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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Why Doctors, Lawyers and CPAs Don't Grovel For Business

Professionals don;t need to grovel for business and spend 50% of their time prospecting but I see many financial professionals groveling for business. They call the same prospect back a number of times, they study sales techniques and closing techniques, attend motivational seminars and buy motivational tapes. They attend seminars to learn how to get more referrals from their clients. All this activity to get more clients. Does your doctor do this? Does your CPA do this to get more clients?

So why don't the other professionals work so hard to get more clients? Here's the Zen paradox--they get more clients because they are less covetous of clients. Let me explain.

It's my experience that the average retail financial professional tries to hold onto every piece of business. Instead of introducing their client to a long term care expert, they attempt to learn what they can about long term care, make a half-baked presentation, and don't get the sale. Or they have a client that says, "My company needs a 401k plan--can you help me?" "No problem," says the advisor, thinking they will need to read a book on 401k plans that night.

Notice that doctors and attorneys do not practice the same behavior. They refer business like crazy to each other. They realize that some people specialize in particular areas and they send the business to their peers. For example, when you have a serious ear infection, your general practitioner will send you to an ear, nose and throat specialist. Fortunately, your doctor draws the line on his knowledge and does not attempt to exceed his expertise. Similarly, a business attorney will refer you to an estate planning attorney to have a trust prepared.

Financial professionals however, are often short-sighted, want to keep all the business for themselves and rarely refer business to a peer. In other words, people in financial services are plagued with a scarcity mentality.

The scarcity mentality makes them afraid that they do not know where the next client will come from so they need to do all the business with a prospect in hand. So financial producers subscribe to edicts such as

· Don't leave until you are told "no" six times
· Be persistent
· Try the alternate choice close

Until we cease the scarcity mentality and stop these sales tactics, the public will not consider stockbrokers and insurance agents professionals. Financial producers do NOT share the same public stature as doctors and attorneys and will not until they start treating their peers as colleagues rather than competitors.

So what can you do? Get into relationships with other professionals whose expertise complements your own. Make sure they also share the mentality that "we can all make more by making the pie bigger" rather than worrying how to carve up a pie of fixed size.