How Has Your Winter Prospecting Worked Out?

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BigFirepower's picture
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Joined: 2010-07-09

Ok, we see a whole bunch of folks here with blogs going, regarding prospecting, cold calling, business building. So, how's it going? Results, success stories, bad ideas, good ideas, comments about prospect attitudes?

C_FA's picture
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Joined: 2008-12-07

Started prospecting several corporations in my area, and have found a favorable response thus far; prior, I prospected mostly businesses; a conversation with a slightly older FA led me to start thinking about "have to move" and "could move" money situations; it's all through cold calling, which I am okay with. I have found, people called at work talk freely about their situation, offer up all sorts of "I have 401ks from my old jobs, etc..." and seem more receptive to talking and setting appointments.  (Cool!)  Business owners still play it pretty close to the vest, although I have done some targeted 401K prospecting for particular providers' plans and have found a somewhat favorable response.  My goals for the year are 12.5MM in assets, majority annuitized (I am at ML) and 25-30% to come from 401K plans.  I have had a slow January thus far, but I have a good, balanced pipeline and am certain that once one new HH comes through, it's going to rain hard.  Admittedly, I  hit a slump in late November and December, which I am attributing to some of this slow start, but I had most of my work done by early November.  I brought on a good size HH in early December from my old firm, and I still have 2 more left there I want to get over.  In time, the old firm will do something wrong and piss them off.  Still, it was hard to work through the slump-hard to get prospecting and build momentum.  I couldn't find any good resources to get me out of it, I did come out of it in time.  Also, I will say, I am noticing people are much more apt to talk now; I think the shock of 2008 has passed, people made up some ground in 09 and most of 10, and they know they have to start doing something again, rather than be passive.  Whereas, for a lot of 09, people were still shell shocked and unwilling to move assets when their account values were hammered.  Even if they were getting reamed by their incumbent advisor.  I think people (finally) realize that interest rates are not going to skyrocket overnight, and I think some good old fashioned greed has found its way back as well--people see the market making $ and cds and cash doing next to nothing.  Just my $.02.

Otane's picture
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Joined: 2008-08-04

Jan has to be the worst month. I have been making 70-100 calls a day, and never seen as little response. 

Who do you know's picture
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Joined: 2010-12-08

My repeat contacts aren't going as well as what they were going back to mid summer- early fall.  At that time I was finding a lot of angry prospects who were upset with their accts being down.  This led to a lot of ACATs in the fall.  Now I am seeing the opposite trend were most people (including the ones who were pissed in the summer) are now happy (content) with things and aren't looking for a change.  Otane- just like you, my month is going to be down as well.Now my prospecting focus has been shifted back towards the people who have been sitting on the sidelines for now and I'll continue to focus on them until we have another pull back.  I kind already see my pipeline ballooning and am shooting for a solid Feb.

SuperMan's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-18

My month is up and like always I'm worried about two months from now.  Feb. should be my best month ever.I know bonds are out of favor right now ... but wow, you can make a killing on 10yr munis with yeilds between 4-5%.  People are starving for good yeild and no long feel like rates are going up anytime soon.

N.D.'s picture
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Joined: 2009-07-13

What is going to happen to these people, you ACATed over when the market pulled back, next time the market pulls back? How are you preparing them for what the other guy obviously didn't?

Who do you know's picture
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Joined: 2010-12-08

For some people, every positive has a negative.  Thanks for pointing out the negative N.D.  I understand they probably aren't ideal clients for you, but for a newbie, as long as they got a pulse and at least 50k to invest I'll take em dead or alive otherwise my career might end up dead Most of the people I ACATed over were upset that their portfolio's were down, but what pushed them over the edge was their fat old FA was to busy playing golf and not calling to service his clients.  I try real hard to set expectations of what I expect from my clients and also try and uncover what they expect from me, and as long as I do that ans some I don't see any reason why they would leave.  If they do leave, well I guess thanks for the business. 

SuperMan's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-18

Who,  I think you hit the nail on the head.  People say they are upset about performance... what they really mean is they are upset their exisiting broker does not give a sh!t about them.  Set expectations, dispell myths, and service the heck out of them... you'll have a fan for live.

N.D.'s picture
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Joined: 2009-07-13

My point was "what are you going to do to keep the next young hungry guy from taking these accounts from you?"

I think you got it and my ideal client is anyone willing to accept and act on my advice regardless of AUM.

smokey's picture
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Joined: 2010-04-29

For those of you on this discussion/board who are just starting out, there is a few of us from here tracking our daily activity, ideas, successes and thoughts using google documents, google sites and google group.  if you're interested in joining us, send me a message with your google ID so I can share all that with you. we hope to get started dialing feb 1 which is coincidentally the day I hit production. already have about 10-15 people.Each person makes their own google site describing their plan, ideas, thoughtseach person updates the google document of their daily/weekly activiity where they can compare to otherswe can communicate with each other via google groups.

BigFirepower's picture
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Joined: 2010-07-09

I'll agree entirely with the comments about clients firing a broker these days from lack of attention. But, it's more than that.If a client has had say a 10 yr relationship with an advisor, that client can look back and ask some questions. How did my advisor handle the highs and lows? Was he or she buying low, selling high, or did they manipulate my "feelings" and sell me what I "wanted", or what I needed. Did the advisor call me 3-4 times per year, did I meet with he/she 1-4 times per year, was I invited to seminars/client events? Was the advisors "great idea" good, or was it just Wall Street junk? Bottom line, was the value there or not??As an indy now, with nearly 20 yrs under the belt, I tinker and anguish over what I just described. Fortunately, over the last 10 yrs I did an above average job, if not an exceptionally good job of the above. And for that, I'm in very good shape for the rest of my career, and I have goodwill beyond my clients, that has significant value. For you new folks, you might incorporate what I described, and ask some of your prospects questions like that. Have a business plan that ensures that YOU do that going forward.   

N.D.'s picture
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Joined: 2009-07-13

BigFirepower wrote:If a client has had say a 10 yr relationship with an advisor, that client can look back and ask some questions. How did my advisor handle the highs and lows? Was he or she buying low, selling high, or did they manipulate my "feelings" and sell me what I "wanted", or what I needed. Did the advisor call me 3-4 times per year, did I meet with he/she 1-4 times per year, was I invited to seminars/client events? Was the advisors "great idea" good, or was it just Wall Street junk? Bottom line, was the value there or not??

For you new folks, you might incorporate what I described, and ask some of your prospects questions like that. Have a business plan that ensures that YOU do that going forward.

+1000 This is providing value to the board. Excellent post BFP!!!

BigFirepower's picture
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Joined: 2010-07-09

Thanks. Of course we both know that isn't exactly rocket science, but a layering of common sense. In our business if you can layer common sense, and do it long enough, you might just accidentally be a success... I'm always observing business I spend money at. It's amazing how poorly the typical business executes even the most simple or fundamental aspects of their business plan. Then, you find some business that simply does what they say, and you think they're awesome. The trick, is to just do what you are supposed to do, or say you're going to do. Of all the really great brokers I know, that is how they do it, whether it is conscious or subconsciously done.  For newbies, it's pretty interesting that seemingly no matter how much money my clients lost during 2002 or 08/09, that isn't what made a good client leave, it was failure to execute customer service or operations that harmed us. All my big hitter colleauges and I have discussed that over the last 10 yrs, so it isn't just me.

Times7's picture
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Joined: 2010-10-26

I like "layering of common sense."I got into this business almost two decades ago so I could make money, be a professional, and be with my kids while they are growing up. During that time, I have seen superstars rise and shine and others flame out. Advisors screw advisors, others build nice practices and be good citizens. You have to think for yourself and go with your instincts - doing what is right for clients and yourself. There are no shortcuts, but a strong effort at the beginning will give you a lot of freedom later on.I work to live, (don't live to work)  but I could see myself starting a new career now that my kids are grown. This profession has been good to me, but life is short and there is so much to be experienced!What is really cool is when you don't have to or want to prospect any more. You are a true professional, and people come to you by word of mouth, because you are a good planner. That's what makes it hard to leave, only professionals get that level of respect. Try to be proactive with learning and talking to your clients, and that will happen. For sure it is about execution. Who doesn't want to pay a little more and work with consistently nice people who appreciate the business? Those are the kind of referrals that never leave, it has nothing to do with investment performance, which can be average.

SuperMan's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-18

What kind of client "touch" protocols do you have built into your practices?  How do you make sure they are stuck to you?

BigFirepower's picture
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Joined: 2010-07-09

Super, if you're asking me, here are a few things we do.We have a formal/written approach to initial meetings with prospects. We have a formal and written approach to client presentations and account reviews. That written product makes sure that we do what we say, and covers what I believe are all the bases of being a good advisor based on the type of clitents we serve, which are mostly retired folks of mid to high net worth. Right now we have an annual client appreciation evening, and then we use act to make sure we call and meet with people on a regular basis. This entire approach is made much, much more simple for the fact that we went from 1100 households, to 100. My partner and I sit down quite frequently, and plan out the next quarter of business. We think about who has money, who has not been in the office for a while, and we analyze the markets and the positions we have. Like  you and all other financial pros that have done this a while, we have an internal system that also gives us feedback. We know deep in our hearts when we are doing a good job, or not. Right now I'm very pleased and proud of our operation, and I'm also very clear and focused on what our future will be, and what it will NOT be. Avoiding the failed business practices of my past, or what I've seen in others is probably just as important as knowing what I should do.  

Times7's picture
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Joined: 2010-10-26

Focus on relationship building, and good things will come.

repgirlnj's picture
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Joined: 2009-11-18

Bigfirepower, ur words are encouraging regarding servicing clients.  Some times I feel that their are clients who take the extra effort step for granted.  I guess if i had to categorized the clients who take things for granted it could the ones who have less than $250K.Is it safe to say that clients who have investable assets of a certain number, want exceptional?  Any ideas guys... 

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