Men playing chess (Photo: Stephen Shaver/BB)

You’ve got to keep the prospecting pipeline filled.

A good strategy for experienced advisors is to prospect one hour daily. Do it first thing to get it out of the way.

Prospecting isn’t just cold calling. It includes following up on leads, engaging on social media, asking clients and friends for introductions or referrals, calling businesses and much more.

(Related: 6 Types of Financial Advisor)

Many people don’t do it.

Here are 15 reasons you’ve probably heard many times.

  1. I’m saving it until Friday. “On Friday I’ll get caught up by spending five hours prospecting.” No you won’t. If you’ve been avoiding an hour a day, on Friday you will call in sick instead. Stick to an hour a day.
  2. I came in late because of a family issue. “They missed the school bus. I had to drive them. I know I should prospect first thing, but now I’m already behind.” You can prospect at 10:00 AM instead of 9:00 AM.
  3. I have a huge piece of business coming in later this month. It’d been said some new people only have one large prospect. If they close them, they have a great month. If they don’t, they have no business. You need to keep the pipeline filled. What about next month?
  4. I’m busy with paperwork and giving clients attention. Know what rings the cash register. Clients deserve attention, but unless it’s a time sensitive issue, they doesn’t need to be called back in the middle of the day. Can you return calls and answer e-mails at the end of the day? What if you were out sick? They would get attention tomorrow.
  5. I’m focusing on social media. That’s good, but do you have a strategy? Have you found a way to encourage 1st level contacts on LinkedIn to introduce you to their connections that work at the same firm or graduated from the same school? Once you connect with someone, what happens next?
  6. 6. Everyone knows cold calling doesn’t work. The Do Not Call rules were probably put in place for a reason. Cold calling worked well enough people that many people were getting multiple calls at dinnertime. You still get calls from charities and political causes. (They are exempt.) Let’s not forget those “I’m calling about your computer…” calls. Business to business calling is still allowed.
  7. When I call, I don’t get people! “I get voicemail. Maybe a gatekeeper. Do they count as a person?” You’ve heard about calling on weekends or after office hours. Although voicemail might seem like a waste of time, it helps build name recognition. You are likely trying to get their attention through other channels.
  8. The office is getting me a young person. They will prospect for me. Prospecting is the part of the job you despise. You will dump it all on the new person, making it their only responsibility. How long do you think they will stick around?
  9. I’ll team up with someone about to retire and inherit their book. Do you think they were born yesterday? They can probably sell the book or accept a transition package from the firm. If you team up, what will you be expected to do? Probably do their prospecting.
  10. I had to go to a sales meeting. You can’t prospect because you had to listen to someone explain how to find more business. Perhaps you could put your new knowledge into practice. Take it for a test drive.
  11. They don’t want to hear from me. “It’s a holiday. It’s after work. It’s too early.” People with problems want solutions. Inertia is powerful. Sometimes the solution needs to come to them. “If you are polite, many people will politely say they aren’t interested. A hang up is probably the worst you can expect.
  12. I’m waiting for reassignments. “People come and go around here. The sales manager hands out their accounts. I’m like a seal at the zoo waiting to be fed.” The sales manager will likely reassign accounts to agents and advisors with a proven track record of contacting them and keeping the business at the firm. Is that you?
  13. Everyone knows referrals is the way to go. “If my clients come across someone I can help, they will send them along.” Do your clients know how you help them? How you can help others with different needs? Can they explain what you do? You need to gently prompt and coach them.
  14. This costs money. If the firm won’t pay, I’m not doing it. You need to invest in your business. Your manager will be more likely to support you is you have some money on the table. Ditto your marketing partners. They want to see the firm got a return on its investment.
  15. The phone is too heavy. “I try and try, I just can’t lift it.” Does anyone actually say this one out loud?

We know we need to keep the prospecting pipeline filled. New people focus almost 100% of their time on opening new accounts. Experienced agents and advisors should dedicate at least an hour daily to some form of prospecting activity. No excuses.

— Read A 15-Step Holiday Social Prospecting Strategy on ThinkAdvisor.


Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. in New Hope, Pa. He provides HNW client acquisition training in the field and has presented at MDRT. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.com.

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