What’s the best way to prospect for new clients? Focus on keeping it simple.
Prospecting can be one of the most difficult tasks for building your business — especially if you're trying to make it repeatable and do it with more clients.
Easy vs Simple
I was recently reading a book called The Distraction-Proof Advisor by Paul Kingsman. If you don't know Paul, he leads our Practice Management training and development. Paul always has a lot of great tips, but I love his style because he breaks things down to a level where it's impossible to ignore. In the book, Paul talks about how he prepared for the Olympic Games.
As a swimmer, he said the process of training was simple: Lift weights. Eat right. Swim. But that didn't mean it was easy. The same is true with prospecting.
Prospecting isn't always easy, but that doesn't mean it can't be simple.
A lot of people ask me, “How can I make prospecting easier?”
We can start by shifting our focus like Paul Kingsman did. Paul talked about the simplicity of having to complete daily tasks. He had to be in the pool for a certain number of hours. He had to lift weights for a certain number of hours. He had to eat right to fuel his body. That’s not easy. But it is simple.
So when people ask me how to make prospecting easier, I respond by saying let's think about how we can make the process a bit more simple. There are three steps to take:
1. Referral Track
The first step is to really have a good referral track for every appointment — and for every time that you give someone value.
Getting a referral isn’t just asking for the next person. You must have a real, clear image about who you want to build your business with over the next 10 years and you need to be able to paint that picture for the person you’re talking with. They need to be able to visualize your next-level referral.
How many times have you gone to or conducted a seminar and not been able to get the number of appointments you wanted? And, at the same time, not been able to get the clients back into the office? It makes holding a seminar seem like a waste of time and money. But today’s technology can change that.
Of course, there are virtual events through Zoom or similar platforms. The pandemic thrust us into an environment where we went from handshakes to webinars to "Zoom fatigue." And today, we're in some combination of all three.
You don't need the most expensive tools. Focus on what you have and how you're using it.
Could you leverage social media or email in a better way to connect with prospects? There are a number of platforms that have built-in content financial advisors can use so you're not reinventing the wheel. Or check out our Retirement Readiness Calculator for an efficient way to capture leads.
If you're more advanced, you can even find a vendor partner to deploy geofencing or retargeting to deliver paid (sponsored) content to attendees. For 30-45 days following the seminar, they’ll receive targeted advertising reminding them of the problem that is still unsolved. And reminding them that you have answers.
You may think that technology and automation are the same. I tend to disagree. Technology is the platform or tool, but a tool is just an extra expense unless you have a process. Automation is the process.
At Ash, we have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of email addresses. Many of them are not actively doing business with us, but have ended up in our CRM system over the years. We are constantly reviewing that list, refiltering based on providing a relevant message and implementing nurturing campaigns to show them additional products and services.
Start your process with the data you have available, then leverage technology to filter and distribute a message.
For most of our clients, the first few solutions we showed them didn’t meet their needs. We persisted until we found the right fit and got in front of them enough times. And then once we had something that worked, we could apply rules to do it repeatedly through automation.
As financial professionals, you need to continue to nurture potential relationships in order to get more ingrained and continue to provide solutions. You may not need the most expensive enterprise-level tools to start automating. Just think about Paul's lesson and break your process down into simple tasks. If a task is working, look for ways to make it even easier.
Use the next week to focus on developing a solid referral track, using today’s technology tools to enhance your reach and then thinking about how automation can help help you repeat it.
Keep it simple. If the process isn't easy, break it down into simple tasks, and focus on getting them done in a repeatable way.
Editor's note: this blog was originally published in December 2020 but has been updated to reflect today's environment.