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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Attract the Right Prospects and Make More Sales

Some financial professionals use prospecting methods that produce the wrong prospects (i.e.; bad sales leads). I define a wrong prospect as someone who is not really interested, not qualified or hard to deal with. In essence, someone who wastes your precious time and, if they do become a client, they consume so much of your time that you wish they weren't a client.

You generate these prospects by using unfocused mass marketing models. For example, if you call a list of people over age 65 attempting to obtain long-term care appointments, you are generating the wrong prospects. You have no idea if these people are interested or qualified. So you waste a lot of time cold calling and then meeting people who are not qualified or interested. I call this being a “sales laborer.” You waste large amounts of time on non-revenue-generating activities.

With such prospecting, you begin the relationship by giving the power and control to the prospect. You asked them for an appointment. They can accept or decline and they have the control. You come after them. Wouldn’t you rather they come after you?

Wouldn’t it be smarter if you only met with the interested qualified prospects and spent more of your time in a sales presentation? Wouldn’t it be better if you attracted these interested people to you and practiced as a “sales professional.” Here’s the secret to attracting qualified prospects and interested prospects: set up your marketing so that prospects must indicate their interest before you ever make personal contact. Let them ask for your contact!

Rather than cold call your list, send a well-written, direct response mailer. Even if you get a 1% response to 1,000 items mailed, that’s 10 interested people who took action. They contacted you and requested something of you. You start off in control of the relationship.

When you call them, you qualify them and eliminate half. You get 5 appointments. These are the same 5 appointments you would have gotten with the cold calling, but look how much easier this was. Instead of talking with 1000 people, you talked to 10 people. Instead of meeting with 10 people, you met with 5. You saved maybe 25 hours of your time and spent $500 on postage and mailing. (In other words, had you cold called, you valued your time at $20 an hour for the mailing cost you saved. Is that all you’re worth--$20 an hour)?

Because you now know that you can get more appointments by sending more mailers, you will not be so desperate for every appointment. You can qualify people well and weed out those that have a low probability of becoming a client. You spend your time meeting with the most promising prospects and your close ratio rises because you meet with more qualified prospects.

Or what if you ran an advertisement in the local senior magazine or on the Internet, “Avoid Mistakes in Buying Long-Term Care--Get the Free Guide for Seniors.” You then have a few prospects to call who are interested and motivated. You have saved your time and limited the prospects you deal with to those who take initiative. These are the types of people you want as clients. You do not want people who must always be convinced, which is the type of prospect that is generated with unfocused, mass marketing. Sales laborers spend time with prospects that need convincing. Sales professionals spend time in sales presentations with interested, motivated prospects who take the first step.

Or what about inserting a flyer in the daily newspaper for your next LTC seminar “90% of Seniors Have Inadequate Health Protection.” In our tests, 10,000 inserted flyers (for about $500) generates 25 people to a seminar. You give a presentation to 25 motivated people at one time and then have individual appointments. Seminars make super-efficient use of your time (you give the same presentation at once to 25 or more people) and super effective use of your time (you are speaking to motivated prospects). People who attend seminars are very motivated as they need to place the activity on their schedule, get ready and drive to your location.

If cost is the hang-up to pursuing smart marketing as illustrated above, consider that you almost insure that your income will not increase because you waste your selling time on prospecting. Even if you have no money available for marketing, take a $500 loan from your credit card. Not only can you make a many-times return on your investment, but you’ll be motivated to earn and pay off this advance before your credit card statement arrives.

If you, in fact want to be a big producer, a fast method is to invest money into your business, not your time. Your time must be devoted to sales activities and nothing else. It’s the model used by the most successful companies in existence today—invest money up front and grow large and profitable quickly. Invest the money so that your time can be used for appointments with qualified prospects. As a great teacher once said, “You need to put wood in the fireplace first before it gives off any heat.”

If you’ve been tired of prospecting, got burnt out and feel that good prospects are scarce, see how the following principals can be easily applied at Insurance Leads.