There are a lot of prospecting ideas out there, but which ones really work? Three successful producers talk about the ideas that have been working for them lately.
For part one of this roundtable, see: Prospecting 101: How to build good habits
For part two : How to find prospecting ideas
Q. Would you be willing to share the single best prospecting idea that you’ve been using lately and that has been working well for you?
R.J. Kelly, CLU, ChFC, M.S.F.S., founder and chief visionary officer of the Wealth Legacy Family of Companies in San Diego: Health care — where there is smoke, there is usually fire, and, in this case, a big one! We have developed a proprietary approach to companies with 50-plus employees on their health care plan — preferably 100-plus. For companies of this size, we are negotiating 20 percent to 30 percent rate reductions in most cases and allowing the business to potentially save a lot of money, which they can then use in others ways — some of which we can get paid for a second time! As well, if they are willing to donate a portion of the found savings, to the extent they are willing to make charitable donations with a portion of the savings, we will match their donation. If they prefer, we use a portion of our fee to help them set up a wellness program or enhance an existing one. Our fee is 40 percent of the first 12 months of savings, from which we can then match donations or help with the wellness program. This is opening up all kinds of conversations to new and existing clients. It is a win-win, and all without having to change — in most cases — health care providers, benefits to employees or even brokers.
Marc A. Silverman, CLU, ChFC, president/CEO of Silverman Financial Inc., in Miami: One of the best prospecting ideas we’ve incorporated in our practice is calling clients on their birthday. It sounds simple, but most advisors don’t do this. Just recently, I called a client in Atlanta to wish them a happy birthday and I learned they had just inherited some money and needed to invest it. Be sure to call your clients on their special day. It costs nothing, takes very little time, and you never know what might happen.
See also: Successful agents build bridges
A second idea is to hold a thank-you dinner for your most loyal clients. We host three or four of these each year at a steakhouse. The intention of this event is to be nothing more than a social gathering, and my clients genuinely appreciate the gesture.
Marcus T. Henderson Sr., LUTCF, president/CEO of Henderson Financial Group Inc. in Nashville, Tenn.: There is no single best prospecting idea. It is a culmination of being a dedicated student of the profession, gleaning a little from every prospecting experience. One idea that has worked extremely well for us is utilizing a firm-developed Credentialing Package, which sets the bar high for the initial client interaction, thus making the prospect intrigued by the possibilities of a relationship with our firm. Our Credentialing Package includes a bio of each advisor and the Henderson Financial Group Inc., and a calendar with the prospect’s name printed on the envelope. This package is always delivered by an overnight courier service to the prospect. A creative mind and informational groups, such as MDRT, play a huge part in the content of your personalized Credentialing Package. Inspiration is gleaned through exposure, and MDRT offers that exposure.
Q. Any further thoughts?
Henderson: Prospecting is the lifeblood of our business — it must be mastered. For just a moment, think about all of the advisors you know who have excellent credentials, years in the business and superior products, but a very limited supply of people — prospects — with whom to share time. As our profession has evolved, there are three things that, in my opinion, every firm must have, and unfortunately, they are usually not found in the same person: First, an entrepreneur/producer. Second, a practice manager. And third, a compliance expert. Granted, all three are crucial to a firm’s success, yet notice that, of the three, if you take away the entrepreneur/producer, the other two are not particularly needed.
Kelly: Always be looking for needs, hurts or issues that you can help solve and resolve. In the early years, you won’t have your own money, likely, to donate, so give your other currency, your time, talent, touch — your network — and as much of your treasure as you can. Ask yourself, “How can I be used for something greater than myself today?”
As you discover where the hurt, fear, pain and worry are for various people and businesses, you can bring solutions once you have gained permission to listen first and then respond. Don’t be the person who has one solution for every situation; be bigger than that eventually. You might choose to focus in such a way on such a segment of the market that you have a singular solution to the need, but that is rare. Find needs and bring solutions, and you will have an infinite source of referrals and prospective clients!
For more on prospecting, see: