The Three Most Important Hours for Your Business
November 6, 2012
by Dan Richards
Rocky markets mean that you can’t rely on referrals alone. If you’ve built a significant client base, you want to continue to dedicate the bulk of your time to communicating with them. But for your business to stay healthy, you need to bring in new clients – advisors need to carve out three hours a week to focus on reaching out to prospective clients.
In a recent article, I explained how today’s uncertainty and anxiety among clients makes them vulnerable to approaches by other advisors – and why as a result you will likely lose more clients in the next while than was historically the case.
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I also outlined a short question that will reduce the chances of clients leaving. While that question will reduce the risks of losing clients, it won’t eliminate them. As a result, unless you allocate regular time each week to attracting new clients, your business will shrink.
All advisors put a big focus on prospecting when they enter the business, but with success many shift their attention to serving existing clients. In fact, I’ve had advisors tell me with pride that they no longer prospect and only rely on referrals for new clients.
It’s not just your clients who are anxious and open to talking about alternative courses of action – everyone else’s clients are as well. To capitalize on that, focus three hours a week on three things:
- Identifying prospective clients who you might be able to help;
- Initiating conversations with those clients; and
- Following up after those conversations.
Step one: Identifying prospective clients
The first step is to identify prospective clients who are candidates for you. In a minority of cases, advisors have a healthy pipeline of prospects they’re already talking to – but in most instances advisors have a pipeline that’s small or nonexistent.
I’ve written in the past about turning suspects into prospects. Three things have to happen for someone to be a prospect – you have qualified them in some fashion as meeting your criteria for a good client, the prospect knows what you do, and they have expressed some form of interest in hearing from you.
Here’s who’s not a prospect:
- Names in a membership directory;
- A casual acquaintance at a golf club;
- Someone you talk to from time to time after church, at meetings of your alumni association or a board on which you sit.