Why Did That Prospect Become a Client?

In our business, no one wants to waste money.  How many times have you heard (or said) “I tried prospecting by doing (x) but stopped because it was costing me money and I wasn’t getting results.”  Being an advisor is a difficult and challenging job.  When we bring a new client on board, we are very possessive.  “She’s mine!  I brought her in.”  There may have been other contributing factors that transformed that prospect into a client.  What are they?

A Few Words about Wasting Time and Money

Why do many new advisors not succeed?  There are many reasons.  The top one is probably not understanding almost 100% of the job is building a clientele from the ground up.  Here’s another big one, I learned from an advisor in Northern California who observed “You can chop down a tree with a hammer.” (Persistence pays off.)  Many advisors try a new prospecting strategy.  They bring it to the point when it’s about to return results, stop short and say:  “I’m not doing this anymore.  It’s costing me money.  I haven’t gotten any business.”  They move onto another prospecting strategy and repeat the process.  They end up putting in place a series of failed prospecting strategies instead of sticking with one, refining it along the way. A manager at my previous firm observed: “You need to touch someone at least six times before you get onto their radar screen.”  Ours is not a “One and done” business.

Ten Contributing Factors That Turn a Prospect into a Client

Let’s assume you have a prospect.  They might have been a lead, walk in or call in.  A company ad on social media might have gotten their attention.  Best of all, you might have found them yourself.  This person might have taken the step from prospect to client because of multiple touches.  Years after I left production, I was approached by a guy (who turned out to be UHNW, the best kind!) while I was pouring drinks at a charity event.  He said “We should get to know each other.  We go to the same Church.  We are both involved at the museum.  We both support this cancer charity.”  Even though I didn’t seek him out, he approached me because of three “touches.” 1. They’ve met you. This is probably the most powerful factor that moved them from prospect to client.  They sat across from you.  Maybe it was a Skype call or a phone call.  Your professionalism, personality and enthusiasm won them over. How:  Make this happen. 2. Visibility of the firm. Years ago, when I was an advisor at large firm, one of the marketing folks explained what they do when they are presenting at an office in an unfamiliar city.  “Look at the skyline.  Find the tallest building.  Out firm will be in it or in the building next to it.”  There’s often a big sign at the top or in the suburbs, at ground level.  This is why firms advertise.  They are building brand recognition. 3. Positive impression of the firm. Everyone has favorites.  You have your favorite car.  Favorite vodka.  Favorite vacation spot.  Companies work hard to build their brand.  Brand recognition is useless if the general opinion is negative.  Your firm wins awards for research, customer satisfaction and best place to work.  These get publicized. 4. Money recycled into the community. Millennials are known for being socially conscious.  They want to do business with firms that are doing good.  The evenings spent raising money onscreen for PBS while wearing company shirts makes an impact.  Sponsoring concerts, fireworks and volunteering on social service projects contributes to the firm’s reputation. 5. Ask friends for recommendations. Although Home Advisor promotes the idea of a service that recommends local pros, most people behave like the characters in the intro: “Hey, know any good contractors?”  Another Northern California advisor asked a new prospect: “Why did you come to me?’  They replied: “I wanted a recommendation for a good advisor.  I asked around.  Yours is the only name that came up twice.” 6. Drip, drip, drip. Early on, when they were still a prospect, you collected contact information.  They get your eNewsletter.  You mail something occasionally.  Maybe you call.  This manual version of “Constant Contact” can reap rewards.  We are still up in Northern California with this story.  The advisor landed a company retirement plan.  “Why did you choose me?”  The guy explained the advisor stayed top of mind by dripping on them. (They used different words.)  “When it was time to make a decision, you were the obvious choice.” 7. Social media. Everyone seems to be connected.  This is a two pronged approach.  You post periodically.  Your firm probably has those “sponsored posts” in your daily feed.  For some reason, you can’t seem to opt out. 8. The raving fan. They don’t even need to be your client!  Most people know at least one person who lives large, seeming to be on vacation all the time.  Your prospect might have asked them for some investing advice.  They said:  “I’ve got a guy who handles all that for me.  He works at (your firm.)  They remember you work there too.  Maybe they just walk through the door and get pointed in your direction. 9. They hear you speak. OK, so that seminar strategy was a bust.  They attended one three months ago.  They didn’t fill out a registration card.  They left early.  They heard you speak and were impressed.  Maybe you spoke at a college alumni luncheon or a service club meeting.  They weren’t ready then.  They are now. 10. Advertising. You run a business card ad in the Church bulletin.  You assume everyone tosses them out unread.  This prospect was told by their accountant they should change the way they invest.  They don’t know where to go.  They remember your ad in the bulletin.  Next week, they don’t throw the bulletin away. There’s probably no instance where all ten points play a part.  The results from your efforts might come months or years later.  Like a recipe for a great tasting dish, there are many ingredients that combine to make that dish a success. Related: Nine Places to Look for Business After Labor Day