Gaining New Clients: Growing Your Prospects
Prospecting in your business can be a lot like dating; to make a good impression, you have to make the other person feel special. I have designed a 90-day program that aims to establish a personalized communication experience with every prospect you meet.
I was taught by one of the best prospecting advisors in the industry that prospecting is a bit like dating. To flourish as a professional and figure out whether the person is a good match as quickly as possible, you try to make each date or experience special. In your effort to achieve your goal in prospecting, make every effort to ensure that each touch is as special as possible. Just like dating, prospecting is a time when both you and your prospect are trying to determine if you want to pursue a long-term relationship.
Every advisor wants to grow his or her business. To do that effectively and efficiently, you really only need two things.
(1) A prospect pipeline
(2) A system for moving as many prospects through your pipeline as you can. (Where do you think the phrase “make five appointments and keep four” came from?)
When I talk to some, actually a lot of advisors, their idea of a drip system is nothing more than a phone call when they think about it and maybe an auto-newsletter. Guys, if you keep at it like that, you’ll be lucky to get a coffee date, much less a new client.
The 90-Days of Growth Project is your shortcut to take someone from prospect to client. It is systematic enough for you to develop a routine and yet flexible enough, so you can tailor it to each individual prospect. Working with people this way will make you look and feel more professional. It will give you the confidence to stand out and do your work for each and every client. You will end up with qualified prospects and new clients because you haven’t just prospected them; you’ve given them a prospect experience.
Here’s how to do that.
The 90-Days of Prospect Growth
Develop two Top Five lists of prospects. Make one an (A) list and the other an (A+) list. This helps you to engage your mind and efforts on clients that will really take you to the top. You might choose to follow this same process to re-engage those already in your pipeline. Either way is good. Whether it’s people you know or people you know of, develop a prospect profile for each one that includes everything you know about them—lots more than just a name and contact information…everything.
Develop a strategic plan for each prospect. Use all the information you’ve acquired about each prospect to customize a plan for that particular person that includes seven “touches” over a 90-day period. Plan on being creative. Remember, the goal here is to differentiate you and build a new kind of prospect experience. It’s the little things that make the big difference in creating an experience. Just like on those dates you enjoy.
Every prospect should receive a contact every 12 days. And no, this is not too often because you’re intentionally mixing up your touches. Simply calling them every 12 days would be excessive, but this is a much more sophisticated process. Set up the entire 90-day plan for each person on your calendar. Leave nothing to chance or memory. Your seventh contact should ideally be an appointment.
Here are a variety of touches you can incorporate into your 90-day plan:
· Phone: 3x
· Email: 3x
· LinkedIn message 1x
· Letter 1x
· Lunch: 1x
· Non-business related article. Use these 90 days to get to know your prospect so you can tailor this touch to people’s personal interests. Check your notes, and if you don’t know, find out. 1x
· Outing. Play golf, sail, kayak, go fishing, take them to a ball game, whatever sounds like fun for the prospect should be in your notes by now. 1x
· Invitation to one of your events or seminars 1x
· Appointments 1x
· Bonus touches. For bonus touches, send personal notes after lunches and outings. Handwritten notes are a lost art, thus your prospect is almost guaranteed to open it and read your note. It’s the little things that matter…just like in dating.
Follow through. Yes, I know, nothing is for free or perfectly easy. Once you commit to the plan, you must flawlessly execute over the next 90 days. Every contact or touch should be deliberate, with a clear objective in mind.
Begin a referral file for each prospect. Whenever another individual is mentioned by the prospect, record the name and any other information you have in your prospect’s referral file. Start a new card for that person as well and begin the process with them if you can get an introduction.
Take it to the next level. At the end of the 90 days, you should end up with a warm pipeline of several qualified prospects, as well as a couple of new clients. Once your prospect becomes a client, ask them for an introduction to someone in their referral file. If you aren’t sure how to do that, just reach out to me and I can help.
Repeat as indicated. It is a great idea for you to repeat the process for prospects you feel have extraordinary potential. See how well it works and incorporate it into your methods for all your prospects.
Drop, and cut out the deadwood. Another benefit of the 90-day process is that you will learn who is qualified and who you should drop. All prospects who remain get put into your long-term drip system for further development as a client.
Like anything else in business, you have to commit to the process for it to work. We are not looking for baby steps here, but rather a 180- degree change in your habits. Be industrious and constant. Pack your pipeline with as many people as you can. The more people you work through the 90-Day experience, the more qualified prospects and clients come out at the end. Also, the more prospects you add to the system, the less emotionally attached you are to any one prospect. (Remember that 60 open cases make for a happy advisor.) This minimizes the emotional ups and downs characteristic of prospecting. You are going to have ups and downs in this business. It isn’t a matter of limiting them, but rather having more control over your head and how you feel about them.
The more activity you have, the better you will feel. I promise.
SEE A LIFE COACH IN BATON ROUGE
Frank Hopkins is a life coach in Baton Rouge who is certified as a Professional Coach (CPC) by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). Frank has helped numerous people to go through emotional change in a way that is positively transformative. You can see Frank’s other website, www.frankhopkinlifecoach.com on line as well.