November 9, 2010
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I recently read the book Conquer the Chaos: How to Grow a Successful Small Business without Going Crazy, by Clate Mask and Scott Martineau. In one of the final chapters, the authors discuss the concept of “follow up” and how it is the most neglected marketing principle. Reading this chapter reminded me how true this is across all businesses, not just for independent financial planning and investment advisory firms.
As an advisor responsible for growing your business, you have specific strategies for generating new prospects such as cold calling, networking, hosting workshops or advertising. Often, however, advisors lack a strategy for following up with a prospect if he or she is not immediately interested in hiring your firm. As the authors state, “81% of sales that close, close on or after the fifth contact.” Assuming this statistic is accurate, it is imperative that you integrate a follow-up strategy in your marketing plan.
To create a follow-up strategy, start by asking yourself these five questions:
- What are the different types of prospects with whom I am following up?
- What is the message the prospect is interested in hearing?
- What are the different ways I’m going to follow up?
- How often am I going to follow up?
- How can I follow up most efficiently and effectively?
What are the different types of prospects with whom I am following up?
Before you create a follow up strategy, identify the different types of prospects you are targeting. Are they retirees? Are they busy working professionals? Are they widows and widowers? Understanding who your prospects are will help you identify a message to communicate and the platform for delivering that message. If you target a variety of prospects, you may have to develop a different strategy for each group.
What is the message the prospect is interested in hearing?
Once you understand who your prospects are, you will want to deliver a message that resonates with them. Someone who is in the process of a divorce may be concerned about managing cash flow. A prospect in retirement may be concerned about having sufficient income to last throughout retirement. Each type of prospect will have different concerns, so it is critical that you are addressing their particular issues in the follow up process.
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