The sales landscape has changed. The famous ABC concept (Always Be Closing) doesn’t work very well anymore. Most advisors and financial professionals don’t sell transactional products, and clients have access to information like no other time in the history. So while the close is still critical – it’s better to delay it than to rush it.
Ryan Schutty covered cold calling – from creating your list (personalize it) to overcoming objections (interrupt their pattern). Now, it’s finally time for the first meeting. Instead of ABC, try ICC: Inquire, Clarify, Challenge. Read more
I’m sure you’ve never opened up a cold call this way (right?). I’ve yet to meet someone who sold a retirement plan over the phone. The goal of your call isn’t to sell a plan; it’s to get a meeting.
Last week we talked about the first step to making cold calling a little “warmer” – personalize your call list. Now, let’s talk about the initial call. Most often, it’s where you’ll meet the most opposition.
It’s so important to remind yourself that horizontal cold calling is a no-pressure approach – you’re simply gathering information. Your focus should be on the prospect – the initial call is NEVER a time to lay out the laundry list of services and recognitions your firm has – you’re just setting the stage for future discussions and, hopefully, a meeting.
For the initial call, establish a template for your discussion.
If you’ve spent the last six months cold calling a list with over 1,000 names pulled from a database (i.e. all benefit plans with $X in assets, $X participants, in the state of Y) – we should talk.
You’re vertical cold calling – moving down a list, using the same pitch, maybe with a little too much selling and not enough information, and checking names off after the call, never to talk again. Odds are you sound the same as the other nine advisors who called the “decision maker” already this year.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s good to have a large pool of prospects. But when it comes to cold calling – a good way to “warm” it up is by thinking horizontally.
Many years ago, when I worked on sales presentations, my team would spend 80% of our time working on the PowerPoint – debating slide order and color, bullet points and font size, this graphic over that graphic. You name it, we debated it. After all that, we’d spend only 24 hours preparing to present that flawless PowerPoint presentation. We would scramble to get our story together, adding undue pressure and stress to ourselves, and we wouldn’t personalize the story as much as we should have.
Eventually, we began thinking differently, flipping our energy and focus – 80% of our time forming the story and preparing our team, and 20% on the supporting materials. This 80/20 rule helped us focus on our end goal: preparing for a sales presentation, not the supporting materials.
Using the 80/20 rule
It’s all too easy to put your time and energy towards your PowerPoint and supporting materials. But PowerPoint doesn’t run your sales pitch – you and your team do. Applying the 80/20 rule (80% story/team preparation and 20% supporting materials) can keep your sales preparation focused and on track.
Here are four tips: Read more
I frequently talk to advisors and financial professionals about the prospects they’re working. Their sales pipeline can range anywhere from 10-50 active deals they’re working routinely. Odds are some of those great opportunities are their competitor’s clients. That’s why I’d like to share some insights about how client segmentation can build a moat around your client base.
Let’s begin with client segmentation
I have yet to meet an advisor or advisor team who doesn’t struggle to manage service delivery and growth…and for that matter, their sanity. Segmentation helps you strategically analyze how you communicate to clients and how your service model applies, or doesn’t apply, to their needs. Most importantly, it’ll help you create efficiencies so you can put your energy toward new client opportunities. Read more