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9 Steps to Take When Your Prospecting Strategy Isn’t Working

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(Related: 7 Ways to Stay on Your Prospect’s Radar)

Ever wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and say: “I have no business?”


Actually, you should look in the mirror and say: “The day is a blank canvas. How am I going to make the most of it?”

Yet the reason you have no business is simple: Your prospecting pipeline in empty. What now?

Step 1: The first step in determining why your prospecting strategy isn’t working is to ask yourself: “Do I even have a prospecting strategy?”

Many experienced people might say: “I grow my business through referrals.” Waiting for referrals isn’t a strategy. You need to ask for them.

Action Step: Take a blank piece of paper and write out your prospecting strategy.

Step 2: Examine your product. Years ago, a diner owner explained: “If you don’t have customers, the first thing you should do is taste your own food. If it doesn’t taste good, that’s a major reason why you don’t have customers.”

What do you sell? If it’s “Insurance. Whatever they want.” That’s very vague. Imagine someone saying: “I think I need insurance. I’ll call this guy and see what he has.”

Action Step: Identify the products your firm does very well, the products most of your current customers bought. That’s your strong suit.

Step 3: Study your book of clients. How did you get your best clients? What prospecting strategy did you use? Many agents and advisors might say: “That approach. I haven’t done that in years.” FYI: This isn’t my idea. An excellent team of trainers/coaches came up with this decades ago.

Action Step: List your best clients. How did you get them?

Step 4: Years ago, that same team of trainers/coaches talked about getting from point A to point B. One is the initial contact with a prospect, the second is a new client. What steps must happen in the meantime?

Action Step: Do you have a step by step process to turn a prospect into a client? Are all your current prospects somewhere on that path or have they pulled off the road and are taking a nap?

Step 5: What happens when someone calls your office? A walk in comes through the door? Are they warmly greeted and made comfortable while waiting? Do phone messages get to you quickly? Does someone review voicemail?

Action Step: Call your office or have a friend do it. Have them act like a prospect. Does that message get to you? How often do you review voicemails?

Step 6: You have friends. Do they know what you do? Let’s assume the answer is no or they have only a vague idea. How are they going to find out? There’s nothing more irritating than learning a friend just bought a product elsewhere because they didn’t know you sold it.

Action Steps: List your friends. Go down the list. Do they really know what you do? Write down yes’s and no’s.

Step 7: Are you a victim of Multiple Failure Syndrome?

No, MFF is not a new disease you should ask your doctor about. It’s the habit of trying a prospecting strategy, getting to the point when it’s just starting to work and saying: “This isn’t working. I’ll try something else instead.”

You keep repeating the process, putting strategy after strategy in place, yet not giving any a decent chance. Persistence is a virtue. A Northern California advisor explained: “You can chop down a tree with a hammer.”

Action Step: Going forward, pick a good strategy. Stick with it, making adjustments along the way.

Step 8: Find what’s working for other people. Asking around the office might not be the best approach because peers often consider complaining about lack of business an Olympic sport. Your office or regional sales manager should be able to connect you with another agent or advisor who is at the same stage of their career and having success in prospecting.

Action Step: Find a successful advisor within the firm willing to share some practical advice.

Step 9: Get professional help. Buy some books on prospecting within your industry. Look into hiring a coach. Often, you need someone to provide structure and accountability. Professional golfers have coaches. Why not you? This will cost money, but it should be money well spent.

Action Step: Look into hiring a coach for a several month period. Don’t think you are smarter than them. Do what they tell you to do. They hold you accountable. You do the same.

Getting new clients isn’t about the search for the silver bullet, that cutting edge strategy no one has tried before. It’s about knowing what you are good at, having a process, getting the word out and sticking to a strategy.

— Read 10 Ways to Tactfully Get Your Point Acrosson ThinkAdvisor.

Bryce SandersBryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor,” can be found on Amazon.


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