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SometimesNowhere View Drop Down
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    Posted: Sep/17/2010 at 9:20pm
Since there are some in our profession that seem to believe there is some magic bullet to prospecting, and that there are encyclopedias that should be written on the subject, I will do everyone a favor and save you about $500 in books and seminars and break it down for you.

What qualifies me to speak on the subject: Prior to this career I had a business-to-business sales career. Nearly failed out, then succeeded after figuring out what worked for me. I was lazy and successful. In addition, and not that it matters, but I have won a majority of the plaques, awards, and recognition for those in the first three years at my firm (I don't think it matters because the bars aren't that high). With that said, I still prospect and win clients. I don't get professional referrals. All my business is referrals from clients and from prospecting. I don't have rich relatives, and the only people I have as clients that I knew beforehand are people that have approached me. I don't prospect friends or family...ever.

I do lots of things...I cold call, I door knock occasionally, I do seminars, I've put ad's in newspapers, I've done mailings, etc, etc, etc. Some things work, some things don't. With all that said, here is the big secret to building your business:

Talk to people


That's it. Everything else is fluff. People do not show up to your door with $1mm accounts (at least not often enough that you should wait for it). Every book you buy, every seminar you attend, every podcast you listen to, they will all try and sell you cute ways to encourage you to do the same thing...talk to people...

With all those things said, here are a couple opinions that will hopefully demystify the process:

1) It's not important what you say, but how you say it - If you are good at this job (or going to be good at this job) your thoughts and personality are enough. If you try too hard people can tell. Just say what you think with confidence. Early in your career you will say some stupid shit...I know I did. People will forget, and you will learn. You don't need to look for or use some sort of magic phrase or pitch.

2) Don't chase the monkeys - There are people that just won't do business with you, but are socially inept and can't figure out how to tell you. If they don't give you a serious indication about their intent to do business after a few calls, find someone else. The world is made of low hanging fruit, grab your basket and go picking.

3) Product? Service? ???? - Doesn't matter. Nobody gives a shit about what you are calling/walking into their business about. Just talk to them. There is no magic script that will make people bring you their statements and make it rain ACAT's. People don't like to feel like they are a part of the sales process, so don't make them a part of it. Sometimes you can help them, most of the time you can't either because they aren't even going to talk to you or they are happy with their current situation. Just talk about you, your business, your process, ask for the business and move on.

4) Coffee is for closers only - Listen...I love Glengarry Glenross. One of the greatest sales movies ever (don't say Boiler Room, it is a GG ripoff). This is not a 'closing' business. You don't talk someone into a sale. This is a relationship business, so build a relationship. Talk to them about what they want to talk about then move the conversation into an area where you can uncover need. That's not to say waste time talking to some lady about their cats...make sure people respect your time. You just don't need to try and arm wrestle someone into doing business with you.

5) Passive advertising doesn't work - Ad's in the newspaper, sending out mailers, whatever...they are cost ineffective. If you are trying this stuff out early in your career it's probably because you are lazy and are going to fail out. Stop avoiding the only thing that will bring you success...talking to people.

All those things notwithstanding, I do follow a cold calling script (loosely), and will post it here. This is the fourth time, so it's not earth shattering.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Understand that I don't think it really matters what you say, as long as you say it relaxed and with conviction. Lately I've been doing something like this:

Hello, is xxxx available? Hello xxxx, this is SometimesNowhere with yyyy. Did I catch you at an OK time? (allow them the opportunity to get off the phone, most of the time I get a 'yes')

Ok, I won't keep you long. Again I am SometimesNowhere calling from yyyy. I am calling today because I am looking to expand my financial services practice in Anytown. All I am doing is sending out some information about MyState municipal bonds. We are offering highly rated bonds yielding between 4-5% both state and federal tax free, for you that would be like getting around 6% on an after tax basis. How would that fit into your portfolio?

I get one of a few answers:

- I am not interested - "Hmmmm....ok. Is it the bond or that rate that you aren't interested in?" - Trying to get them to hang up on me at this point
- I don't have a portfolio/I am on Social Security/I am on disability/I don't have any investments - "Ok, sorry to bother you. If you ever have the need for professional financial advice my number is in the phone book" - Waste of time
- Questions about the bond itself (is there a minimum, what is the duration, can I get some in an IRA) - Handle question and probe about holdings
- I already have a someone that does that for me/I already have a financial advisor - "I understand. Just to help me out, who do you currently do business with? Are you currently 100% satisfied with the advice you've been getting?" - Admittedly this is the most difficult objection for me to handle. I guess my goal is to find the 'ache' in their relationship. Most people answer the 100% question with a yes which for me becomes a dead end.
- That sounds really good, I have some money coming due - "Great! Just so I have an idea of an appropriate amount and bond to recommend, what do you currently own?" - I want to know about all their holdings

After uncovering enough information to reveal an opportunity I close the call with:

"Ok xxxx, I just want to confirm the information I have for you. I have you at 123 Main St at Anytown, is that correct? Is your zip code 00000? Ok, I am going to get some information out to you, if there is anything I can do to earn your business, I would love the opportunity. Have a great day."

At the end of the day the bond pitch is only to open a financial conversation. I don't really want to sell anything to them (I have had more than one person show at least some interest on the first call). I want to open a door for their discomfort with their current financial holdings and advisor relationship.

I will then drop by the top prospects in person and drop by some relevant information. Most people are pretty surprised. I try to engage in more conversation and talk about my approach. The lukewarm or 'ok' prospects I mail and may follow up with a phone call later. Bad prospects I clean off my list. I am just looking for low hanging fruit.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That's it. There are some really smart and successful people on this board who have more success over more time than I have, and I hope they add to this. Don't kid yourself, though. The only thing that really works is doing your job, not going to motivational seminars, not Prospecting threads on some piker registered representative forum, not a dozen books on selling, not watching Wall Street over and over again...just talking to people...so shut your fucking mouth and do it.
I sort of give a fuck.
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Ron 14 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ron 14 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/17/2010 at 9:37pm
Holy Shit -Clap
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RIArules Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/17/2010 at 9:46pm
Nomination for the lobby.
We may "rob you slowly," but you're not going to see that shit.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Moraen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/17/2010 at 9:59pm
2nd

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ron 14 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/17/2010 at 10:06pm
No doubt
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sportsfreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/17/2010 at 10:09pm
Clap Clap
SN - Those are the kinds of threads that make it worth spending time here.
You are right - the stuff isn't earth shattering, but its worth repeating over and over again, and its also motivating to hear it form someone in the trenches, for whom it is working.
3 questions - and they have probably been answered here before -
1. Are you calling businesses and if you are, whats the conversation like with the gatekeeper
2. You mentioned you are doing seminars - care to talk about your process and your success with them?
3. You probably have mentioned this in the past, but as everyone knows, i don't have any memory left - are you in a metro area, small town, what?
Sorry MINT, SF is right, I was wrong......Helado...March 8th, 2014
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RIArules Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/17/2010 at 10:12pm
The Nick Murray subscription just went out the window
We may "rob you slowly," but you're not going to see that shit.

Edward Jones Newb, Circa September 2016
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sportsfreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/17/2010 at 10:20pm
SN just drilled a hole in the Ark. Who needs Nicks Ark when we have SN. Took me a week to read Nicks latest book, a minute and a half to read SN's post, and I got more out of the latter
Sorry MINT, SF is right, I was wrong......Helado...March 8th, 2014
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SometimesNowhere Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/17/2010 at 10:42pm
Originally posted by Sportsfreak Sportsfreak wrote:

Clap Clap
SN - Those are the kinds of threads that make it worth spending time here.
You are right - the stuff isn't earth shattering, but its worth repeating over and over again, and its also motivating to hear it form someone in the trenches, for whom it is working.
3 questions - and they have probably been answered here before -
1. Are you calling businesses and if you are, whats the conversation like with the gatekeeper
2. You mentioned you are doing seminars - care to talk about your process and your success with them?
3. You probably have mentioned this in the past, but as everyone knows, i don't have any memory left - are you in a metro area, small town, what?

Thanks for the kind words, fellas.

1. Are you calling businesses and if you are, whats the conversation like with the gatekeeper -
I've never done this with any success. 95% of my prospecting is residential. I will occasionally just go out and hand out business cards to other businesses, but if the owner isn't there I don't push it. Admittedly a weak spot in my business.

2. You mentioned you are doing seminars - care to talk about your process and your success with them? - I don't feel like I've ever done a 'great' seminar, so I don't have a blueprint for success. I call a wholesaler to pay for the event (one who won't be a relentless equity cheerleader), book a local restaurant, and send out invitations (which the wholesaler provides). I haven't ever gotten a random person to attend from the invites (I only send out a couple hundred). They are all phone call driven.

I call clients and invite them, and ask them to bring a friend. Then I call prospects. I promise them all 'NO SALES PITCH', just a free dinner and some information that would probably be helpful to them. Wholesaler talks about the market, I say a few words, I answer a few questions. If they ask questions about what to buy, what to sell, whatever, I tell them to ask a financial advisor...it doesn't have to be me, but talk to a professional. If you don't have one, I will help you or help you find one if you don't like my style. I shake hands and thank people for coming. I've never had an event where I didn't get a client out of it. For me at seminars the key is to provide value and undersell my services.

3. You probably have mentioned this in the past, but as everyone knows, i don't have any memory left - are you in a metro area, small town, what? - I live in a small town with moderate sized town next to it. My office is in a different small town. Jones frowns on prospecting outside one's 'town'. I do it anyway. If there isn't an FA within city limits, I call them. However, for the purpose of understanding my demographic I work in a largely rural area. The areas that aren't 'rural' have a very rural state of mind.


Edited by SometimesNowhere - Sep/17/2010 at 10:42pm
I sort of give a fuck.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sportsfreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/17/2010 at 10:53pm
Thanks SN
I have been thinking about trying to do cold seminars. Using Seminar Marketing, or some other service. I don't have the infrastructure, so i need  a service like that. They print the invites, mail them out, with an 800 number for invitees to RSVP to. They take the calls, and provide me with a website that i can go to and view the invitees, and if i choose to, (which i would) call them to qualify prior to the event.
So all i would need to do is book the venue, show up and speak, and try to get appointments set. I would hire someone to work the seminar for me as my assistant. (i would use my former assistant from the wire, she would be glad to do it.
Problem is it is expensive and i don't believe it makes any sense to do one and see how it goes. You need to repeat.

So i was thinking of asking an Estate Planning attorney if he would be interested in doing it with me and sharing the cost. I speak first about the importance of Fin Planning and what it is exactly, ending with Wealth Transfer, which segues into his 10 minutes, then have a wholesaler do 10 minutes on the markets. Then me and the attorney do q and a.
I was also thinking of doing it with someone from the Soc Security Administration, which i think would draw people. But it doesnt resolve my problem of cost.
Opinions, critiques?
Sorry MINT, SF is right, I was wrong......Helado...March 8th, 2014
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TJ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/19/2010 at 4:05pm
This post is golden. I am officially announcing my intent to copy, paste and distribute it to a few friends I have in the business.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NYCTrader Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/19/2010 at 7:19pm
Great post, SN.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rollingtwelve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/19/2010 at 10:09pm
nice  +1
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Perfect.
 
 
Stok
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JackBlack Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/20/2010 at 10:21am
Great post SN.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wet_Blanket Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/20/2010 at 10:30am
Moved to lobby.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote knuk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/20/2010 at 10:32am
This is me clapping.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SometimesNowhere Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/20/2010 at 10:43am
Originally posted by Sportsfreak Sportsfreak wrote:

Thanks SN
I have been thinking about trying to do cold seminars. Using Seminar Marketing, or some other service. I don't have the infrastructure, so i need  a service like that. They print the invites, mail them out, with an 800 number for invitees to RSVP to. They take the calls, and provide me with a website that i can go to and view the invitees, and if i choose to, (which i would) call them to qualify prior to the event.
So all i would need to do is book the venue, show up and speak, and try to get appointments set. I would hire someone to work the seminar for me as my assistant. (i would use my former assistant from the wire, she would be glad to do it.
Problem is it is expensive and i don't believe it makes any sense to do one and see how it goes. You need to repeat.

So i was thinking of asking an Estate Planning attorney if he would be interested in doing it with me and sharing the cost. I speak first about the importance of Fin Planning and what it is exactly, ending with Wealth Transfer, which segues into his 10 minutes, then have a wholesaler do 10 minutes on the markets. Then me and the attorney do q and a.
I was also thinking of doing it with someone from the Soc Security Administration, which i think would draw people. But it doesnt resolve my problem of cost.
Opinions, critiques?


My gut reaction to using a service for this kind of thing is that they're a waste of money. I think of it like I think of the people that call my office trying to sell me 'unique leads from people that want to be contacted by a financial advisor for their 401k  rollover'. It's bullshit. If it can be done in your market, you are probably the best person to do it. And I think you're dead on, you need to do it consistently to make it a success, and how will you feel if nobody shows up to the first one?

The estate planning attorney thing is a good angle IMO, if you can find one you would actually like doing business with (my feelings on these people have already been documented). Sort of the best of both worlds, you will get in front of some pre qualified prospects and build a reciprocal business source. Same deal with the SSA. In both cases you can probably split the cost with a wholesaler. I think the ROI on the latter two ideas has potential, a seminar service doesn't seem to have much promise.
I sort of give a fuck.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HAcoreRD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/20/2010 at 7:06pm
Thanks for the motivation SN.
I am hanging up the walking shoes for a month and hammering a cold call campaign. Thus far I have only DKed, so we will see how it goes.
This is just what i needed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sportsfreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/20/2010 at 9:20pm
SN - Thanks for the response.
Regarding the mailing service - First of all, my gut reaction would be the same as yours - like someone trying to sell me annuity leads. But with this particular company I know of at least one FA who has had good success filling seminars, with enough qualified prospects to make it worthwhile. He was having to run a second seminar the same week to accomodate the overflow. Aside from that, the big attraction for me is that it provides me the infrastructure to design, print, mail and accept the RSVP's (again i would do the follow up qualifying call). As a one man shop with no infrastructure, that would be hard to do.
In any case, these are ideas that i am turning around in my head. Thanks again for the feedback.
Sorry MINT, SF is right, I was wrong......Helado...March 8th, 2014
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