Prospecting Today: It is a process, not a thing
Marketing Ideas & Sales & Marketing for Professional Services

Prospecting Today: It is a process, not a thing

July 18, 2016
by Tony Vidler  CFP logo   CLU logo  ChFC logo
the prospecting processProspecting today is a continual process, not a series of one off actions as it once was.
Eons ago when financial advisory work was essentially just a continual series of product sales the prospecting required to be successful was repetitive and continual, but each prospecting call was a one-time event.  At the end of that prospecting call – regardless of its success – there would simply be another identical action when the need was there to make another sale.
In a sense that was a basic process, in that the same replicable actions were repeated ad nauseum until the required results were achieved.  But it was, or is, a process that could be likened to heating a microwave dinner – the same actions over and over will produce the same result (“hot food”) – however that requires little skill or thought, and certainly cannot be compared to producing a gourmet meal from scratch (“an enticing and enjoyable social experience”).
So it is with prospecting for financial services clients in todays world:
You can do a simple thing over and over and get sustenance from it.  Advisers can keep banging on doors or making cold calls to strangers, and it is likely that it will produce results of some sort.  Those results however are little more than a series of standalone “sales”…they are microwave TV dinners.  You’ll get by on them, but that is about it.
Or, you can learn how to cook, gather the right ingredients and then blend the skills and resources to create something which others want to be part of.  A valued experience….something enjoyable….and something which your “customers” are willing to talk about and partake of again and again….
A growing and profitable financial advisory firm in todays world is something which creates value from raw ingredients such as products, concepts, & ideas through the application of skill.   More importantly it is a replicable process which creates leverage and efficiency for the firm.
Marketing methods that have stood the test of time, together with new marketing methods and consumer-engagement tools introduce the ability for a firm to reach multitudes with the same effort and budget, instead of spending resources on a single prospect, and then having to spend more resources (time & money) on the next single prospect, and so on.
prospecting process
By shifting the focus from an individual transaction to a process of engaging with multitudes simultaneously, the advisory firm is able to create leverage through syndicating relevant content and using mass communication tools.
Moving the emphasis of content and conversations away from an individual transaction, and instead aiming to educate and empower consumers, we begin to tap into the principles of influence that bring leverage to our prospecting efforts.  Authority, reciprocity, liking….these are all elements which assist in creating genuine trust in the advice we can bring, and create positive and sharable brand messages.    Great content which educates and empowers prospects combined with a patient ongoing process of easy delivery maximises conversions of prospects into revenue-generating clients.
A great prospecting system today is no longer one which is just a repeated event or action that usually produces a known outcome.  The lack of leverage in such methods, together with the emphasis upon creating a transaction as rapidly as possible to obtain a return from the time and effort involved, consign a financial adviser to being seen as nothing more than a salesperson repetitively banging on the doors of strangers.
As with the advice that great professionals provide today – the holistic and broad approach to helping clients achieve an outcome that they want – so too will a great prospecting system be focussed upon delivering the first steps of that professional advice approach.  It will be focussed upon patiently engaging, and teaching, and demonstrating value….and it will be one where the advisory firm can engage simultaneously with hundreds of prospects at a time.
Prospecting today is an integrated sales and marketing process.  It is no longer a one-time-thing that an adviser does when they need one more client.

You might also be interested in this related article:

 Thinking Differently To Connect With Prospcts

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