Is Cold Calling Still an Effective Prospecting Method for Financial Advisors?
Technology and the ‘no-call’ rules have changed habits when it comes to cold calling. It’s no longer seen as the ‘go-to’ method for prospecting, with social media, the internet and networking often seen as better ways to reach out to new clients.
But there are good reasons why cold calling – when done correctly – is a quality tool and why it should be a necessary and permanent part of your business.
Why advisors don’t like cold calling
Cold calling is challenging. It involves hard work and persistence. It means encroaching into a stranger’s life which is something many advisors find disquieting.
Cold calling means picking up the phone and calling people you don’t know. Every time you pick up the phone you’re aiming to connect with people who will quite likely reject you and your offer, so you need to seriously face down your fear of rejection.
Cold calling is a numbers game. You need to make lots of calls to increase your chances of setting up just one appointment, and because the success rate is not that high it’s often easier to give up. You may have to dial ten people to get one appointment. And for every four appointments you may open just one account (on a good day). That means you may need to make at least 80 calls a day to achieve any real success with cold calling.
So why consider cold calling?
Firstly, always remember the reason you’re calling: It’s to help change someone’s life for the better.
Secondly, I can tell you from experience that the clients you do get will very likely be not only your longest-lasting clients, but your best clients, as well.
And prospects may well welcome your calls.
Many clients are unhappy with their advisors. They want to leave but they don’t want to rock the boat, so they stay where they are. Maybe they’ve been hurt by the market’s decline and their advisor hasn’t been in touch – or maybe they are disappointed by overall poor performance. Whatever the reason for their unease, investors are often on the lookout for another advisor, albeit un-proactively. For this reason, they are likely to be receptive to an approach – even out of the blue – from a friendly, confident professional advisor – because it offers them an easy way out.
Who to call?
Don’t simply use a random list. Obtain pre-qualified lists of prospective clients or create your own lists. Make sure whoever you’re calling is targeted and appropriate.
Pick a particular professional niche. This can stock the odds in your favor. Determine your target market, in terms of age, industry, location and net worth and identify how you can solve that particular client’s problem.
Then impress prospective clients with your ideas.
How to approach cold calling?
When you’re on the phone don’t go for the hard sell. Reveal your area of expertise, be it estate planning or retirement plans. Tell clients about the other people you’ve helped to achieve their goals. Instill potential clients with confidence in your abilities – otherwise they will never agree to meet with you.
You have just a few seconds to establish who you are and why you’re worth talking to – and to identify the client’s needs. Remember you’re not trying to sell a product; you’re trying to arrange an appointment.
Tap into prospects’ potential areas of discontent with existing advisors. Keep pushing out of your comfort zone and figure out a way to advance a conversation.
If you treat your prospects like human beings and approach them without any bravado, cold calling can be a stepping stone to building a valuable long-term relationship.
Set a date to call again or meet to discuss things further – and follow this up.
When you first start out as a financial advisor you won’t have an established client list. You therefore need to use a variety of tactics to attract clients and one such tactic is cold calling. Keep your phone skills sharp by making cold calls. It makes you a better listener and teaches you how to think on your feet. Never underestimate the power of the telephone. You may be surprised to learn how many people still appreciate the human touch in an increasingly impersonal computerized world.