Is any one prospecting method the best? Do certain methods work better with certain age groups? And when you need new prospecting methods, where can you find them?
Three top producers share their favorite prospecting methods and how they keep up with new ones.
For part one of this roundtable, see: Prospecting 101: How to build good habits
For part three: What’s your best prospecting idea?
What Your Peers Are Reading
Q. What prospecting methods are you using today, and can you talk about which works best for specific kinds of prospects you serve? For example, what do you find works best for young professionals, what works best in attracting baby boomers, what works best for women, etc.?
Marc A. Silverman, CLU, ChFC, president/CEO of Silverman Financial Inc., in Miami: The prospecting methods we’re using today are referrals, prospecting to our existing database and, most successfully, workshops. We do approximately 40 of these events per year to our target audience — those ready to retire. We invite people from specific companies where we have learned their pension plan incredibly well. That way, the workshop really is tailored to our attendees. These dinner workshops are held on Tuesday or Thursday evenings starting at 6 p.m. at a great local restaurant. My practice has been doing this for years, and it really has worked best for us.
Marcus T. Henderson Sr., LUTCF, president/CEO of Henderson Financial Group Inc. in Nashville, Tenn.: My firm and I now work in an extremely niche market. We have customized our approach so it is very attractive to those who live and work in our targeted marketplace. The prospecting method we use most is to maintain a tremendous top-of-mind preference in the prospect’s mind. You may develop this preference through association seminars, drip marketing programs, keynote addresses or just being the advisor to know. The goal is to be so entrenched that prospects know us before we know them. Thus, when the actual approach occurs, there is a comfortable familiarity that already exists.
R.J. Kelly, CLU, ChFC, M.S.F.S., founder and chief visionary officer of the Wealth Legacy Family of Companies in San Diego: First and foremost, strive to be very, very referable. Learn as much as you can. Work toward the LUTCF, or the CFP, CLU, ChFC, M.S.F.S., and other designations. Be a professional. Dress like a professional. Act in a manner suitable to that of a professional.
One of the best ways to prospect is with other advisors to the type of clients you want to work with. Thus, even from day one, you can dress and carry yourself as a professional, and bring along mentors, agents and other knowledge carriers to join you on meetings.
Find the kind of people, situations and needs that appeal to you, and find resources you can bring in to them that are bigger than just the products or services for which you can get paid directly. Become known as a resource for connecting people with needs and you will have people seeking you out in short order.
In the Wealth Legacy Family of Companies, there are various services we offer — risk management; marriage, family and business counseling; investment management; fee-based insurance contract evaluation; litigation support — but usually our bread gets buttered through the door marked Wealth Legacy Group, which provides consulting services to business owners and highly compensated professionals and executives.
Before creating these various profit centers and ways to network, I still focused on business owners, professionals, and executives, but I now have a very different approach since I position my firm as fee-based for five of the groups, with our insurance group being commission but also fee-based on certain products. In this predecessor to Wealth Legacy Group, I joined with other professionals in the financial services arena nationally. We created a common name that we could operate under when we were in situations that called for that kind of perceived national firm. Despite this operating umbrella, we were all still separate entities. It gave the outside perception of a national planning firm, but, in reality, we ate our own kill and shared expenses to a very minor degree.