January 29, 2013
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With the first month of 2013 behind us, many of those New Year resolutions relating to diet, weight or exercise are distant memories. That’s why this is an opportune time to make a new resolution for 2013 for your business: This is the year that you will excel at bringing new clients on board.
I was reminded of this by two different conversations last fall with advisors frustrated by the lack of prospecting activity among their teams. There was a consistent theme to their comments: While the large majority of advisors do a reasonably good job of communicating with existing clients, other than hoping for referrals from their client base, most advisors displayed little emphasis on prospecting activity and attracting new clients.
Four primary reasons explain the lack of prospecting focus: loss of confidence, lack of priority, no clear prospecting plan and failure to establish a prospecting routine. Let’s talk about what you can do in 2013 to address each of these.
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When talking to potential clients, you need to believe that prospects would be better off working with you than where they are now or with other advisors. But for prospects to believe that, first you have to feel that way.
I’ve talked to advisors who lack that fundamental conviction and are questioning the value they provide to their clients. I recently spoke with an advisor who feels that over the past 15 years she’s let clients down, as tough markets have meant that plans that clients had back then have had to be adjusted downwards, with retirements postponed, holidays deferred and lifestyles scaled back.
The first necessary condition to develop prospecting momentum is to have the gut feeling that prospects would be fortunate to work with you. If you don’t have that confidence, then you won’t succeed in developing prospecting momentum.
Something that helped one advisor was adding an agenda item to his Monday morning team meetings, in which someone shares an experience from the previous week where a client thanked them for the job they’d done or the difference they’d made. Alternatively, they select a plan they’ve reviewed the week before and talk about the how the client is better off as a result of the decisions that were made.
When most advisors entered the business, prospecting was a survival issue – if you weren’t successful in attracting new clients, your career in the industry would be a short one. This is a stark contrast to today’s mindset – while most advisors know they should prospect, many see this as a “nice-to-do”activity rather than a critical issue for the health of their businesses.
As advisors have built up client bases and become successful, many have fallen into a comfort zone, caught up in the day-to-day routine of serving client needs. After all, until the fall of 2008, most advisors were confident that a healthy market would boost assets and they’d see a steady stream of referrals from happy clients. The market turmoil of the past four years has changed expectations on both those fronts – but while the world has changed, the behavior of many advisors hasn’t kept up.
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