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Your success in business is ultimately determined by your ability and willingness to market yourself and your services to your ideal prospects.

Not just any prospects, but the ideal ones.

So, who are your ideal prospects?

Your ideal prospects are the people with whom you have the best chance of setting appointments and closing sales. You must know exactly who your ideal prospects are. You need to know more than just the demographics, such as age and income level. You need to know why they’re struggling, what they most want in the world, what their values are, etc.

(Related: The Top Secret to Closing Life Sales (or Any Sales))

You need to be able to connect with them on a deep emotional level.

To do that, you need to get the right message to the right people at the right time.

  1. The Right Message: Having the right message is really about you deciding what specific problem you are going to specialize in solving for people, to attract them to you. If your prospects don’t see that they have a problem, and understand how you can help them, is there any reason for them to take their precious time to meet with you, let alone to buy from you? (And the reason will not be about your hot new products, the lowest premiums, the highest investment returns, a slick new sales idea, the companies you represent, or your credentials.)
  2. The Right People: Getting the right message to “the right people” is about sending your special message to your ideal prospects. These are the people who need and will benefit the most from your services, can be seen on a favorable basis, and have the ability to pay for your services?
  3. The Right Time: Getting the right message to the right people “at the right time” is about making sure your ideal prospects see your message when they are ready and able to take action. People buy when they are ready to buy, not when you are ready to sell. So, if you want to sell to them you must be constantly in touch with your best prospects, so you are there when they are ready to buy.

Next, you have to avoid two common mistakes: inconsistency and volume worship.

  1. Inconsistency: Most trainers want to believe that marketing is something you can do every once in a while, when you decide you need more prospects. They believe it’s like a water faucet that you can just turn on whenever you need water. Consider this: The only reason you can get water immediately from your faucet is all the behind-the-scenes hard work the water department does, every day, to keep the water running fresh and clear. Your marketing, attracting the right prospects to you, requires the same daily attention, if you want to keep a steady flow of the ideal prospects.
  2. Volume Worship: Contrary to what most agents are being taught today, effective prospecting is not a numbers game. The old-fashioned shotgun prospecting approach most agents learn is that, if you contact enough people —buy enough leads, cold call enough people, run enough ads, or send out enough sales letters — you’ll eventually find enough prospects, to set enough appointments, to close enough sales, to make the income you want.

This numbers game approach to prospecting can work to some extent, if you work with large numbers of people, and you do it consistently. However, it is very time-consuming and expensive. And, even when you do work with large numbers, and do it consistently, the results can be very sporadic. You never know who will read your ad or sales letter and then respond. The main problem is that you are generally following up on the responses to try to set appointments with people who have never heard of you before.

The simple truth is that people always prefer to work with someone they already know and can trust. The more good things people hear about you and the work that you do, the easier it’s going to be to get them to respond to your offers, set appointments, and buy from you.

So, what does all this mean?

What it all means is that, if you want to be in front of more of your ideal prospects in one month than most agents will see in an entire year, you must have a complete marketing plan that you work on every day, and focus on pursuing a relatively small, carefully selected universe of people with great energy.

The more time you spend on developing a well-rounded marketing plan, tailored for your unique situation, the easier and more profitable your financial services career will become.

— Read Stop Drinking the “Buy Leads” Kool-Aid on ThinkAdvisor.


Jeremy Nason, RFC  is the co-founder of the Insurance Pro Shop ,-an insurance marketing and sales resource center. He has  worked as a regional general agent and as a recruiter as well as an author, coach and consultant.