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Prospecting: The Devil and the Angel on Your Shoulder


Every financial professional needs a strategy to bring in new business. 

Although there are many ways to do it, prospecting is usually everyone’s least liked activity.  Many advisors come up with logical reasons why “This isn’t the right time.”  That’s the devil on your shoulder.  Other advisors hear the angel on their shoulder explaining why this is the perfect opportunity.  Let’s look at both.


Devil:  It’s January 2nd.  I’ve got a new set of goals.  They are so much tougher that last year’s.  Besides, I’ve got all of my client’s money already.  I don’t know what I’ll do, but sitting around and complaining feels good.  After the annual bonuses are paid, maybe some of the other advisors will jump ship.  Reassignments!

Angel:  It’s January 2nd.  People make resolutions.  They are willing to make changes.  This is the time to do annual reviews.  I’ll suggest some ideas, ask if they have money or assets held away that they can bring in.   


Devil:  It’s too dark and too cold to do anything.  I think I understand why bears hibernate in the winter.  I’m going to book that ski holiday my friends are talking about.  Besides, clients won’t be around. Isn’t this when schools have winter break?

Angel:  It’s too dark and cold to do anything.  This means my clients and prospects will probably be home.  They will probably appreciate the distraction.


Devil:  Ash Wednesday is March 6th!  Mardi Gras!  I’ve always wanted to visit New Orleans!  Even if I can’t go, there must be some Mardi Gras parties around here.  I’ll make some calls.

Angel:  Spring starts on March 20th.  The weather is improving.  Home improvement stores have already got BBQ grills and outdoor furniture on display.  Spring is a time of regrowth.  I think I’ll talk to some clients about growth investing.


Devil:  It’s tax season.  I’m certainly not calling any accountants.  They are too busy.  Everyone else is sore about how much they owe in taxes under the new rules.  I don’t want to upset them further.

Angel:  It’s tax season.  If they just filed their taxes, there may be a refund on the way.  If their taxes went up, they will probably want to do something different this year.  I wonder what their accountant said?  I’ll call my clients and ask them.


Devil:  May 5th!  Cinco de Mayo!  Did somebody mention tequila?  Another reason to party.  I’m certainly not calling anyone now.  Property taxes will be due soon.  Clients finally realized they can’t deduct as much as they did last year.  There are some pretty angry people out there! 

Angel:  Mother’s Day falls on Sunday the 13th.  Every client I’ve got has a mother.  I wonder how they are celebrating the holiday?  That’s a good conversation starter.  It’s better than mentioning property taxes.


Devil:  Graduations and weddings.  Clients with kids wearing a gown or tying the knot will have enough on their mind.  They won’t want to hear from me.

Angel:  I wonder which clients have children graduating this year?  I think I’ll call and ask.  I think I’ve got some clients planning June weddings for their children. I’ll send a card.


Devil:  It’s the start of summer.  The weather is perfect.  I’m going to enjoy these sunny days while we have them, starting with taking a week off around the 4th of July.  My clients are probably on vacation with the kids, now that school’s out.

Angel:  It’s the start of summer.  The town’s got that concert in the park on the 4th.  That’s a good picnic opportunity.  I think I might invite one of two client couples to come with me.  Besides that, the first half of the year is over.  If I offer my clients a midyear review, I bet they will see that as giving good service.  It’s a good time to suggest some new ideas too.


Devil:  Everyone knows August is executive vacation month.  I’ll never get anyone on the phone.  Besides, this is when parents fit in that last holiday with their kids before school starts.  No one will be home.

Angel:  The sun is out.  People will be in a good mood.  We are beyond tax time.  December is four months away.  People will probably be open to new ideas.  At least I can have my appointments in a sidewalk café.

Related: As an Advisor, Are You “The Great Communicator?”


Devil:  School just started.  Parents are getting back into their routines.  Because of all these after school activities, you can’t get anyone on the phone.

Angel:  School just started.  Bet there’s some parents out there who are happy about that.  This might be the time to talk about college planning.


Devil:  October is traditionally an unlucky month for the stock market.  So much volatility!  When the market goes down, they usually take it out on me.  I’m not calling anyone.  I’ll wait until November.  Maybe they don’t open their statements.

Angel:  October is traditionally an unlucky month for the stock market.  Volatility makes clients nervous.  This is a good time for handholding.


Devil:  At least it’s an alternate year in the election cycle.  I thought those robo calls last year would never end.  It completely destroyed cold calling for me.  Is it Thanksgiving already?  I’ll never get anyone on the phone!  Do you know how many Americans travel over the holiday?

Angel:  Is it Thanksgiving already?  I’ve got some good clients with large families.  I bet the clan gathers for the holiday.  Maybe I can invite a client or two out for drinks over the weekend and meet their kids.


Devil:  It’s the holidays!  I’m putting my business into cruise control until January 1st.  Most people will be at holiday parties anyway.  I’ll never get them on the phone.

Angel:  I wonder if my clients know where they stand relative to gains and losses?  It’s time to talk about tax loss selling before we run out of time.

There are always compelling reasons not to work.  Some advisors procrastinate.  Others see everything as an opportunity.  That comes across in their enthusiasm.  People like optimists.

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