At one time or another, we have all said “I don’t have time for that” or “I don’t have anything important to say” as an excuse for not making that call. But another producer may be reaching out to your clients right now, offering current market information, checking to see if they have any financial questions and doing their best to build rapport. So, reach out to your clients before they start getting advice from somebody else.

Here are a few simple strategies for overcoming call reluctance:

1. Take small bites. Don’t try to bang out hours of calls one right after another. Set a goal of making five calls a day until you become more comfortable and are ready to raise your quota.

2. Call with a timely topic. Take note of what’s on the evening news and make that the subject of your call. Right now, for example, you could open with “There has been a lot of talk about the fiscal cliff recently, and I wanted to see if you had any concerns about what to expect.” It is easy to eliminate self-doubt by starting with a subject you are comfortable discussing. And don’t be afraid to say, “I’ll get back to you on that” if your client asks a question you can’t answer on the spot.

3. Put it on your calendar. These calls are as important as a meeting with your top client. Don’t allow yourself to put them off. When you’re done with your daily or weekly goal, reward yourself with a small treat. It’s also helpful to have a few “go to” questions in your arsenal to keep the conversation flowing smoothly. They should be open-ended and prompt more than a one-word answer. Also, they should be powerful enough to grab your clients’ attention. (“Tell me about any recent life changes that could impact your retirement” or “What financial issues keep you up at night?” are examples.)

Figure out your strongest calling time, but also adapt and occasionally make calls at other times of day to accommodate clients with different schedules. Also, listen carefully for referral opportunities. Your client may have a friend or family member who could benefit from your services.

Regular, short phone conversations can solidify your relationships with your clients and reduce the chance that they will leave you for another producer. Frequent communication will establish you as a trusted expert for all matters of a financial nature.

From time to time, call reluctance hits us all. The sooner you overcome it, the sooner you can start making more sales.

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James Marquet is a marketing consultant at Asset Management Systems, where he develops marketing campaigns for independent advisors. For more information, go to assetmarketingsystems.net.