.

“We are successful in attracting business to our firm if people go through our process, and in the proper order,” he says. “People call us when they experience what I call a life event — a death in the family, selling a business, retiring from a corporation. After the initial meeting, we make an appointment to present a financial plan a week or two later, while it’s still on their mind. We present the plan to them and thank them. Then I do not call them again because the ball is in their court. I don’t want to call them two weeks later and ask, ‘Are you going to hire us? Can we help you?’ I’d rather spend my time with people who really need my advice.

“One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made is trying to work with people who aren’t motivated. People need to be motivated. I don’t chase folks anymore. People buy things and make decisions in different ways. Some people come in at the first meeting and say, ‘I’m ready, sign me up.’ Other people take five appointments to be ready. If they want multiple appointments, that’s fine. But we don’t force those appointments. I’ve done plans for clients who didn’t call us until two years later. People are ready when they’re ready.”

Editor’s Note: The preceding tip was taken from “Patience in the Process,” a Producer Profile of John Egan, CFP, by Gordon Bess, FLMI, that ran in the January 2006 issue of Life Insurance Selling. To read the full article, click here.

To read last week’s Tip of the Week, click here.

For more advice on prospecting, see:

Be a CP — consistent prospector

Better prospecting: How this little lion gets his share

6 powerful prospecting tips