Marketing Corner – Overcoming Prospecting Pitfalls
Marketing Corner – Wednesday January 18th, 2017
Overcoming Prospecting Pitfalls
Let’s begin with a less-than-controversial statement: prospecting is hard business. This is true even if you are lucky enough to convert a sale on the first interaction because after you have satisfied that client, you have to think about where the next one will come from. Prospecting, especially within the financial services industry, is never-ending, with very few fish that jump into the boat.
The problem that many advisors and agents have with prospecting is a somewhat unrealistic attitude of instant conversion. Many of the advisors we work with have an immediate need. They may not be getting the same amount of leads they used to or they may have a harder than usual time converting prospects into clients. While there are things in the immediate that advisors and agents can do to work through these challenges—such as purchasing leads, boosting web presence, and repositioning overall marketing strategies—you should also work to manage your prospecting expectations, and understand better payoffs often come with time.
Here are some prospecting pitfalls, followed by some thoughts on how to overcome prospecting challenges:
Your net is too wide, too narrow, or too unvaried.
As we’ve discussed before good marketing comes down to understanding your target market and understanding the consumer profiles within your broader target market. So is the answer to become niche? Not exactly. Be both broad and niche. Have varied and dynamic marketing strategies, ones that are rooted in what works and allows for experimentation.
The natural inclination is to try to convert the sale immediately
This can create tunnel vision. Obviously, when interacting when with prospects, you should make the best case for your services and solutions, but turning away from a consumer once it becomes clear they aren’t ready can waste an opportunity that occurs once they are ready.
You spend time burning and turning leads, rather than growing the seeds of opportunity.
Again prospecting is hard business, taking up significant time and resources. Why would you want to spend effort on a busted lead, when you could try your magic on a fresh prospect? Isn’t prospecting a numbers game? Yes, but it’s a numbers game on multiple axes of movement. If you only go after slam-dunks, you will miss the other shots that let you ultimately win the game.
It’s not an “either, or” situation. You can still aggressively pursue those clients that convert on a first pass and also have a measured approach to prospects that need time.
Some Suggestions for Overcoming Prospecting Pitfalls
You undoubtedly hope that trigger events such as retirement will make prospects susceptible to your charm and expertise. Understand that these trigger events are not the same thing as a prospect screaming, “I need help, now!” It means that a consumer has a potential need, likely in the near future. It also probably means that the consumer will explore a lot of options and consider their overall goals by the time they reach you and that your initial interactions with them will be seen as part of their option-weighing process.
Even if you have gathered a group of pre-retirees for your seminar on Social Security or Retirement Portfolio Maximization, you may get very little or no appointments out of that. But you have inserted yourself into those individuals’ evaluation process, assumed an authoritative role, and provided good information. What may be a failure in the short-term could very well be a success in the long-term. This is why when you do live events you capture as much prospect information as possible–for analysis and follow-up.
Use Direct Mail and Drip Email Campaigns for Serial Contact
Direct mail is an old-school way of marketing that still proves its worth, especially with pre-retiree consumers. So don’t discount it just yet. Drip email campaigns provide serial contact that track along with a prospect’s long-term decision-making process. So while a consumer takes the time necessary to figure out their financial priorities and weigh their planning options, they will have a periodic reminder of your services, expertise, and interactions.
If you can automate this process, even better. This will allow you to split your time between immediate converts and long-range opportunities.
For more information on drip campaigns, read our post “5 Best Practices of a Drip Marketing Campaign.”
FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP.
Always follow-up on a prospect. Demonstrate your concern and expertise. Provide a personal touch.
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