Sales Idea of the Month
by Bryce Sanders (from Horsesmouth – public.horsesmouth.com)
How Am I Going to Add 100 New Prospects in 2021?
Were we ever surprised! Back in January 2020 we had no idea what was in store! LinkedIn connections sent messages like “Things will be great in 2020!”
Then everything changed.
Although many wish 2021 would simply be a fresh calendar page, it’s likely to be a year of transition. But whatever the situation, your practice still needs to grow. How will you add 100 new prospects in 2021?
Let’s start by assuming 2021 will consist of three phases, although even this may be optimistic:
- More of the same. As in 2020, people will be working from home. Restaurants will be closed or their capacity restricted. Your office isn’t open yet.
- Relaxing of restrictions. The vaccine is widely distributed. Group events are allowed with mask and social distancing restrictions in place. Restaurants are open. People are still apprehensive.
- Life as we knew it. At last, the pandemic is history. Your office has reopened. You can see clients in their homes again. Vacation travel has resumed.
Phase 1: More of the same
You need a prospecting system that is consistent with your firm’s restrictions. You must engage clients and prospects on their terms.
Advantage: People are pretty good at video conferencing by now. And they are bored.
Disadvantage: Since everyone is doing webinars, yours better be pretty good or no one will come.
Your strategy: Build an online following through multiple channels. Conduct business as closely to normal as possible, except you won’t be in the same place as your client or prospect.
- Start with annual portfolio reviews. Every client should get one. This will likely take the better part of two months if you have 100 clients and conduct three reviews per day. As of 12/22/20 the Nasdaq was up 42+% YTD. The S&P was up about 14%.
Action: In addition to being accountable for your advice, you want to ask clients the people they know who haven’t gotten a review from their advisor, haven’t heard from their advisor or are dissatisfied with their advisory relationship.
- Your eNewsletter is very important. Try to get all your clients and as many prospects as practical on your list. Use your own content if possible, but firm content is fine.
Action: Your newsletter goes out frequently. If you have a choice of content, a “Week in Review” text on market activity is ideal. The object is to build name recognition through multiple channels.
- LinkedIn—building your audience. Pick five niches based on your current client base. They might be teachers, people at a certain firm and members of certain professions.
Action: Spend a short amount of time each day on one niche. Search for second-level connections. Send a personalized message inviting them to connect.
- LinkedIn—gaining visibility. Regularly post compelling, compliance-approved content. This might be article links on financial or lifestyle content.
Action: You can do this through posting to the daily news feed or sending individual messages to connections. The objective is to provide a regular flow that generates responses, even if they are just thanks or a thumbs up. Acknowledge those responses.
- Produce your own webinar content or use firm content if required. This is going to require compelling content. See what the firm has to offer. Two criteria for developing compelling topics: (1) Clients want to know this information. (2) They would need to pay to get the answer otherwise.
Your firm’s commentary on potential tax law changes is a good example. The webinars don’t need to be exclusively financial. It’s been said “Covid-19” also describes the 19 pounds people have gained during the pandemic. How can they safely lose weight?
Action: Have a schedule of webinars with the ability to view ones people have missed. Encourage viewers to reach out to you.
- Promote your series of webinars. You have multiple channels. Email. LinkedIn. Surface mail. Phone calls. Offer a schedule, so people can build viewing into their routine.
Action: Roll out your webinar series, paying specific attention to who has messaged back. If you can identify viewers, even better.
Phase 2: Relaxing of restrictions
Groups are allowed to come together. The legal liability issues have been addressed. Restaurants have reopened.
Advantage: People have cabin fever. There’s a pent-up demand to get out and do something.
Disadvantage: Some people will be afraid to venture out.
Your strategy: Adopt a series of live events. These might be dinner seminars or lectures.
- It’s time for quarterly or semi-annual portfolio reviews. You likely do this already.
Action: In addition to providing good service, you are reminding clients about referrals. You thank them for names they have suggested, without going into details of the outcome. It’s confidentiality.
- Transform your webinars into seminars. The same topics should remain valid. There will be updated content to add. People who saw them online will want to ask questions.
Action: Simple. Update your content.
- Schedule a series of live seminars. They might be biweekly. Monthly. You will appropriate space. Has your office reopened at the level where a large conference room can be used? Can you use a local restaurant? Does the firm or a sponsor have the ability to share costs?
Action: Make this into an event people will want to attend.
- Promote your seminar series. After months of effort, you have a readership for your eNewsletter. Clients read your emails. You can bring it up during your scheduled portfolio review video calls. You have a LinkedIn following, organized by niches.
Action: Get people to commit to attending.
- Follow up after your seminars. You’ve done this for years. People attend. You reach out. People didn’t show up. You reach out.
Action: Build follow-up into your client contact system.
Phase 3: Life as we knew it
It’s later in the year. Maybe it’s not 2019 again, but people are more confident. Your office is fully open. Clients are comfortable visiting your office and inviting you into their homes. The charity gala season has resumed.
Advantage: Confidence has built among the general population.
Disadvantage: With the return of vacation travel, bars and packed restaurants, there’s lots of competition for people’s attention.
Your strategy: Transition from requesting people to attend your event to having them request you to present at their event or in their home.
- Do more portfolio reviews. See above.
Action: You continue to be accountable. You remind them about referrals.
- Your talk becomes a private performance. Some of your webinar topics gained traction. You are considered a subject matter expert. You offer to meet with a group of your client’s friends at their home if they want a personalized presentation.
Action: Book some in-home talks in client living rooms.
- Community groups. Word has spread. Your talks are pretty good. Because you have a niche for college alumni, the local chapter wants you to talk. Well, maybe they haven’t asked, but you suggest it. Lots of other members agree, because they are familiar with your online content.
Action: You have booked some speaking engagements because you have leveraged your following.
These are the two main themes to keep in the front of your mind for 2021:
- You are growing your practice through the accountability of portfolio reviews. You show the results of your recommendations.
- You are creating a social media following which you transition into seminars and small group events.
Granted, this strategy has a lot of “ifs” involved. It’s based on the ideas at some point this year it will be safe to gather and people will be eager to get out. It assumes your firm will agree that group events and face-to-face meetings are a good idea. Let’s hope we see that happen sooner rather than later.