Best Prospecting techniques

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Broker24's picture
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Joined: 2006-10-12

So, I wanted to get some feedback on what people have found most
successful in their practices in terms of attracting new clients. I did the
doorknocking thing for a while, and probably opened 100 accounts or so
that way, but I haven't done that for a year or so (hated it, but did it and it
worked). I woudl consider cold-calling, but I don't know if I could commit
to it.

I do a lot of teaching, employee education sessions and "intimite"
seminars (dinner meetings with individual invitations - no advertising). I
network a lot and am very active in the Chamber and Lion's Club. But
those are more for PR than direct prospecting. I have done a small trade
show, and plan to do the next Home Show in the area.

I get VERY good return on the teaching engagements and dinners.
Problem is, I can only do so much of that (I only have so many nights in a
week). And summers are not good for this stuff - no classes, and dinners
are hard to nail down.

Question: what are some of the other ways people get good returns on
prospecting? I am always interested in new ideas.

FreeLunch's picture
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Joined: 2007-06-16

Sit in your office for 3 hours a day and do nothing but cold call and:
A.  Try and set up appointments for portfolio reviews
B.   Try and sell them a Muni or something.
 
Pretty tough to break a sweat that way - Also cheaper on gas.

AllREIT's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-16

Broker24 wrote: Question: what are some of the other ways people get good returns on
prospecting? I am always interested in new ideas.

Seminars and teaching are the way to go.

The thing is most seminars are run so badly that alot of conversion potential is wasted.

Places where people screw up.

1) Attendee's. List selection here is very important, alot of people
don't look at "correlated lists" e.g magazine subscribers, chairities,
politics etc.

E.g If was going to do a seminar, I would do it on the topic of

"Protecting your investments from Hillary Clinton"

and then I would send invites to to various republican/conservative lists in wealthy area's.

The topics would then be,

1) The ominous parralells between HC and Jimmy Carter.
2) TIPS vs Stagflation
3) Hold off on adding to Pharma/Healthcare investments untill the course of possible health care reform is clearer.
4) Vital role of Muni bonds in a high tax enviroment.
5) Grave risks to QDI/LTCG  @ 15% means that if you want to make big changes in your portfolio infavor of Muni's etc now is the time to do it!!

If you know the tastes and biases of your audience you can play them like a piano.

Edward Pwns's picture
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Joined: 2007-05-23

Well the thing is, if doorknocking really worked, why would you stop doing it?  It's free and it sounds like you did a ton of new business.  Why stop?
 
Broker24 wrote:So, I wanted to get some feedback on what people have found most successful in their practices in terms of attracting new clients. I did the doorknocking thing for a while, and probably opened 100 accounts or so that way, but I haven't done that for a year or so (hated it, but did it and it worked). I woudl consider cold-calling, but I don't know if I could commit to it. I do a lot of teaching, employee education sessions and "intimite" seminars (dinner meetings with individual invitations - no advertising). I network a lot and am very active in the Chamber and Lion's Club. But those are more for PR than direct prospecting. I have done a small trade show, and plan to do the next Home Show in the area. I get VERY good return on the teaching engagements and dinners. Problem is, I can only do so much of that (I only have so many nights in a week). And summers are not good for this stuff - no classes, and dinners are hard to nail down. Question: what are some of the other ways people get good returns on prospecting? I am always interested in new ideas.

AllREIT's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-16

Edward Pwns wrote:Well the thing is, if doorknocking really
worked, why would you stop doing it?  It's free and it sounds like
you did a ton of new business.  Why stop?

There is only so much area you can door knock.

Hi, this Ed Jones, I'm from Chicago, and have recently opened up a
new office in Tacoma. Is anyone in this houshold an investor?

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

Broker24,
It's time for you to read The Common Denominator of Success by Albert E. Gray.  You sound as if you are focusing on pleasurable methods intstead of pleasurable results.

Maxstud's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-29

anonymous wrote: You sound as if you are focusing on pleasurable methods intstead of pleasurable results.That sound like me on my wedding night.

gad12's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-06

Maxstud wrote: anonymous wrote:
You sound as if you are focusing on pleasurable methods intstead of pleasurable results.
That sound like me on my wedding night.

 
 

Broker24's picture
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Joined: 2006-10-12

anonymous wrote:
Broker24,
It's time for you to read The Common Denominator of Success by Albert E. Gray.  You sound as if you are focusing on pleasurable methods intstead of pleasurable results.

I think I understand what you are trying to say, but I don't think I agree.  I am trying to do high conversion prospecting.  I do very well in front of groups and in person.  I am not a very good cold caller.  Is it because it is uncomfortable to me, or I jsut don't want to do it?  Maybe.  But generally speaking, my belief is that you focus on your strengths and not try to re-invent yourself.  However, I am open to all ideas.
I'll have to read the book.  May be eye opening.

Broker24's picture
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Joined: 2006-10-12

Edward Pwns wrote:
Well the thing is, if doorknocking really worked, why would you stop doing it?  It's free and it sounds like you did a ton of new business.  Why stop?

Because there is only so much area, most people are not home, and many people think you are a goofball for doorknocking.  To be honest, I don't like the concept of residential doorknocking, but you have to get the business going somehow.  Though I did open some 500K+ accounts doorknocking, many of the accounts were small, and not the type that I want to target long-term.
I still do some business doorknocking.  But it's much more laid-back.  Really relationship building-type stuff.  Much easier to do than residential (for me).
What I am REALLY trying to do is get inside a local F500 company in the area.  They have an aging employee force, and I already have a lot of clients there.  Most have very large 401(k) balances, as they are most typically lifers (with a great match program).  So most of the age 50+ employees have over 500K in the 401(k) (and many have over $1mm).  Trying a few angles, but can't seem to get the traction I want.

BondGuy's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-21

Broker24 wrote:Edward Pwns wrote:
Well the thing is, if doorknocking really worked, why would you stop doing it?  It's free and it sounds like you did a ton of new business.  Why stop?

Because there is only so much area, most people are not home, and many people think you are a goofball for doorknocking.  To be honest, I don't like the concept of residential doorknocking, but you have to get the business going somehow.  Though I did open some 500K+ accounts doorknocking, many of the accounts were small, and not the type that I want to target long-term.
I still do some business doorknocking.  But it's much more laid-back.  Really relationship building-type stuff.  Much easier to do than residential (for me).
What I am REALLY trying to do is get inside a local F500 company in the area.  They have an aging employee force, and I already have a lot of clients there.  Most have very large 401(k) balances, as they are most typically lifers (with a great match program).  So most of the age 50+ employees have over 500K in the 401(k) (and many have over $1mm).  Trying a few angles, but can't seem to get the traction I want.

 
At 100 accounts, door knocking works for you. keep doing it. Go to another town for a few days a week and do it.
Dig deeper into the accounts you have opened. look for more money and definately get referrals.
Want to get into the local fortune 500 company to mine the 401k goldmine?  Here's how to do it:
1. In a small town, no doubt several of your clients are already employees of this company. Ask them for a copy of the plan document. Ask them for all the plan info that the company gave them. Afterall, as their advisor you need to understand their plan.
2. Become an expert on the company's plan. Read the plan documents from cover to cover. Call the HR dept as an employee's advisor and schedule an appointment with the Director of HR. The purpose is to find out as much info as possible about the company's plans and benefits. And while you're at it become an expert on the company, it's products, it's industry, and it's competition.
Once this is done you are an expert on the plan. You are a value added resource.
3. As your town's new go to guy on the company plan, advertise, cold call, door knock, mail, to let everyone know you are the "Go to Guy" for questions. A professional letter to the area's CPA's and lawyers wouldn't hurt.
4. Hold seminars directed at company employees to discuss their plan. Your target market, anyone within 5 years of retirement. Obtaining a corporate directory could help you focus your efforts. If a directory is not obtainable, mass mail. Flyers taped on walls over urinals and toilets in the company building is another way to advertise your seminar/workshop. Yup, it works.
5. As time goes on you will become a recognizable face and name within the company. Your phone will ring. HR may invite you in. It's all good, you're prospecting.
 
 
 
 

Edward Pwns's picture
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Joined: 2007-05-23

If you've opened up several $500k+ accounts from doorknocking, you should know that you are a model success story.  I did the same thing, but you are correct in saying that doorknocking eventually reaches a point where it is no longer effective.  If you do the work like you are supposed to, how long would it take to knock an entire zip code?  It took me from KYC to EG.  I didn't know what to do after that.  My flunky mentor in STL said dk for another 2 years.  Just not practical.  My local brokers buddies/competitors said dk for another 2 years. 
Have you tried seminars? 

Broker24's picture
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Joined: 2006-10-12

BondGuy wrote:Broker24 wrote:Edward Pwns wrote:
Well the thing is, if doorknocking really worked, why would you stop doing it?  It's free and it sounds like you did a ton of new business.  Why stop?

Because there is only so much area, most people are not home, and many people think you are a goofball for doorknocking.  To be honest, I don't like the concept of residential doorknocking, but you have to get the business going somehow.  Though I did open some 500K+ accounts doorknocking, many of the accounts were small, and not the type that I want to target long-term.
I still do some business doorknocking.  But it's much more laid-back.  Really relationship building-type stuff.  Much easier to do than residential (for me).
What I am REALLY trying to do is get inside a local F500 company in the area.  They have an aging employee force, and I already have a lot of clients there.  Most have very large 401(k) balances, as they are most typically lifers (with a great match program).  So most of the age 50+ employees have over 500K in the 401(k) (and many have over $1mm).  Trying a few angles, but can't seem to get the traction I want.

 
At 100 accounts, door knocking works for you. keep doing it. Go to another town for a few days a week and do it.
Dig deeper into the accounts you have opened. look for more money and definately get referrals.
Want to get into the local fortune 500 company to mine the 401k goldmine?  Here's how to do it:
1. In a small town, no doubt several of your clients are already employees of this company. Ask them for a copy of the plan document. Ask them for all the plan info that the company gave them. Afterall, as their advisor you need to understand their plan.
2. Become an expert on the company's plan. Read the plan documents from cover to cover. Call the HR dept as an employee's advisor and schedule an appointment with the Director of HR. The purpose is to find out as much info as possible about the company's plans and benefits. And while you're at it become an expert on the company, it's products, it's industry, and it's competition.
Once this is done you are an expert on the plan. You are a value added resource.
3. As your town's new go to guy on the company plan, advertise, cold call, door knock, mail, to let everyone know you are the "Go to Guy" for questions. A professional letter to the area's CPA's and lawyers wouldn't hurt.
4. Hold seminars directed at company employees to discuss their plan. Your target market, anyone within 5 years of retirement. Obtaining a corporate directory could help you focus your efforts. If a directory is not obtainable, mass mail. Flyers taped on walls over urinals and toilets in the company building is another way to advertise your seminar/workshop. Yup, it works.
5. As time goes on you will become a recognizable face and name within the company. Your phone will ring. HR may invite you in. It's all good, you're prospecting.

BondGuy-
Thanks for the feedback.  Actually, I already have all the plan documents, plan options, and pension plan documents.  I know the plan better than the employees (no real stretch).  I have really "advertised" to my clients that I am the "guy" when it comes to employees at that company.  I am now working on the unions to do some employee education (the have professional-level engineers in unions), since the company is not agreeable to company-wide employee education.  I am also starting to do some client "bring-a-coworker" dinners. 
I have tried in vain to get a company directory.  I have not yet mustered up the courage to ask one of my clients for one - I don't want to sound under-handed and risk a bad reputation.  But I am starting to golf with some of them, so I am developing more personal relationships.  I've got a few other angles I am working on this.
I'll keep at it until it really gets legs.  Really getting into this company would be my personal "home-run". 

Broker24's picture
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Joined: 2006-10-12

Edward Pwns wrote:
If you've opened up several $500k+ accounts from doorknocking, you should know that you are a model success story.  I did the same thing, but you are correct in saying that doorknocking eventually reaches a point where it is no longer effective.  If you do the work like you are supposed to, how long would it take to knock an entire zip code?  It took me from KYC to EG.  I didn't know what to do after that.  My flunky mentor in STL said dk for another 2 years.  Just not practical.  My local brokers buddies/competitors said dk for another 2 years. 
Have you tried seminars? 

Jones is great at starting you out, but in my opinion they are terrible with the 2-5 year guys.  They then have more resources once you are well-established (seg 4/5).  But I think we lose more of those "tweeners" in seg 2/3 than we should because they don't teach you how to do anything beyond doorknock for newer advisors.

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