Five Steps to Help Make Prospecting a Habit
If your appointment book is full to overflowing then you won’t need to read on. If however like most advisors you don’t have a line of prospects queuing at the door, you need to develop better and more successful processes when it comes to prospecting.
You must begin to see prospecting as your only real priority. It’s the only way you will get more appointments and win more business. You may not like prospecting – many advisors see this as the least favorite part of the job – but don’t let fear of failure prevent you from undertaking this core task.
Here are five steps to help you make prospecting more of a habit and less of a dreaded chore.
#1 – Stop procrastinating!
All too often advisors make themselves busy on other matters – from catching up with the paperwork to overseeing staffing issues. But prospecting is too important to leave for ‘when you have the time’. You must set aside time and become totally organized. Let nothing get in the way of prospecting – there are no more important ‘fires’ to put out during your working day.
#2 – Set prospecting goals
Work backwards in order to find out how many prospects you need to see each week to achieve your goals. If you’re just starting out you will probably have to devote considerably more time to prospecting than if you’re more established. Then allocate enough time each week to ensure you meet this target.
#3 – Put your prospecting hours on a calendar
Having worked out how much time you need to allocate, set aside the required number of hours per day, say from 9 to 11 am.
Now you’re booked in for when you need to get on the phone and reach out to prospects. And don’t let anything get in the way. This applies even if you successfully manage to get several appointments early in the week. Do not rest on your laurels or give up on prospecting for the rest of the week. It’s essential to be consistent if you want to achieve success in prospecting.
Put your prospecting hours on the calendar and stick to your self-given appointments, just as you would a visit to the gym. By doing this, prospecting becomes ‘structured’ time versus something we’ll do when we get around to it. Routine work expands to fill time and we never are about to get around to anything which is unstructured.
#4 – Tell everyone you meet what you do for a living
Tell everyone you meet who you are and what you do. Tell them what you sell and ask them open-ended questions around their finances in order to open up a dialogue. Recent research by Microsoft revealed that in this digital age the human attention span has shortened from 12 to 8 seconds. So – as an exercise to help you get into the prospecting habit – why not learn how to tell someone what you do in 8 seconds? This nugget of information can easily be slipped into a conversation without it being intrusive.
Another way to get more comfortable with prospecting is to spend a day saying hello to people you encounter during the day. This harmless yet friendly gesture will help you to overcome the discomfort and hesitation you may feel when approaching strangers – and will start to make prospecting second nature.
#5 – Never stop working on your prospecting skills
Your soft skills are the backbone to your business and these skills, like all others, can be developed, but only with hours and hours of deliberate practice. As part of your work ethic never stop learning – from mentors and from other successful advisors.
Learn how to make your body language and voice work for you, learn how to tell stories. The more you practice the easier it will be to perform prospecting without a second thought. The better your skills the more natural the process will become, the more confident you will be, and the more success you will achieve via prospecting.
By becoming more organized and developing your soft skills you can make prospecting a habit. Once you’ve developed the habit you will get more appointments, generate more leads and win new clients.