Financial professionals know prospecting is as much a part of the job as is meeting with clients. Growing a practice takes more than organic growth from current clients. Finding new clients may be even more critical during the first five years in the business. According to a study by Client Wise, despite the importance of prospecting, only around 20 percent of financial professionals have a formalized plan to acquire clients. The irony is that advisors who use a prospecting plan report much higher growth than those without.
An article posted last month, Seven Insurance Prospecting Tips for a More Productive 2016, included an overview of essential steps to successful prospecting. Let’s take a closer look at the first two, Define, Describe, Debrief and Create your Prospecting Plan.
Know your target
A golfer wouldn’t tee-off in a round of golf with out knowing exactly where the pins are. She needs to know exactly where to aim. Likewise, don’t spend a moment or a dollar on prospecting before identifying the type of client to acquire. Across the board, the most effective marketing campaigns and messages “speak” to the target, in their terms, about their interests and concerns. A well-defined target client will guarantee a successful prospecting result. Read How to Use Personas to Refine Disability Insurance Prospecting Efforts to learn more about how to develop a prospect profile.
Put it in writing
Continuing the golf metaphor, every golfer starts with a map of the course. Before the first swing, a golfer knows the number of holes and how to get from one to the next. He relies on the course map printed on the back of the score card. Having a written prospecting plan is equally important. Before an email is sent or postcard is mailed, document the plan.
It takes only six quick and easy steps to develop a solid prospecting plan. The time spent up front planning ensures success, a more efficient execution of the plan, and a higher return on the time and monetary investment. Using these six simple steps, the plan can be completed in just 30 minutes or so.
- Set goals. How many disability policies sold, how much premium sold, how many new clients acquired. These are examples of prospecting goals. Evaluating the success of the plan is only possible when goals are stated.
- Allocate time to prospecting. Prospecting goals can be used to determine how much time to spend on prospecting. Commit to dedicating a specific amount of time to prospecting and stick to it. Make it a calendar entry, just like a client appointment. 20 percent of a 40-hour work week is 10 hours. Each week. Time consistently committed to even a mediocre prospecting plan will return better results that the best prospecting plan in the world that isn’t followed.
- Select client profile. Select one or two of the highest value client profiles. Marketing messages will be more effective when written for a specific client profile. A good prospecting plan is not one and done, but requires repeated contact over time. Select the client profiles that offer the highest opportunity for success or the greatest opportunity for growth. Another selection consideration should be the source of the prospects. If a desirable client profile is recent homebuyers, prospecting efforts might be better timed for April through August, when homes sales are the highest.
- Plan interactions. Choose effective communication channels for the profile; direct mail, postcard, email, letter, social media, phone call. All are examples of how prospects can be approached.
- Develop the offer. Present the prospect with an offer, preferably two. One offer might be to accept an invitation to a seminar, an agency event, or a free consultation. Access to a downloadable report or white paper is another. Consider what offer will motivate the prospect to take an action. Provide at least two ways for the prospect to respond, email and phone, or email and landing page, choosing which method the prospect is most likely to embrace.
- Monitor results. The plan is documented and so should the results. As prospect take action, and move to the next step, note it. That information will determine when to nudge the prospect to the next step. Most importantly, evaluate the plan. Did it reach the established goals? If not, why not? The results of future prospecting plans will be improved as more is know about how prospects respond to offers and communication interactions.
Did you know DIS offers a free automated prospecting tool? Check out our Broker Computer Assisted Marketing (BCAM). A number of email templates are available, each with a unique message. Make computer assisted marketing part of your prospecting plan. Call your DIS representative today to learn more.