Quality over quantity?

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Financiallady's picture
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Joined: 2008-04-07

I know I will probably get a million responses telling me I am a slacker...but I wonder if there is any merit in quality over quantity when you are beginning your career? I see so much on this board about calling 200 people a day, 25 quality contacts, etc. I think these are good methods, but I am wondering if anyone has had success by pursuing a few key areas of business more strategically towards the beginning of their career? The reason I pose this question is it seems that the accounts I have been able to bring in so far (400K+) have been through pre-existing relationships or through seminars. I have not closed one client over the phone...and that is not for lack of trying. Perhaps because I am in a smaller place I have better luck in person.

snaggletooth's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-13

I don't think this will answer your question, but in a nutshell, it's a numbers game.  It doesn't matter how you do, you just have to do it.  You do want to work your niche and have several prongs in the fire so to speak.  If you can do it without cold calling a ton of numbers, then more power to you.
It is rare, but there are very, very successful people who have built their business purely on striking up conversations in a bar, or at the coffee shop, bookstore, wherever.  It is more difficult, in general, for people to reject you in person versus over the phone. 
 
As far as the accounts you have opened from pre-existing relationships, that is low-hanging fruit and will be dried up before you know it.  If you rely on that, you probably won't be successful.  You can do seminars if you want, but again, it comes down to numbers. 
 
What kind of key areas of business are you thinking about more strategically working?

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

How about quality and quanity?  If pre-existing relationships and seminars are bringing in the assets, keep it up.  Today at 9:00 are you meeting with someone with whom you have a pre-existing relationship?  Are you giving a seminar?  If not, you need to be calling someone or knocking on someone's door/office.
Do you have to put insurance business through the grid?  Do you have high asset hurdles that must be met in the beginning or else you'll be canned?  These are  important questions because  the answers will greatly impact the ways in which you can build your business.    If the answers are "no", it's not too difficult to build a business that is referral based from the very beginning and it can be accomplished in 40 dials a day.

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

Speaking from a wirehouse environment, since it is the only environment i know, if you have those high hurdles, then there is only one thing that matters: how many people are you speaking to a day? If the number is 30 or more, you'll probably be successful. If its lower than that, you'll probably not get to where you need to before your salary runs out, and thats if they dont cut you first.
I also believe that as a rookie, its very helpful to do a lot of cold calling regardless of the perceived results, because its a good way to practice thinking on your feet, and polishing your presentation of your "value proposition"

BondGuy's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-21

The questions is; are you hitting your numbers?
 
If you are, then the question is answered, don't change a thing. OR, do more of the same.
 
However, I've got a feeling you wouldn't be asking if all was well.
 
The getting accounts from pre-existing relationships is troubling. Sooner or later that pool will run dry. What are you doing to continue that referral stream? If your spouse/parents/siblings are the head partners in the largest law or accounting firm in your region you can disregard this advice. Likewise if your father is the CEO of a fortune 500 company. Otherwise, you need to devise a plan to keep milking the referral cash cow.
 
For business planning purposes subtract the pre-existing relationships from your account/aum total. What's left? That's your book. Does it still meet your production goal? If it does then change nothing. If not, you are looking at your future and something needs to change.
 
How are you getting attendees to your seminars? The seminar process incorporates some element of mass marketing, cold calling, direct mail, to get attendees. A less effective method is advertising, but, if that is what you are doing and it's working...
 
The only wrong way to do this business is to sit and do nothing.
 

Financiallady's picture
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Joined: 2008-04-07

I do work for a wirehouse, and there are large hurdles. I haven't been in production very long, so I am trying everything to see what sticks. I have done several seminars that were successful (over 5% close rate), I have good luck asking for referrals (people do not hesitate when I ask them for a referral), I go to networking and community events nearly every night of the week, but when I cold call with no previous introduction I haven't found any success yet. Perhaps I am saying the wrong thing? I guess my anxiety comes from the fact that everyone keeps saying that cold calling is the way to go and I haven't found success there yet. Maybe I just need more practice...

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

Financiallady
When it comes to cold calling, its true when they say "its a numbers game". Human nature does not change over the years but with all the skeptcism on the part of the general public today, what has changed is that its more important than ever if you are going to have success on the phone, is to do a lot of it, consistently.
So it goes back to my original statement - are you talking to 30 people a day?
Or are you calling half heartedly for half an hour a day, or a little more?

Broker24's picture
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Joined: 2006-10-12

If you have opened 400+ accounts already, and since you say you aer fairly new, it seems that you are doing something right.  My recommendation is to continue doing what wroks for you.  If cold calling is just a waste of time, find something else to do that fits your "M.O.".  Do more seminars, ask for more referrals, do a client appreciation dinner, find a niche and try to focus on it, etc.  If you can't find anything to fill your time during the day, then cold-calling may be the right thing to do (other than sitting there surfing the web and posting to RR).  But it sounds like you are doing something right.
 
For awhile, maybe don't focus so much on trying to close on the phone.  SOmetimes desparation comes through.  Instead, intentionally try to AVOID closing on the phone.  Make them "introduction" calls, tell people what you do, that you hold seminars, that you focus on XYZ, etc.  But DON'T go for the sale or the appointment.  It's a little reverse psychology trick that someone taught me when things are not working.  It takes the desparation out of your voice when your sole goal is to just have a nice conversation with 25 people.  This is not how I recommend everyone cold-call, but it can help to get you out of a slump.

Morphius's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-21

broker24, calling people for no reason sounds like a perfect strategy for teen age girls, but not FAs.   If you don't call to close on products or appointments, what do you accomplish to make such a use of your time worthwhile?  

schlemoc's picture
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Joined: 2008-07-11

I can understand where broker24's approach stems from.  You may not be selling someone on an idea over the phone or disqualifying them, but you are making the initial contact.  For someone who is rather inexperienced with cold calling, it will take the pressure off to create a sell.  This focus is more on building the relationship than selling the individual on a certain investment.  Say the individual is interested, you can then call back a second time, confirm, and then set an appointment.  Most of all, it is getting your name out there if you're new.  I equate that approach to door knocking before you can sell at EDJ, yet it may help someone who is inexperienced or in a slump as he said.

apprentice's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-06

It's Quality - but just a lot of it.

norway401's picture
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Joined: 2007-10-16

Financiallady - The members have made some valid points. Ultimately , it is a numbers game and that is what determines your outcome. QUALITY contacts in large quantities.
You don't want to end up six months down the road with a very empty contact list. It is good to have success in the early stages BUT you need successes at six months and at one year etc. , which brings you right back to the Numbers Game. As time passes you are then better able to determine what is a QUALITY contact.

stokwiz's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-04

You mentioned you haven't closed one account over the phone- That may work well for selling magazine subscriptions but opening accounts over the phone died when the internet was born. Some will argue against this of course, and if you pick up the phone at 5am west coast time and don't stop until 9pm, you may open some accounts.
 
I prefer to spend time putting together lists of qualified prospects to call, use a hook to inspire interest and go for the appointment. Through practice, you'll develop the skill to uncover many opportunities with the people you meet.
 
I almost fell out of the business years ago after  having to have the phone surgically removed from my ear, until someone suggested calling for  appointments instead.
 
If you make 20 contacts per day or 100 per week, you should set 10- 15 appointments and see 8- 10 new people per week.This should translate into 5-8 new accounts per month, with far larger cases as these people have met you. I never work after 5, unless it's reading or case work, which I enjoy. Most days I also enjoy calling, as it's like gardening- planting seeds that you can later sow.
 
Stok

B24's picture
B24
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Joined: 2008-07-08

Morphius wrote:broker24, calling people for no reason sounds like a perfect strategy for teen age girls, but not FAs.   If you don't call to close on products or appointments, what do you accomplish to make such a use of your time worthwhile?  
 
Morph,
My point was, if cold calling is NOT working, then try something else.  If you still want to do some cold calling, then try doing it differently.  My guess, based on his post, was that he was calling with desparation in his voice, begging for a sale.  If he wants to keep doing it, then he needs to change something.  But continuing to call25 people a day with no succes at all is just a waste of time.
 
As I said, it is not something I would recommend for everyone, just a trick I had been told when things are not working well.

Ron 14's picture
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Joined: 2008-07-10

Contact is a term that everyone just tosses around. What is a contact ?
 
You knock on a door, they answer, take info but dont show interest - Contact ?
Cold call, hi i am bob smith with blow financial? Not interested, hang up. Contact?
Small conversation occurs with no real interest - Contact ?
Glad hand at a chamber event to 10 people - contact ?

Indyone's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-30

stokwiz wrote:You mentioned you haven't closed one account over the phone- That may work well for selling magazine subscriptions but opening accounts over the phone died when the internet was born. Some will argue against this of course, and if you pick up the phone at 5am west coast time and don't stop until 9pm, you may open some accounts.
 
I prefer to spend time putting together lists of qualified prospects to call, use a hook to inspire interest and go for the appointment. Through practice, you'll develop the skill to uncover many opportunities with the people you meet.
 
I almost fell out of the business years ago after  having to have the phone surgically removed from my ear, until someone suggested calling for  appointments instead.
 
If you make 20 contacts per day or 100 per week, you should set 10- 15 appointments and see 8- 10 new people per week.This should translate into 5-8 new accounts per month, with far larger cases as these people have met you. I never work after 5, unless it's reading or case work, which I enjoy. Most days I also enjoy calling, as it's like gardening- planting seeds that you can later sow.
 
Stok
 
Man, you just don't post enough here...I love your stuff...

BondGuy's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-21

Contact = the person you are trying to reach answers the phone or door. It is a contact regardless of the outcome of the conversation.

BondGuy's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-21

Indyone wrote:stokwiz wrote:You mentioned you haven't closed one account over the phone- That may work well for selling magazine subscriptions but opening accounts over the phone died when the internet was born. Some will argue against this of course, and if you pick up the phone at 5am west coast time and don't stop until 9pm, you may open some accounts.
 
I prefer to spend time putting together lists of qualified prospects to call, use a hook to inspire interest and go for the appointment. Through practice, you'll develop the skill to uncover many opportunities with the people you meet.
 
I almost fell out of the business years ago after  having to have the phone surgically removed from my ear, until someone suggested calling for  appointments instead.
 
If you make 20 contacts per day or 100 per week, you should set 10- 15 appointments and see 8- 10 new people per week.This should translate into 5-8 new accounts per month, with far larger cases as these people have met you. I never work after 5, unless it's reading or case work, which I enjoy. Most days I also enjoy calling, as it's like gardening- planting seeds that you can later sow.
 
Stok
 
Man, you just don't post enough here...I love your stuff...
 
+1 on Stok not posting enough and on his quality content.

BondGuy's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-21

stokwiz wrote:You mentioned you haven't closed one account over the phone- That may work well for selling magazine subscriptions but opening accounts over the phone died when the internet was born. Some will argue against this of course, and if you pick up the phone at 5am west coast time and don't stop until 9pm, you may open some accounts.
 
I prefer to spend time putting together lists of qualified prospects to call, use a hook to inspire interest and go for the appointment. Through practice, you'll develop the skill to uncover many opportunities with the people you meet.
 
I almost fell out of the business years ago after  having to have the phone surgically removed from my ear, until someone suggested calling for  appointments instead.
 
If you make 20 contacts per day or 100 per week, you should set 10- 15 appointments and see 8- 10 new people per week.This should translate into 5-8 new accounts per month, with far larger cases as these people have met you. I never work after 5, unless it's reading or case work, which I enjoy. Most days I also enjoy calling, as it's like gardening- planting seeds that you can later sow.
 
Stok
 
Stok as you can see from my reply to indy i'm a big fan. You give great advice that all of us can employ to grow our businesses. That said, in our office opening accounts from cold calls, over the phone, is still alive and well. It's a lot tougher than it once was and i'm not saying there aren't other ways to get it done, but it still workin' here. So, not so dead.

stokwiz's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-04

Thanks for the Kudos, Guys!
 
There's alot of noise in the career of a financial advisor. Most of this business is all in our head. Alot of times  we feel like we're being pulled in 20 different directions- Keeping up on the market, tax strategies,investment strategies, selling strategies, hope I close that million dollar account, why did I lose that million dollar account? Wait- It was through the bottom line of prospecting and talking to 20 people a day that we uncovered that opportunity- just imagine how many thousands of opportunities are out there to be uncovered.
 

All comes back to meeting the numbers. I know if I just talk to 20 people a day the numbers always come. Hell, 1/2 the time it seems it doesn't even matter what I say. 
 

I think I've been on this forum for over 12 years, just hit 91 posts. woohoo!
 
Getting back to Financelady's question I would ask what are you saying when you call? Who are you calling? What is your objective? Many times just changing one word in your approach will yield improved results.
 
 
Stok
 
 

norway401's picture
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Joined: 2007-10-16

Simply put - " Very Wise Words , Stok ".

JBrowntown's picture
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Joined: 2007-10-25

Great read

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