Over the past few years, I’ve heard the joke that ends with this punch line: “Yesterday you were a prospect, today you’re a client!” It resonates in the sales world because of the feeling some clients have once they sign on the dotted line.
It’s a feeling of under appreciation and loss. Why? Because before a client has signed, they’re courted as prospects – receiving high touch, responsive and on demand service.
But, once the sales experience is over, the prospect becomes a client and gets handed off to a different set of people and processes. And sometimes, all of the sudden, the courtship is over! The end of the attentive service is significant, because as I’ve said before: your clients are your competitor’s best prospects, and the end of this courtship experience is exactly what I’m talking about.
The good news is that moving out of the courtship stage doesn’t have to be a letdown. In fact, there are plenty of great retirement plan teams that haven’t lost a client. Why? Read more
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
Last week we went over marketing plan goals and measurement. Now that you know what your goals are, and how to determine what success looks like, let’s start talking about your target market and marketing tactics.
Target market: Take a look at your current book of business to help you figure out your niche – or possible niche. Who’s on the list – manufacturing firms, start-ups, hospitals? This can help you figure out what kind of clients you want to have. You want clients like the ones you’re successful with. What are their characteristics? Do they have an engaged committee, or are they parental, committed to participant education? Whatever the case might be –think about having a profile of your ideal clients and figure out who fits that profile to determine the size of your market.
Once you’ve identified your target market, it’s important to develop a pipeline management process. Your marketing activities toward each prospect will depend on where they are in your sales pipeline. Where are they in the buying process? Maybe you’ve met a CEO a few times socially, but you can’t get him to commit to a meeting. This can help you determine your marketing collateral needs – you’ll need different strategy and collateral for a CEO than a prospect you haven’t made contact with.
Several years ago, I was sitting in a finalist presentation for a plan sponsor and the key decision-maker made a comment that resonated with me, “If you document it and measure it, it will get done – if you don’t, it won’t.” How about that for a lead into a marketing plan series?
We’ve already talked about discovering your story. Now, let’s get you thinking about writing a marketing plan. Today we’ll focus on goals and measurement: what you want to achieve with your marketing plan, and how you’ll measure that success. Goals and measurement drive your target audience and marketing tactics, but we’ll focus more on that next week.
Sales and servicing keep you busy – I get that. You don’t have time to chase leads, nothing’s worse than wasting precious time on fruitless prospecting efforts. You have to be thoughtful about how you spend your time. A good marketing plan helps you prospect effectively. It keeps you front of mind with your clients and helps create a perception, or brand, with your prospects.