The financial services industry is highly dependent on using a recruit’s natural market to kick start their practice. This makes sense for a couple of reasons:
If you are truly committed to this business, then sharing your knowledge with the people you care about is important; and
If those same people care about you, and want you to be successful, they will be a terrific source of referrals.
But what about the new agent who doesn’t have a natural market? I know several managers who have flat-out said “I wouldn’t hire them.” I posed the following question to a manager with whom I have a long-standing relationship: “If I chose to move to this area and wanted to be an advisor, would you hire me? You know I wouldn’t have a strong natural market, but I know how to make phone calls and network. And I’d be the best student you ever had.”
Without hesitation, he said “no.”
In my opinion, his answer reflected a weakness of his management team. If we cannot “bring up” a new recruit without a natural market, then we do not fully understand how to create a practice.
It’s not just about who you know; it’s about who you meet. Every advisor has a “new” natural market every 7 to 10 years.
I challenged a highly experienced class to write down their current Project 200 since it would not be the same as their initial one. They were excited to do this. And the general agent used my idea to create excitement about reaching out to these people.
But I guarantee that most of the “new Project 200” were people they had newly met as an advisor within the past 10-plus years, not the people they knew when they started. So why are we so afraid to hire someone without a natural market? Because we’re not good at teaching face-to-face prospecting in a clear, systematic way.
We’re not teaching and role-playing trade shows, breakfast meetings, civic organizations and chance meetings as we go about living in a new community.
We are in a high-tech world where people don’t pick up their phones. Meeting someone in person-to-person, you have a chance to:
Making a good impression
Become a new phone contact; and
Ask for an appointment right then.
Sticking to the old rules of “dialing another hour” when a rookie doesn’t have enough appointments will often be more frustrating than rewarding in our current no-picking-up world.
We have to know how to teach new advisors to meet people and create relationships in a new city. If you know how to do it yourself as a manager, but don’t know how to teach it, give me a call. I know trainers who do.
It can be exhilarating and exciting for someone confident in their own interpersonal face-to-face skills to “go out and meet people” as a way of building a practice. Yes, a Project 200 is a great way to start. But to eliminate the possibility of a new agent who has the personality, energy and passion to do the work, because you don’t know how to teach them, is a missed opportunity on both sides.
Gail B. Goodman is a nationally recognized expert in training direct sales people on setting more face-to-face appointments. See her full bio here.
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