Prospecting plan

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707SE's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-28

I've reached a point in my prospecting where I need to revise and improve upon what I was doing. Up to this point I have not performed any cold calling because I've been working on contacts that are warm.
My new plan consist of cold calling, cold walking, seminars, introduction mailers with a follow up call. I have a couple questions, hopefully I'll get the insight of a few successful people. Ideally I'd like to hear from successful guys from wirehouses as opposed to bank guys. Anyone who has been successful making real COLD calls i.e. someone who you have no relationship with at all, professional or otherwise.
I plan on cold calling homes in the evening. Regarding this I have two questions:
1. Should I call with a product, or with the goal of introducing myself, inviting the prospect to my office or out for coffee? What should be my goal?
2. If I call with a product, I was thinking of calling using one of many preferred securities my firm co-manages. They usually yield 6.375 - 7%. Or should I come with a muni? High Yield Closed end fund? UIT? I'm not sure what is best for this type of calling, if I choose to go with a product.
The other issue is regarding cold calling in the morning. If I decide to cold call in the morning, I'm focusing on business owners. These individuals I figured would be most intersted in Muni's. A couple questions here:
1. Between what hours should I call businesses and have success reaching the owner? How early is too early? Ball park figure? Is 10:00 too late? Is 7:00am too early?
2. I'm always inclined to want to discuss the companies retirement plan, if any. I don't know why. Anyone had success using this approach as opposed to the product selling on the first call?
I guess I'm skeptical as to the likelihood of someone buying a muni from me on my first attempt at contacting them.
Overall I'm worried about wasting time. While I'm on a non-reducing salary I want to be as productive as possible. By that I mean, I don't want to waste time on activities that aren't producing results - at the very least future opportunities.
I get conflicting direction/opinion from my BM. I have no intention of blaming anyone for any failure except myself, so that is why I'm seeking supplemental direction from guys who have been successful. Any answers to the above questions is appreciated.

707SE's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-28

Shiet,
Almost forgot. I get phone calls from the greasiest dudes trying to sell me leads. My BM has purchased "qualified" leads from them before. All those leads equated too was the "MD" section of my local phone book. All that for $1300.
I know the affluent neighborhoods in my area. I'll eventually cold walk them, but if I'm want to cold call, what is the best way to get the homeowner name/phone numbers for that specific area of homes?

707SE's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-28

Scratch my last post. I just read Drewiski's comments in another thread. great advice that I'll follow.

no idea's picture
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Joined: 2005-11-15

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troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

My opinion is calling homes at any hour is a losing proposition. I did it successfully in 2000, 2001 and 2002 but it was a different environment. I think it might still work if you could get to the right people, but that is hard with the DNC list. Those not on the DNC list are not the people you want to speak with.
Rather than cold calling evenings, I would spend time playing in face to face traffic. Do some networking, unless you live in a rural area, there are always networkng events, chamber events, business card exchanges to go to at night. Do 2 a week.
As far as cold calling, I would focus on businesses. Best time is 8-9/9:30am, lunchtime, and 4-6pm, but anytime works, you just wont get as many hits other times, does not mean you wont get any.
I have called on 401k plans, spent a lot of time doing it. I only closed one plan on a cold call, $2mm, the rest came from referrals, or asking clients for an introduction to theri CFO or 401k plan administrator. When I called on plans, I would just say I am a retirement plan consultant, and I'm calling to ask when was the last time they reviewed their current plan. Then take it from there. More often than not, I would be able to lead the conversation toward their personal investments, outside the plan.
Think about buying company directories. Calling individuals at work makes sense. I've used Elusive Leads. www.elusiveleads.com, or email chadd@elusiveleads.com. I had pretty good experience with them, although havent used them in a few years.
You just need to do a lot of things and do as much of them all as you can. The more people you speak to each day, and the more people you meet each evening, the more money you'll bring in. When your BOM tells you its a numbers game, he is absolutely right, at least in the beginning. Once you have the rocket ship off the ground, you can start thinking abou target markets.
Good luck.  

The Judge's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-06

Some of what I'll say has been said before, though it bears repeating:
- First and foremost it's all about the numbers.  You should be looking to speak with a minimum of 50 new people a day, even more in the beginning.  Weekly results will give you (approx.) 250 contacts/25 prospects/2-3 eventual new accounts.  Monthly totals will be along the lines of 1000 contacts/100 prospects/10 new accounts. Keep up this pace and in about 15 months you should have approx. 125 accounts, as I've allowed for a 3 month ramp-up period.  If your average new household is 200k and you are averaging 1% ROA, you will be generating 250k/year in fees on 25 million in assets.  While this is definitely not easy, it is most certainly achievable if you focus on the necessary daily activities and accomplish them. Keep a daily scorecard and work Saturday (if need be) to complete the weekly goals.
- I would strongly suggest avoiding calling people at home.  I would still say this even if the DNC list didn't exist.  Basically, you should focus on business owners and corporate directories.  In essence, you should be on the phone between 7:30 am until around 6 pm.  Spend 6-7:30 pm updating your records, mailings, research, and planning the next day of which you will arrive at 7 am. Yes, work 1/2 days (12 hours). If it's Friday at 2 pm and you've completed your weekly goals, get the heck out and enjoy life.
- Keep it simple when it comes to product/investment recos.  Find a good fund, know it cold, and pitch it to everyone you speak with.  Muni's/preferred's are also fine.  Qualify for 100k or whatever you are willing to accept.  That said, I like to qualify for higher $ as it allows you to (often) be the rejector and the prospect will be impressed that you are not looking for just anyone to do business with.  Always call with a product; whether you will actually sell that to the person is irrelevant.  You have about twenty seconds to get interest- make it count.
- Ask EVERYONE you speak with if they are looking to retire or change jobs in the near future (rollovers).  Also, inquire about additional/scattered IRA's they might have as it is the easiest $ to move. And it tends to stick once you have it.
- If at all possible, find an idea that requires urgency.  A closed mutual fund that is being opened for two days to new investors; a new offering that is limited in quantity and offering period; a good muni where your firm has little left.  It makes them make a decision one way or the other and allows you to open new accounts faster.  In particular, use these ideas for those prospects who you "know" have a ton of $ elsewhere and you are looking to simply get a seat at the table.  This is where you bypass the account minimum and take whatever to get the new account opened and the client on board. 
- Spend an hour a day elephant hunting after you've been at it for 3 months.  Call CEO's, CFO's, high visibility people.  Yes, often you'll get screened, can't reach, not interested, etc.  So what.  Imagine what one big elephant can do for the forest you are developing. Besides, it's fun.  Really.  It's nice to see your client on CNBC.
- Make it a personal mission to speak to every business owner in your city.  All of them.  You are convinced they need to hear what you have to offer.  Your firm owes this to them as well.  It's up to them whether or not they want to buy.  Still, you are giving them the opportunity that probably no one else is.  This is where falling in love with a product is so valuable and forces you to have the confidence and conviction in what you do.  Crucial to have that conviction and believe that what you do is vital to people's financial well-being. 
- A good prospect is located not created, especially when cold calling/prospecting.  There is no magic list, just effort and numbers that eventually play out.  That's why it always comes back to the daily fundamentals.  You may think of yourself as an advisor, but in reality we are all salespeople/advisors.  You can't/don't advise until you sell something.  Whether it be a product or yourself.  It's all academic until the new account is opened and funds are placed in the account for investment. Then you get to advise.
- The more prospects you have the less important each individual one is.  Very, very important point.  Having a plethora of interested/qualified prospects in a pipeline that you are continually adding to makes your job so much easier and reduces the stress.  It also allows you to be less dependant on each one.  People (i.e. clients/prospects) can smell desperation a mile away and will run like heck as a result. 
More to follow.....

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

707SE,
The fact that you have gone through your warm list and now have no one to meet with is not a good sign.  It means that you have not learned to prospect.   You must find someone to teach you how to do this because you should have been able to get an average of 5 referrals from everyone of your warm contacts despite the fact that most of them did not become clients.
Are you a wirehouse rep?  If so, The Judge, gave you great advice.  If insurance is going to be a significant part of what you do, I'd still follow his advice, but I'd be calling for the sole purpose of setting an appointment.  The difference is that someone doesn't need to have a significant amount of money to invest for you to make good money from insurance sales.  
Ex. Prospect has $50,000 in 401(k) and $10,000 in investment account.  The prospect also can afford to put away $2000/month to accomplish their financial goals.  Your investment idea won't work because they don't have the money.  On the other hand, if you sit down with them, there is probably a decent insurance sale to go along with a small investment sale.  ($10,000 ACAT, $334 going into two Roth IRA, supplemental DI policy on husband, term life on wife, combination term life + whole life on husband= total commission of $4,000 with most not going through a grid + all of the future sales.) 
The bottom line is that during the day, you should be doing nothing but seeing people or fighting to see them regardless of what you are selling.

707SE's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-28

Thank you Judge. I'm going to search for some of your previous post but that was a fantastic summary, one that will get me pointed in the right direction.
Anon - thanks for the advice. The best part was the "bottom line" part.

Broker24's picture
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Joined: 2006-10-12

707-
Hold one dinner a month. Invite some of your best clients or prospects
you have been talking too for some time, or even good friends. But tell
them to bring someone they work with, friends, whatever, that would be
interested in working with you. Make it low pressure and relaxed. Have a
product partner come and pay some. Have your firm pick up some. Keep
it to 10-16 people (5-8 couples). Have it at a nice, but not lavish
restaurant.

I do this every month and get at least 2 clients (couples) out of every
dinner (often more).

Also, try teaching classes. I get several clients out of this. Takes some
time, but just use the financial education program your firm has and it's
pretty easy.

Just a few ideas...

BullBroker's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-26

Great thread guys, one thing that I have been having some success with is calling the classifieds.  Call the guys selling the classic cars, big boats or the vacation home at the lake/beach.  You know these people have money and are probably on the DNC list, but you can call (about their car for sale).  Good hunting

707SE's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-28

BullBroker wrote:Great thread guys, one thing that I have been having some success with is calling the classifieds.  Call the guys selling the classic cars, big boats or the vacation home at the lake/beach.  You know these people have money and are probably on the DNC list, but you can call (about their car for sale).  Good hunting
Interesting idea. Give me an example of how you call regarding their classified then turn it into a prospecting/sales call.

drewski803's picture
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Joined: 2007-05-08

I think not calling residences is a mistake.  I mean ideally you would spend all day calling businesses and hit roughly 60 colds a day.  Problem is, if you're continually doing this (like a new person in my office) it implies that you aren't... getting any appointments. 
If you're doing it successfully you will probably find it difficult to always hit your goal on businesses contacts AND appointments.  Fill that up by calling houses at nights and on the weekends.  Just qualify harder and you will still hit those same execs who screened you at their office.
All this garbage about the DNC list is, just that, garbage.  Don't use it as an excuse.

drewski803's picture
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Joined: 2007-05-08

By the way, if that sounds too 'high and mighty' just know that I use posts like this to motivate myself too. 

BullBroker's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-26

707SE wrote:
BullBroker wrote:Great thread guys, one thing that I have been having some success with is calling the classifieds.  Call the guys selling the classic cars, big boats or the vacation home at the lake/beach.  You know these people have money and are probably on the DNC list, but you can call (about their car for sale).  Good hunting
Interesting idea. Give me an example of how you call regarding their classified then turn it into a prospecting/sales call.

 
Hi Joe Prospect I was calling about your 69' camero you had for sale.  What engine do you have in that?  Original parts?  Mileage?  Is your price firm?  Well I was really looking for (make up something you don't like about it) a 450 horse.  Is this a hobby of yours (making conversation)?  What do you do for a living (qualifying for dollars)?  Oh me???  Well I am a Financial Advisor for (%$#^&%# Firm), I specialize in (retirement/Cash Management/Estate Planning..........).  Do you currently have a financial advisor? 
Just make it conversational, never let on that the goal of your call is prospecting and not what they have to sell.  It sounds chessy, but whatever it takes to get people talking to you.  The majority of the time people are willing to talk to me, only bad thing about it is alot of people spend so much on their hobbies they have not accumulated any capital. 

AllREIT's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-16

drewski803 wrote:All this garbage about the DNC list is, just that, garbage.  Don't use it as an excuse.

https://www.donotcall.gov/Complain/ComplainCheck.aspx

BondGuy's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-21

The Judge wrote:
Some of what I'll say has been said before, though it bears repeating:
- First and foremost it's all about the numbers.  You should be looking to speak with a minimum of 50 new people a day, even more in the beginning.  Weekly results will give you (approx.) 250 contacts/25 prospects/2-3 eventual new accounts.  Monthly totals will be along the lines of 1000 contacts/100 prospects/10 new accounts. Keep up this pace and in about 15 months you should have approx. 125 accounts, as I've allowed for a 3 month ramp-up period.  If your average new household is 200k and you are averaging 1% ROA, you will be generating 250k/year in fees on 25 million in assets.  While this is definitely not easy, it is most certainly achievable if you focus on the necessary daily activities and accomplish them. Keep a daily scorecard and work Saturday (if need be) to complete the weekly goals.
- I would strongly suggest avoiding calling people at home.  I would still say this even if the DNC list didn't exist.  Basically, you should focus on business owners and corporate directories.  In essence, you should be on the phone between 7:30 am until around 6 pm.  Spend 6-7:30 pm updating your records, mailings, research, and planning the next day of which you will arrive at 7 am. Yes, work 1/2 days (12 hours). If it's Friday at 2 pm and you've completed your weekly goals, get the heck out and enjoy life.
- Keep it simple when it comes to product/investment recos.  Find a good fund, know it cold, and pitch it to everyone you speak with.  Muni's/preferred's are also fine.  Qualify for 100k or whatever you are willing to accept.  That said, I like to qualify for higher $ as it allows you to (often) be the rejector and the prospect will be impressed that you are not looking for just anyone to do business with.  Always call with a product; whether you will actually sell that to the person is irrelevant.  You have about twenty seconds to get interest- make it count.
- Ask EVERYONE you speak with if they are looking to retire or change jobs in the near future (rollovers).  Also, inquire about additional/scattered IRA's they might have as it is the easiest $ to move. And it tends to stick once you have it.
- If at all possible, find an idea that requires urgency.  A closed mutual fund that is being opened for two days to new investors; a new offering that is limited in quantity and offering period; a good muni where your firm has little left.  It makes them make a decision one way or the other and allows you to open new accounts faster.  In particular, use these ideas for those prospects who you "know" have a ton of $ elsewhere and you are looking to simply get a seat at the table.  This is where you bypass the account minimum and take whatever to get the new account opened and the client on board. 
- Spend an hour a day elephant hunting after you've been at it for 3 months.  Call CEO's, CFO's, high visibility people.  Yes, often you'll get screened, can't reach, not interested, etc.  So what.  Imagine what one big elephant can do for the forest you are developing. Besides, it's fun.  Really.  It's nice to see your client on CNBC.
- Make it a personal mission to speak to every business owner in your city.  All of them.  You are convinced they need to hear what you have to offer.  Your firm owes this to them as well.  It's up to them whether or not they want to buy.  Still, you are giving them the opportunity that probably no one else is.  This is where falling in love with a product is so valuable and forces you to have the confidence and conviction in what you do.  Crucial to have that conviction and believe that what you do is vital to people's financial well-being. 
- A good prospect is located not created, especially when cold calling/prospecting.  There is no magic list, just effort and numbers that eventually play out.  That's why it always comes back to the daily fundamentals.  You may think of yourself as an advisor, but in reality we are all salespeople/advisors.  You can't/don't advise until you sell something.  Whether it be a product or yourself.  It's all academic until the new account is opened and funds are placed in the account for investment. Then you get to advise.
- The more prospects you have the less important each individual one is.  Very, very important point.  Having a plethora of interested/qualified prospects in a pipeline that you are continually adding to makes your job so much easier and reduces the stress.  It also allows you to be less dependant on each one.  People (i.e. clients/prospects) can smell desperation a mile away and will run like heck as a result. 
More to follow.....

Judge, good stuff!

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