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8 Secrets of Prospecting

Prospecting

How much money could you make if you had a steady stream of quality leads and referrals? We’ve all asked ourselves that same question. The reality is that 20% of all agents generate 80% of all commissions. And the top 20% of those high-performing agents generate 80% of the commissions in that group. What separates that top 4% from the rest of the field? They spend the vast majority of their time working at their maximum-income tasks. For most of us, that means face-to-face selling situations with a client.

Before we explore how you can work toward this goal, you must first take a long, hard look in the mirror. Ask yourself, “Do I have the tools that will allow me to capitalize on that consistent flow of prospects?” For example:

  • Can you close a sale? It may seem like a silly question, but if you’re not selling something on at least 70% of your appointments, you need help in this area. Too many agents blame poor sales results on poor leads, bad referrals, the weather, the season, the phase of the moon, etc. The reality is that right now you’re either a closer or you’re not. The good news is that closing skills can be learned. And, the more clients you meet, the more rapidly you’ll learn them.
  • Do you have the knowledge? Have you taken time to invest in yourself? Have you earned professional designations? Are you securities-licensed? Do you attend practice development programs? Our industry is changing so rapidly that not staying current will doom you to failure. In addition, the clients of today are much more educated than even 10 years ago. They can easily tell if you don’t know what you are talking about.
  • Are you selling multiple products to your clients or are you a “one-trick pony?” By offering multiple products, you not only increase the average income per client, but you also create greater client loyalty and, not surprisingly, more referrals.

I hope you see my point. Putting an advisor in front of a large quantity of prospects without the proper skills or knowledge is like asking a carpenter to build a house without a hammer or saw. The house may eventually be built, but the cost would be so prohibitive, nobody would buy it!

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about prospecting.

Secret #1: The Process of Prospecting

There is no such thing as a perfect prospecting system. There is no such thing as an ideal lead. They just don’t exist! Get it out of your mind and don’t be sucked in by those “turn-key” programs that prey on ill-informed dreamers. Prospecting is a process not a program. To maintain a consistent flow of prospects, you should consider employing up to eight robust, lead-generating programs concurrently. Although we will cover several programs in this report, the choices are limitless.

Secret #2: RYBLAB

RYBLAB stands for Run Your Business Like a Business. Write a marketing plan. Set annual goals, and then break them down to monthly, weekly, and daily goals. Budget no less than 20% of your projected income for prospecting programs. If you want to earn $200,000 per year, a $40,000 marketing budget is not unreasonable.

Keep track of everything. If you employ a direct mail program, record how many pieces you sent and to whom. What was your response rate? How many appointments did you set? How many were kept? How many converted to sales? How much did you earn from the campaign? You should know your average income on each sale, average income per appointment, average income for each lead, etc. Only by tracking absolutely everything, can you truly tell if your efforts are successful. Just like any other business owner, you need sound information to make educated business decisions.

Secret #3: Existing vs. Prospective Clients

Your best source of income is from your existing client base. Since it costs almost five times as much to prospect new clients than to sell to existing clients, your margins are higher and your sales are easier. Establish a consistent, dependable program to “drip” to these clients at least quarterly, if not more frequently. “Drip” programs are also excellent tools for prospects who have expressed an interest in your services but are not yet ready to meet with you. You can do these programs internally (notice that I didn’t say do them yourself) or outsource them to firms that specialize in client retention. Keep your message in front of existing clients to generate ongoing sales with minimal effort on your part.

Secret #4: From Agent to Trusted Advisor

Re-position yourself from agent or broker to “trusted advisor.” This type of relationship can be developed over time. Keep in mind however, that “clients won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Most advisors have trusted advisor relationships with 5 to 20 clients. However, studies show that we are capable of managing up to 100 intimate relationships. If you increase the number of clients with which you maintain trusted advisor status from 20 to 100, you could increase your profitability by 500%!

Secret #5: The Cost of Your Time

Use leverage to build your business by employing the time, talents, and knowledge of others. This will allow you to work at the highest level of your capability. If you want to make $200,000 a year, your average hourly rate is somewhere between $100 and $150 an hour. Now, examine everything you do daily and consider whether these activities are worth this hourly rate or if it would be better financially to hire someone at $15 to $20 an hour to perform some of those tasks.

Secret #6: Top 20

Maintain a Top 20 list and update it monthly. The people on this list should be those who are currently your most important relationships. These could be large clients, referral sources, mentors, or family members.

Secret #7: Attitude of Gratitude

Give back. Create an attitude of gratitude. Find things outside the business that you’re passionate about. Besides the personal satisfaction of doing good for others, you also get a chance to network with individuals who share your passion in a cause. They may also share your name as a referral.

Secret #8: Who’s Your Mentor?

Every successful person I’ve ever known has a great mentor in their lives. Whether it’s faith, family, integrity, perseverance—we all need one or more mentors in our lives to ground us, coach us, and inspire us. Who’s yours? Who displays the qualities to which you aspire? Great mentors will see the best in you and settle for nothing less. Their example and guidance can make the difference between success and failure, so choose well.

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