Practice Management > Building Your Business > Prospect Clients

How Do You Follow Up on Prospects?

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What You Need to Know

  • Prospects who won't meet or share information may be interested, but their need isn't urgent.
  • Try to find the communication channel that works best for your prospect.
  • Stay on your prospect's radar. They will see you as honest, receptive and courteous.

Efficient follow-up is a shortcoming of many advisors and agents. We like to think we have a multiple-step process. If a lead or prospect doesn’t follow our steps on our terms, they often fall through the cracks.

1. How quickly do you jump on a referral or lead? 

Imagine a good client says, “Call my brother-in-law at his office.” You say yes and forget about it. The prospect tells your client, “You know that advisor you said was so great — he never called.” Do you think that client will send another referral anytime soon?

Instead: Impress your client. Minutes later, send an email: “I just left a message at your brother-in-law’s office. Thanks for sending him in my direction.” The brother-in-law says: “Wow! I heard from her right away. You are right. She is good!”

2. What do you do if they won’t meet or share information? 

They might not be ready to buy. They might be a tire kicker. Does that mean they aren’t interested? No. They likely have a need, but it’s not urgent.

Instead: Can you drip on them with emails, sending relevant research or more reports? Are they OK with receiving your newsletter? Stay on their radar.

3. What do you do if they don’t respond to your call? 

You reached out. You left a voicemail. They didn’t call back. It’s easy to think the lead, prospect or referral isn’t that interested.

Instead: Try other communication channels allowed by your firm. Maybe they are better with email, or texting. Perhaps you send a physical letter. Try to determine which channel works best for them.

4. The prospect who listened to your proposal and never made a decision. 

These are the “let me think about it” folks. It’s tempting to keep calling every two weeks and asking “Have you made a decision yet?” That ends the conversation pretty often.

Instead: Assuming you can reach them, you might ask if they “went in a different direction.” The answer might surprise you. No, they didn’t. They just aren’t ready to act right now. Part on good terms: “Take your time. Is it OK if I circle back in (time) if I haven’t heard?” You’ve kept the prospect alive. Their problem isn’t going away.

5. The lead where you forgot if you followed up or not. 

Ever have that time when you look at a lead or referral and wonder “Did I ever call them?” We are embarrassed we might have dropped the ball, but can’t remember. There are no records.

Instead: Being honest is a good reason for reaching out: “A while back you expressed an interest in (x). I don’t recall if we spoke or not. I’m getting back in touch so I can be responsive.” They might not remember either, but they will see you are honest and courteous.

6. The old leads you keep in a drawer. 

This includes prospects, leads and referrals. The common factor is nothing happened. Treat them as warm calls versus cold calls. You made an effort to help at some point in the past.

Instead: “We spoke two months ago. You had an interest in …” Ask what happened. Did they find what they were looking for?

7. Your prospect file on Outlook. 

This is likely huge. It’s primarily emails you got back from people. Something prompted them to engage with you. This is also fertile ground.

Instead: Continue the email string, so they can see they have been responsive. Suggest signing up for your newsletter as a way to stay connected.

  • LinkedIn leads. You post. People like and comment. Someone has made an effort. What do you do?

Instead: You probably have this one handled. If they aren’t a connection, you send them an invitation, referencing them liking your post. If they are a connection, you message back, thanking them for liking it. You ask a gentle question.

You grow your practice through leads, prospecting and referrals. You need a procedure to be sure each one is followed up to its logical conclusion. If people have a need or want to do business, they shouldn’t have to work hard to get attention.

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