We would all like prospecting to be similar to fly fishing. When you are surrounded by potential prospects for life insurance, annuities and other financial services products and services, you can literally cast out a line and see what happens. If the prospects engage, that’s wonderful. If not, you try again on someone else.
In July, I wrote about 5 One Liners for Asking Friends to Do Business With You.
Here are five more ideas about ways to move the conversation in the right direction.
1. After Playing Golf
Here’s the punchline: “May I call next week and set up an appointment? I have some ideas I would like to share with you. I think I may be able to save you money.”
(Related: Brighthouse Leaps Into the Annuity Future)
Here’s how we get there: A woman I know was given this advice when she started an agency in a new town: “Buy a Cadillac, and join the best golf club in town.”
Both the Cadillac and the golf club membership conveyed the message “successful insurance broker.” The broker would play golf with her accountant weekly or invite a few friends from the Chamber of Commerce. The stipulation was that the friends needed to be small- to medium-sized business owners. The business owners also belonged to golf clubs, but not to the best one. Over lunch afterwards, the broker would say: “May I call next week…”
Why it works: After playing golf on the best course, followed by lunch afterwards, it’s very difficult to turn down an appointment request.
2. The Targeted Referral
Ask a client for a general referral and the client’s mind goes blank. The more specific, the better. Ask: “Who do you know that uses the services of a professional financial advisor and is dissatisfied with the relationship? I would be interested in talking with those people.”
Why it works: People think twice about referring business. What if the relationship flops? If you ask your clients to think, instead, about people with problems, rather than about people who might need financial advisors, you get your clients looking for people with problems. There are plenty of people with problems around! Your clients feel as if they are doing the friends with problems a favor by introducing them to you.
3. Directly Asking
You have friends who told you they do business with competitors. Maybe you assumed that was the end of the story. Reconsider that assumption.
Today, business owners, professionals and middle managers review service contacts yearly.
The clients ask themselves many questions, such as, “Can I get better service?” and “Can I get a better deal?”
Another question they could ask themselves is, “Can I do business with my friend?”
Here’s how your approach to making that happen might sound: “I know you use [firm] for your life and health insurance business. You’ve told me. My firm offers life and health insurance, too. We give good service and are competitively priced. When do you review the performance of those folks at [firm]? I would be interested in competing for the business.”
Why it works: You are talking their language. You’ve assumed they review this piece of business too. You’ve asked; “When?” You’ve asked to be invited into consideration. You are now a contender.
4. Assuming a Need
Everyone needs something. Don’t assume the needs are covered just because your friends have never brought the needs up.
This is especially important when you are cross-selling, and offering a product or service outside your main area of business.
Start by taking a step back and identifying needs your friends are likely to have where you might be able to provide a solution.
Next, take the time to learn about the appropriate products and services. What makes the products and services you offer unique?
Finally, make your approach: “Stan, there’s something I’ve always been curious about. You run a successful business. Been at it for 30 years. You have a partner. Each family owns part of the business. Do you have key man insurance in case something happens?” Stop talking.
Why it works: One of two things happens first. Your friend either has the product mentioned or doesn’t. If your friend doesn’t, your friend might not even know where to start. Your friend respects you as a professional but never thought of you as a potential provider of the product needed. Now, the friend knows you can provide that product.
5. Ask For Something
You may need to be a New Yorker or a community with a similar fundraising culture to get away with this final strategy.
In those communities, friends who volunteer at charities will freely share your name as a potential donor to their annual funds or capital campaigns. They see providing your name as a one-way, no-risk proposition.
Change the rules.
You get a fancy letter from a hospital announcing a capital campaign. If you see a familiar name on the committee, you write out a check. The amount can be small, but you send the check to the campaign representative’s home address. You don’t use the hospital’s return envelope.
A few days later, you call the hospital campaign’s representative.
“Did you get it?” you ask. “I wanted to be sure. You know what the mail is like.”
Then, you ask for something.
“By the way,” you say, “my firm also does seminars on topics like identity theft for groups like hospitals. If you would like something like that, I’m glad to set that up for you.”
Why it works: It’s very direct. You effectively say, “You asked for money. I sent it. You confirmed you received it. Now I’m asking for something. How about it?”
This may be too pushy for you, but, at the very least, people will think twice before sending you solicitation letters.
Each of these “one liners” will fit a certain situation, and an individual with a certain style. You need to determine if it fits your style.
— Read Cold Calling Superstar Shares His Secrets on ThinkAdvisor.