For financial advisors, there’s nothing like the thrill of signing a new client. But it doesn’t take very long in the business to realize that, without prospecting, those thrills can be few and far between. While signing new clients is the opportunity all advisors relish, they must first create those opportunities, which can only be done through continuous prospecting.
Most advisors consider prospecting to be the most challenging aspect of their work. The challenge for many is doing it consistently and effectively enough to produce sufficient opportunities. For some advisors, prospecting is an afterthought, only becoming necessary when their pipeline dries up. But with the typical lead-to-prospect conversion process lasting as many as six months, that could mean weeks or months before signing a new client.
Successful advisors know that the key to sustainable growth is a constantly replenished pipeline through persistent prospecting. The only way that happens is by building solid prospecting habits.
Here are the essential success habits advisors must develop to become effective and consistent prospectors.
#1. Focus solely on what you can control
If there’s one thing successful financial advisors have in common, it’s that they focus only on that which they can control. They can’t control the economy or the markets, so any time spent worrying about them is wasteful. They can’t really control who becomes a client in the future. But they can control the number of new client opportunities, or prospects, who go into their pipeline. They know that the more opportunities they create, the greater the potential for acquiring new clients.
#2. Develop a prospecting plan
The best advisors know the numbers. They set goals for how many new clients they need to acquire this week, month, and year. They know how many prospects it takes to meet those goals. They plan their prospecting time and activities accordingly and then execute the plan.
The plan might include different types of activities, such as phone calls, email marketing, seminars, and cold canvassing businesses. Action plans are developed for each activity, including objectives, tasks, and timetables.
Timetables are built into their daily, weekly, and monthly schedules, locking out any non-prospecting activities. The more systematic advisors make their prospecting, the greater their chances of success.
#3. Research your markets
It doesn’t take long for even the newest advisors to figure out that taking a shotgun approach to prospecting yields the least results. Prospecting is made much easier with a narrower approach, focusing on finding your ideal clients you know are a better fit for your services. Your ideal clients most likely reside in an industry niche or a readily identifiable market segment based on demographics, careers, interests, or shared financial concerns.
Your market research will reveal critical information enabling you to understand the best methods for communicating and appealing to your niche or target market and tailoring your value proposition to their pain points. You can then approach your markets as a trustworthy advisor offering meaningful solutions.
#4. Monitor and measure results
A critical component of any action plan is monitoring and measuring results. Advisors intent on getting to the next level must be results-oriented, with a firm grasp of how their plan is working. More importantly, they constantly look for ways to improve their performance based on their results to ensure they’re on track to meeting their goals. Most importantly, they hold themselves accountable for their goals and the execution of their plan.
Successful advisors learn from their efforts and mistakes. They set aside sufficient time at the end of a month or quarter to assess their performance and make adjustments to their activities which might include working on a skill set or investing in new technologies to sharpen their edge.
#5. Automate your pipeline
Job number one for advisors is to fill their pipeline. Pipeline leads may come from many sources, but once they’re in, they must be cultivated to turn them into prospects. A quality CRM is a must for tracking, segmenting, and maintaining contact with leads. However, by adding an email marketing program, most of that can be put on autopilot, so your pipeline continuously gets the attention it needs.
With marketing automation, you can segment your leads and tailor your communications based on their interests and how they respond to them. Instead of distancing your leads and prospects by blasting out generic emails, you can draw them in by creating value. When they begin to engage with your communications, you know you have a qualified prospect.
To be successful in this business, prospecting cannot be an afterthought or a second-tier activity. There’s nothing more critical to your success than continuous prospecting, so it’s vital to form the habits to ensure it happens consistently and effectively.