How Can I Get Enough Appointments with Ideal Clients?

How can I get Appointments with Ideal Clients? Meet them before they are in the market for what you sell.

One of the greatest challenges in #sales is to get appointments with ideal prospects when they aren’t actively looking to buy your product and service.  When you apply this universal truth to financial services you get another added factor of difficulty:  most people don’t enjoy sharing their financial affairs with people they don’t have a high degree of trust with.

How do we get the appointments we need with the clients we want?  The short answer, of course, is by #referral.

I don’t know of any other form of prospecting that has a higher rate (or even near) of success when it comes to getting appointments with ideal clients that aren’t looking to buy right now.

Why is it important to focus on getting introduced to prospective clients when they are not in the ‘market’ for a new advisor right now?!?

The real problem is always how effective and/or ‘healthy’ the top of your prospecting pipeline is.  In other words, do you have sufficient people that you have met with and are developing relationships with that are (a) ideal prospects and (b) would benefit measurably from working with you now or in the future?

When you don’t have enough of these relationships in the ‘top of the funnel’ some inconvenient things happen:

  1. You don’t know where your future business is coming from and you cannot realistically predict when it will come.  This causes organizational fragility (you don’t have a real strategy) and individual anxiety (you know you don’t have a strategy…you are counting on hope).
  2. Because you don’t have confidence in your prospecting plan you become easily distracted by things that don’t matter:  email marketing, advertising, etc.  Note:  they can be useful, but they aren’t core things that you should be counting on.
  3. You forget what really works, referrals, and invest your time in other things and never fully utilize their power.  The greatest thing about predictable referrals (how I coach and train) is that you build your business the most enjoyable and confident way.

But, Mike, I need business now!

Sorry, that is something that you are just going to have to survive.  There is no real way to generate business immediately other than frenetic begging (cold calling) or frenetic begging for referrals (nagging clients).  

We all know that to generate consistent sales results…we have to be consistently following our sales activity strategies.  I can’t stop reality and neither can you.

What to do?  Get started on the essentials.

What is essential to get those appointments consistently with my ideal future clients?

  1. Clearly define WHO those ideal clients are.  The most successful sales pro’s and all #financialadvisors and #financialplanners I work with are focused on a very specific niche.  I have many clients that still fight me on this and we cannot truly experience the level of success they potentially have while we are still trying to market and sell to too large an audience.
  2. Inventory WHO has given you referrals in the past.  Note:  referrals are NOT sales.  Referrals are introductions to people you want to meet from people you already know.  These people that have already done this when you didn’t have a real strategy and training are going to be amazing now.  Write down a list right now of at least 6 people that have referred you in the past 3 years…keep the list close (3x5 card) and add to it over the next few days.
  3. Do some research.  Find out WHO these referral sources already know that you want to meet.  You can use social media to get a head start on this, but, this research component is an ongoing strategy that you must do within a plan.
  4. Take a second and realize something that is amazing:  these people that have already referred to you are willing to refer you again.  You just need to make it easy and convenient.  If you were a client of mine we would focus the majority of our proactive time with these people and guarantee you an amazing year of referrals just from them.
  5. Figure out when was the last time you asked the people that referred you to do it again?  Frequency and context are huge when we are moving to predictable referrals on a year to year basis.
  6. Get on your calendar and schedule time with each of those folks to catch up, thank them for referrals in the past and ask the most important question of all:  Would you be willing to have a conversation about “how well you know X person” and/or introducing me to “X person that they know”?

Here is the only way this doesn’t work for you:  You are unable to have valuable conversations with prospective clients without pitching your products and services.

Take a moment to marinate on that statement because it is the assassin of referral based sales.  You are getting introduced to someone that isn’t in the market at the moment (they might be after a nice relaxed meeting with you though) and if you transition to “Joe Salesguy” you are not only being rude, you are endangering your referral source/client.

How to prepare for these conversations:

  1. Be curious.  Plan on what questions you want to know about that person that are important to them (their career, life lessons, community involvement and personal interests are just some of your options).  If your niche is business owners/executives a great question series would be about what they are looking for in new clients, what are the current challenges their business/career is facing, great business people/vendors that they are networking with in the community.
  2. Come prepared to help.  If you are a client of mine you are coming to this meeting with a network of other professionals that are pre-vetted and understand how to handle referrals to your standards.  You are ready to be a giver first.

Let me sum it up:  (a) have a plan to get continually introduced to your ideal clients before they are buying (b) start working a predictable referral strategy to be able to confidently get the introductions and (c) make sure you have a giving mindset and process so that your referral source can be confident you will behave well when they introduce you to one of their relationships.

When your clients get asked ‘why should I meet with them’ and they can answer because you are constantly giving and helping…you are on your way to predictable referrals.

I hope this was of help and if it was I have a request:  Would you ‘like’ this newsletter and consider commenting on why you did so?  If you want to be a superstar you could share it to a financial professional that you know and start the introduction process for me to a potential ideal client.

Related: How Can I Ask For Referrals Without Burning Out My Relationships?