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The Definitive Prospecting Thread

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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: Feb/18/2020 at 7:24pm
Originally posted by SometimesNowhere SometimesNowhere wrote:

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.

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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.

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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.


Bump. This is a great post. Where is SN anyways?
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missionshooter View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote missionshooter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/18/2020 at 7:24pm
I miss STNW
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dp022 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/19/2020 at 9:07am
Originally posted by Ron 14 Ron 14 wrote:


Bump. This is a great post. Where is SN anyways?

His first response to newbies and rookies was usually "you will fail".  I get a chuckle out of that now but not the first few times I read it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bc2051 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/19/2020 at 9:24am
Originally posted by dp022 dp022 wrote:

Originally posted by Ron 14 Ron 14 wrote:


Bump. This is a great post. Where is SN anyways?


His first response to newbies and rookies was usually "you will fail".  I get a chuckle out of that now but not the first few times I read it.


Ironic if he did
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote luvindy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/19/2020 at 9:53am
Originally posted by bc2051 bc2051 wrote:

Originally posted by dp022 dp022 wrote:

Originally posted by Ron 14 Ron 14 wrote:


Bump. This is a great post. Where is SN anyways?


His first response to newbies and rookies was usually "you will fail".  I get a chuckle out of that now but not the first few times I read it.


Ironic if he did

This made me laugh.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Moraen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/19/2020 at 9:55am
I don't think SN failed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sportsfreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/21/2020 at 2:04pm
Last i recall, he left the business (not failed, just left) and then got an offer he couldn' refuse, which i think he took.
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