How to build from scratch...

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tsaem's picture
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Joined: 2006-08-17

Well, the title is self explanitory.  I am building my book from scratch and looking to build a fortress with only a bag of bricks.  I am a rookie and trying to beat the odds against me and have been surviving so far. 
Since I have been in production (7 mo.) I am the only survivor of the new hirings.  They have fired about 13 guys in this span of time who are both young and very experienced in branch office with about 30 advisors on the roster.
As I have mentioned in previous posts a while back, I have only been prospecting through cold calling residential households.  I used to go onto this board and learn about all the creative ways to prospect like give seminars, join groups, affliliations, yada yada yada.  But at this point there is a clock ticking over my head and don't have the luxury of time or $$$ to facilitate these events.  In fact, I have witnessed young advisors in my office who perished in the line of duty because they spent all their time on building these seminars and utterly failing b/c no one showed up.
So beyond everything I mentioned, the only way I think I can be in the office to do productive prospecting is by adding a dimension of cold calling businesses and asking for referrals from my current client base.  Can someone give me an idea of how you would approach both scenarios?  How would you cold call a business... pitch a product or just offer services?  Can you give an example? 
As far as asking for referrals, you have to keep in mind that since I am new this is a fresh relationship.  Consequently, I don't think I merit a referral yet because I haven't been with them long enough for them to judge me based on the performance of their portfolios or my service.  I want to know how you guys get referrals from new clients?  Lastly, if there is something that could compliment what I have mentioned, I will be extremely open to hear what you have to say.  Thanks!

AllREIT's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-16

tsaem wrote:As far as asking for referrals, you have to keep in
mind that since I am new this is a fresh relationship. 
Consequently, I don't think I merit a referral yet because I haven't
been with them long enough for them to judge me based on the
performance of their portfolios or my service.  I want to know how
you guys get referrals from new clients?  Lastly, if there is
something that could compliment what I have mentioned, I will be
extremely open to hear what you have to say.  Thanks!

Ask if you can takeover some of the accounts of the departed brokers. Fastest way to build AUM out there.

Sounds like your joint is too short sighted to collect the fruitage from longer term marketing.

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

As far as asking for referrals, you have to keep in mind that since I am new this is a fresh relationship.  Consequently, I don't think I merit a referral yet because I haven't been with them long enough for them to judge me based on the performance of their portfolios or my service.  I want to know how you guys get referrals from new clients? 
This attitude is going to doom you.  Your attitude must become, "I must get paid for my time."  This means that you need referrals even when someone doesn't become your client. 
Most people fail in this business.  Most people don't ask for referrals until someone is a good client.  The easiest people to work with are referrals.  Stop being like the failures.
You should be getting referrals at the very first meeting...even if the meeting sucks and you have no chance of getting the person as a client.  Here's one example of many ways to do this:
Let's assume that you have a 1st meeting with Joe Attorney in his law firm. 
Joe: Thanks for your time, but I'm really happy with using my brother-in-law.
Tsaem: I understand.  Relationships are important.  I'd simply like the ability to stay in touch with you.
Joe: That's fine.
Tsaem: There are three other attorneys in your firm who I will be calling in the next couple of weeks.  Tony Campbell, Mary Jones, and Fred Jones.  Do you know them pretty well?
Joe: Blah, Blah, Blah....but, I don't really know Fred.
Tsaem:  That's great.  When I call Tony and Mary, would I be able to tell them that you spoke highly of them.
Joe:  Sure.
Tsaem:  My clientelle is really made up of a lot of attorneys, but I'm trying to network with some CPA's.  Do you have a CPA who use?
Joe: David Hissom from Hissom and Wissom.
Tsaem:  Would you have any objection to me using your name when I call David?
Joe: No problem.
Tsaem, thanks for your time.  I'll continue to stay in touch.  Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns or if you simply need a second opinion.
You now have 3 referrals.  The key is to have names that you can feed to your prospective client.   YOU MUST GET PAID FOR YOUR TIME! 
 
 

AllREIT's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-16

anonymous wrote:This attitude is going to doom you.  Your
attitude must become, "I must get paid for my time."  This means
that you need referrals even when someone doesn't become your
client.

Such agressive referral hunting will annoy your clients. Think MCI's stupid Friends and Family promo's done before DNC.

You need to build credibility before you start hunting for referrals. Otherwise you come across as a greasy salesman.

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

AllREIT wrote:anonymous wrote:This attitude is going to doom you.  Your attitude must become, "I must get paid for my time."  This means that you need referrals even when someone doesn't become your client.Such agressive referral hunting will annoy your clients. Think MCI's stupid Friends and Family promo's done before DNC. You need to build credibility before you start hunting for referrals. Otherwise you come across as a greasy salesman.
What are you talking about? He's not bugging people for friends and family. He's asking for introductions to people who have built THEIR businesses on referrals. Prospects don't want to be cold called, they want to be referred to brokers by people that they trust.

finadvnj's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-17
finadvnj's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-17

Consider aligning with a firm that provides prospective clients to compliment your existing efforts.
Most firms are too ignorant and/or greedy to share their prospective client sources (if they have them); instead, only providing poor 'training' and a telephone to almost insure your failure.

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

Allreit,
Re-read my post and Tsaem's post.  First of all, if he doesn't get referrals today, he is out of business.  Secondly, I am talking about getting referrals from perfect strangers who are not clients and may never become one.
One side benefit of this is that if one the people who you got "referred" to becomes a client, you dramatically increase your chances of getting the original person as one also..

tsaem's picture
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Joined: 2006-08-17

AllREIT wrote: tsaem wrote:
As far as asking for referrals, you have to keep in mind that since I am new this is a fresh relationship.  Consequently, I don't think I merit a referral yet because I haven't been with them long enough for them to judge me based on the performance of their portfolios or my service.  I want to know how you guys get referrals from new clients?  Lastly, if there is something that could compliment what I have mentioned, I will be extremely open to hear what you have to say.  Thanks!
Ask if you can takeover some of the accounts of the departed brokers. Fastest way to build AUM out there.Sounds like your joint is too short sighted to collect the fruitage from longer term marketing.
I have already had active or "dead" accounts already thrown onto my plate, but unfortunately I ultimately find out that they're just scraps. 
Normally when departing or fired advisors leave it seems that either my managers or the seasoned vets get the juicy accounts to work with.  I get a stack of papers of former accounts of clients who left ususally because they felt they got burned by the previous advisor or our firm itself.  So in either case, its really hard to stitch up the wounds with a follow up call.  As far as the live accounts, I have not found any that have more than 10k of bonds or poor performing closed end funds.  So if I fail at getting new money, its hard to move their current postions.
Im sure there's always a possibility of getting a referral or new money from these give ups, but it hasn't really surfaced yet so I don't know how that feels.  Perhaps if I can prove myself down the line I might get a better account handed to me, but we'll have to see...

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

Change your ways today or you won't be around to have any accounts handed to you.

tsaem's picture
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Joined: 2006-08-17

anonymous wrote:
This attitude is going to doom you.  Your attitude must become, "I must get paid for my time."  This means that you need referrals even when someone doesn't become your client. 
Most people fail in this business.  Most people don't ask for referrals until someone is a good client.  The easiest people to work with are referrals.  Stop being like the failures.

Thanks anonymous for the detailed conversation, thats the kind of idea that I wanted to get.  Your right, my heads not right and Im my attitiude isn't the way it should be.  I think Im focusing on how not to fail rather than how to succeed.  But I think a lot of that has to do with the constant layoffs since I've been here.  I've been on the edge and every month they fire and hire someone.  It reinforces the idea that there is no short term or long term job security.
But not to lose focus on the original post, your example was pretty good for clients who are professionals like lawyers, doctors, accountants.  That would be a good angle to get a referral when I call businesses.  But what about my long retired prospects/clients? How would you go about asking a referral from them?  As someone has already mentioned, I really don't want to come off as a greasy salesman and seem pushy.  Because the last thing I want to do is have them avoid my calls because they feel pressured or bothered from me requesting referrals.  Is there a better art to ask for the referral?
Something like:
"My business practice is centered on people at or near the age of retirement.  My typical client is just like you.  Would you know anyone who can use my services?"
I hate the last sentence because usually they'll say, "NO" or "I can't think of anyone."  I know I can respond back and be more aggressive.  But again, I don't want to come off as pushy.
Or something like:
 "The way my business really benefits is from referrals I receive from my clients or other people like yourself.  Can you help me by giving a few names and numbers of people you know that I can introduce myself to? 
Can anyone really pitch me their line that they use that has been working for you?  Giving me the whole dialogue helps great too.  Thanks everyone for your input, everything is extremely appreciated.

OldLady's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-19

Look up the names of your clients' neighbors using a reverse directory, then you can use basically the same script.  Do you know your neighbor, Jim Jones?  Would you mind if I used your name when I contacted him? 

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

Let's understand why the odds are stacked against success for anyone who waits to make someone a client before they get referrals.
Let's say that you go into the business with 100 people whom you know and meet your description of someone you'd willing to meet with you.  From the old Al Granum insurance numbers, 30 of these people will allow you to take a fact finder.  10 of these will become a client.  7-8 will become a client this year and 2-3 in subsequent years.
If you get 5 referrals from each client, you know only have 40 people to call (8 x 5).  Even if you get 10 referrals from every new client, your original 100 is down to 80.  The point is that if you wait to get referrals, you will always be cold calling.  If you are always cold calling, there is a great chance that you won't last long enough in the business to succeed.
Because the last thing I want to do is have them avoid my calls because they feel pressured or bothered from me requesting referrals.
You better start focusing on getting pleasing results instead of pleasing methods (Albert E. Gray: Common Denominator of Success).  Referrals build on themselves.  If you got to these people via referrals, they will understand and expect you to ask them for some.  In fact, it's a good idea to let them know that you'll be asking as part of your approach talk.
OldLady gave you good advice.  Also, you can say things like, "Much of my practice is built by networking with attorney's and CPA's.  Do you think highly of your attorney and CPA?"...."When I call on them, do you have any objection to me mentioning your name and how highly you think of the work that they have done for them?"  (You ask for permission to use the nominator's name, but permission is not asked to call them.)
You may want to put together a large list of questions that you can ask.  "Do you know of anyone who wants to meet with me?", won't cut it.
I like questions such as, "Who is the one person whom you know that really has their act together?  This person is doing very well and you are pretty convinced that they have lots of advisors and absolutely no use for my services."
The absolute bottom line on this is you need to find a way to have more people to call than time to call them...or put your resume together.

BondGuy's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-21

anonymous wrote:
Let's understand why the odds are stacked against success for anyone who waits to make someone a client before they get referrals.
Let's say that you go into the business with 100 people whom you know and meet your description of someone you'd willing to meet with you.  From the old Al Granum insurance numbers, 30 of these people will allow you to take a fact finder.  10 of these will become a client.  7-8 will become a client this year and 2-3 in subsequent years.
If you get 5 referrals from each client, you know only have 40 people to call (8 x 5).  Even if you get 10 referrals from every new client, your original 100 is down to 80.  The point is that if you wait to get referrals, you will always be cold calling.  If you are always cold calling, there is a great chance that you won't last long enough in the business to succeed.
Because the last thing I want to do is have them avoid my calls because they feel pressured or bothered from me requesting referrals.
You better start focusing on getting pleasing results instead of pleasing methods (Albert E. Gray: Common Denominator of Success).  Referrals build on themselves.  If you got to these people via referrals, they will understand and expect you to ask them for some.  In fact, it's a good idea to let them know that you'll be asking as part of your approach talk.
OldLady gave you good advice.  Also, you can say things like, "Much of my practice is built by networking with attorney's and CPA's.  Do you think highly of your attorney and CPA?"...."When I call on them, do you have any objection to me mentioning your name and how highly you think of the work that they have done for them?"  (You ask for permission to use the nominator's name, but permission is not asked to call them.)
You may want to put together a large list of questions that you can ask.  "Do you know of anyone who wants to meet with me?", won't cut it.
I like questions such as, "Who is the one person whom you know that really has their act together?  This person is doing very well and you are pretty convinced that they have lots of advisors and absolutely no use for my services."
The absolute bottom line on this is you need to find a way to have more people to call than time to call them...or put your resume together.

Good stuff!
Also, Bill Cates the referral coach has some good ideas.
www.referralcoach.com
 

BigRed's picture
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Joined: 2007-04-15

tsaem wrote: anonymous wrote:
This attitude is going to doom you.  Your attitude must become, "I must get paid for my time."  This means that you need referrals even when someone doesn't become your client. 
Most people fail in this business.  Most people don't ask for referrals until someone is a good client.  The easiest people to work with are referrals.  Stop being like the failures.

Thanks anonymous for the detailed conversation, thats the kind of idea that I wanted to get.  Your right, my heads not right and Im my attitiude isn't the way it should be.  I think Im focusing on how not to fail rather than how to succeed.  But I think a lot of that has to do with the constant layoffs since I've been here.  I've been on the edge and every month they fire and hire someone.  It reinforces the idea that there is no short term or long term job security.
But not to lose focus on the original post, your example was pretty good for clients who are professionals like lawyers, doctors, accountants.  That would be a good angle to get a referral when I call businesses.  But what about my long retired prospects/clients? How would you go about asking a referral from them?  As someone has already mentioned, I really don't want to come off as a greasy salesman and seem pushy.  Because the last thing I want to do is have them avoid my calls because they feel pressured or bothered from me requesting referrals.  Is there a better art to ask for the referral?
Something like:
"My business practice is centered on people at or near the age of retirement.  My typical client is just like you.  Would you know anyone who can use my services?"
I hate the last sentence because usually they'll say, "NO" or "I can't think of anyone."  I know I can respond back and be more aggressive.  But again, I don't want to come off as pushy.
Or something like:
 "The way my business really benefits is from referrals I receive from my clients or other people like yourself.  Can you help me by giving a few names and numbers of people you know that I can introduce myself to? 
Can anyone really pitch me their line that they use that has been working for you?  Giving me the whole dialogue helps great too.  Thanks everyone for your input, everything is extremely appreciated.

If you are going to use the true Granum referral system, you would say "Who do you know" rather than any answer that can be answered with no. This minor change in language will help you a bit.

AllREIT's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-16

BigRed wrote: If you are going to use the true Granum referral system,
you would say "Who do you know" rather than any answer that can be
answered with no. This minor change in language will help you a
bit.

The best thing to do IMHO mention that you are looking to take on new
clients. Since we usually do a talk held at a local university every
few months, I'll mention if they know anyone like themselves who could
be interested.

I'm still going to plug for the route of furious networking. Keep
meeting people in person, and you will strike gold. Keep cold calling,
and you will keep getting hung up on.

ExPropTrader's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-19

"As I explained at our first meeting, I work from personal introductions, I am going to contact these people...."
Hand them your pre-gathered list of their neighbors, coworkers, etc....
"Do you know anyone on here?"
"Do you mind if I use your name when I contact them?"
 
Classic Granum stuff
 

Closer's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-26

Who do you work for Tsaem?

EDJ to RIA's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-28

ExPropTrader wrote:
"As I explained at our first meeting, I work from personal introductions, I am going to contact these people...."
Hand them your pre-gathered list of their neighbors, coworkers, etc....
"Do you know anyone on here?"
"Do you mind if I use your name when I contact them?"
 
Classic Granum stuff
 

I like setting this up now with an "Expectations" form that I have all new clients sign and date when we open accounts. There's an "advisor" one with my responsibilities and a "Client" one with their responsibilities. "Show up within 10 minutes of appts" " Come with all required docs" are a couple. Then there's "Provided I've given you service, introduce me to everyone you know".
I got this from horses mouth recently and it's been working great. When the client signs off on it they take ownership. I had one guy who looked uncomfortable when signing stop and say "I might only be able to give you 10 or 15 people, is that a problem?"

OldLady's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-19

Another great way to get the best referrals (assuming you have a conference room or meeting room available to you at the office), is to host a small "talk" on a current or "of interest" subject.  30-45 min tops.  Invite your clients but the price of admission is they must bring someone who would be interested in the topic.  Serve cookies & coffee. 
This is one of the best ways to get a referral, because your client is going to introduce them to you in person at your office and you get to make a presentation to them.  This is particularly effective if you can come up with a topic that will make them uncomfortable about their current investments.  This works really well with a small room & crowd, say 10-12.  Half of them are your clients, so you get to help cement your relationship with your clients & the other half are prospects.  You don't need invites, just call your clients & invite them.  Plan far enough ahead and they will have time to invite someone and be able to confirm their spot.  If one seminar fills up, then second a second.

bXpress's picture
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Joined: 2006-10-09

When is the last time you looked at your check book or online statement.  My guess is that you have written a few checks to some local establishments.  Guess what, you are their client, and they want to talk to you.  Start out there, be honest, ask for referrals, or even their business. 

justcheckin's picture
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Joined: 2006-07-21

OldLady, I like your idea.  What topics do you recommend?

OldLady's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-19

justcheckin wrote:OldLady, I like your idea.  What topics do you recommend?
Eh, depends on your product mix and your target group -- "How to increase your investment income" "What to do with Cash"  "How to reduce the taxes on your Social Security income" or you can do products "What you need to know about Long Term Care Insurance"  "How to be a better Tax-Free Income Investor". 
Remember the objective is not to educate but to convice them that they need your help.
 

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