Prospecting: the definition of insanity
By Bob Wilgus
From a quote attributed to Albert Einstein, the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." The title of this article holds true when prospecting, for both successful and struggling advisors.
For successful advisors: If they always do what they always did, they always get what they always got — a perpetual flow of prospects to see every single month of the year.
For struggling advisors: If they always do what they always did, they always get what they always got — feeling frustrated, looking at empty appointment calendars, and under constant pressure to close the few prospects they do see.
I’ve been in the financial services industry for almost 25 years. If there’s one thing that continues to amaze me, it’s how so many financial advisors struggle with lead generation, prospecting and marketing.
Every year, financial professionals are surveyed, and prospecting tops the list of biggest challenges or concerns. And every year, I sit back in my chair, scratch my head and say out loud, “Why?”
There are several lead generation programs, like seminar marketing and direct mail, which have been working for decades. They are proven and effective ways to present your value proposition and services to a specific, targeted group of prospects. If done correctly and consistently (and I’ve seen the proof of this for the last 13 years), direct marketing is the best way to generate a constant flow of prospects — every month.
Now, I know times have changed. Rapid growth of the Internet and social media has added a new layer to the marketing mix. While an active presence on social media and an optimized Web page are now critical parts of a successful financial practice, these strategies have one major weakness when compared to direct mail: There are no financial “filters” on the World Wide Web. Yes, prospects can read an email you send them. They can search (and hopefully) find you when they do a Google search for a financial advisor. They can even like and follow you on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. But I have yet to see these platforms filter by financial group — by whether they have money to invest, or to buy a life insurance or annuity product. That means when you do get an Internet-generated lead, you (or a staff member specially trained to manage these types of leads) will have to pre-qualify each prospect.
With direct mail, you can target your message and offer to a specific demographic profile: age, household income, zip code, income-producing asset, and dozens of other “selects.” Does this profile guarantee that this prospect will buy from you? Nope. Do you know a lot more about them, demographically, than an Internet-generated lead? Absolutely!
Having an active social media and Web presence is still critical along with direct mail, because most of the prospects will Google you before they respond — so don’t abandon social media and your website all together.
Why do so many financial advisors struggle with generating leads?
There are several ancillary reasons, but in my experience, the primary reason is that generating leads costs money.
Marketing is an investment, not an expense. If you ask advisors who have been consistently successful and have a growing practice, they will have one thing in common when it comes to marketing and lead generation: They invest money every month to make sure they have a consistent flow of prospects. They might have different models, but they understand that there’s a direct correlation between their firm’s success and consistently funding their marketing and lead generation plan.
The new year is quickly approaching. This is a great opportunity to adopt a new mindset about marketing, prospecting and lead generation. Ask yourself this final question: A year from today, which definition of insanity would you want applied to your firm? Then go make it happen.
Where do your prospecting letters end up?
The only way that direct mail actually works
Direct mail or email: Which prospecting method is right for you?