Prospecting Made Fun (and Easy)

We know that it is important to prospect consistently for our business, however, for as long as I have been coaching financial advisors I have only known one person who actually liked to prospect… and he is an unusual snowflake. For the rest of us, prospecting can be a bit of a chore. What I’m about to share with you is a highly valuable technique that will make it easier. It is rooted in one of our Getting Results’ principles: Structure Sets You Free. If you read my article The Four Deadly Sins of a Financial Advisor, you will discover that one of the sins is Cowboyism which simply means making stuff up. Cowboyism is a non-politically correct reference to the Wild West and Cowboys and Indians and how we played as kids. A key point that I made in that article was that all the skirmishes between the Cowboys and Indians stopped once the Army got involved. The Army is the antithesis of ‘making stuff up by the seat of your pants’.

The only reason a client does business with a financial advisor is that they like and trust you. If you are out in the mix and you “Bump” into a prospect/suspect, what do you do? You will feel uncomfortable talking business at the Charity Gala.  It is awkward to ask someone you met at the yacht club if they want to become a client.  So what are you going to do? Invite them to your office to talk business?  Maybe, but no likely the best idea since they really don’t know or trust you yet. It takes time and a couple of interactions before they are convinced that you are both likeable and trustworthy.  Frankly, you have not had the time to vet them yet either.

Consider this, what is the probability of meeting someone that has just coincidentally had a liquidity event, or who has just that week realized that they have a serious need for estate planning and need your services immediately? Using your brains you realize that the probability is pretty low. But if they are the right kind of person at some point in their lifespace they will need to know a person like you. Let’s change the paradigm: Relationship first, business second. Create the relationship and then business will follow.

We live in a world where we are addicted to immediate results.  Internet companies spend billions of dollars seeking to make search results fractions of a second faster just to appease this need.

This advice may be counter to what you learned growing up in the business that you must always be closing or asking for the order. I admit, it is counter to what you learned, and for one simple reason- at that time, when you were green in the business, you were in survival mode (anyone who can fog a mirror is a good client).  You had no relationship equity (very few clients in your business who truly believed in what you do).  We transition our clients from Survival mode – to Thrival mode (selective in who you do business with and why you do business).  It requires a new way of thinking and acting.

Our goal is to create good relationships with good people to do good business. Back to the bump. So you bump into a business owner or a Doctor at the county fair, what does a pass look like? Secret: the clearer we are on what we are to do next, the greater the probability it actually happens. Structure sets you Free -yet again.

First step in the pass: secure their contact information and use the “give to get” principle. (Never give your card unless you get a card. Think about all the cards you have given out and how many people have actually called you?

After contact information secured execute the pass:

Hey, we have a monthly cocktail party at the house/local winery/church would you like to come?

I know of a great coffee shop in town which has coffee from Nigeria, can I buy you a cup?

A couple of buddies and I shoot sporting clays every Friday, would you like to join us?

I am going fishing next week, would you like to come?

I am welding tungsten steel next week, would you like to try it?

I am going to the range next week, would you be interesting in hitting some balls?

We are having a whisky tasting at the end of the month, would you be interested in attending?

Now that you have made the pass you have a real reason to be in contact with them.  A reason that won’t have them dodging your calls. What do you think would be easier: getting a gun guy to shoot sporting clays or getting a gun guy to come into your office? Where do you have a greater probability of building a relationship? What are you wearing in the office? What does your uniform mean? Do people like to be sold? Think about it.   Do you like being engaged or sold?  Can you do this with every prospect? Of course not, but you can do it with the right kind of prospects.  At this stage in the game, why would you waste time with anyone who is NOT the right kind of prospect?

Bump and Pass. No one said business could not be fun. Business should be fun.  It should make you want to do MORE of it.  It should ENGAGE you, ENTERTAIN you and INSPIRE you to do more of it.  Pass people to activities and places you want to experience or be at. Keep honing your slight edge. Remember business is a game that can’t be won, only played. So play it well, and play it so that it is fun for you! The more fun it is for you the more compelled and enthused you will be to play it. The more you play it the better you will get at it and the upward spiral begins. Remember bump and pass and be clear on your structure for it.