- I stop contacting them and free up my time to focus on generating new prospects and serving my current clients.
- I look for other ways to be referred to them again. When I have a prospect that I know I can help and/or represents a large amount of business for my company, I look for other people to refer me to this prospect again. Many times I've found someone else who knows this prospect and ask them to put a good word in for me. This is often all it takes to get the prospect active again.
- I go for the "no." This is a technique I learned from the late, great sales trainer Dave Sandler. When I have a prospect who keeps putting me off, I say something like, "George, please tell me if I'm wrong, but I'm getting the impression that we may never have the opportunity to do business together. Do you think that's true?"
Sunday, March 6, 2011
JAFP | 8:26 PM | Referral Tips |
Here are 4 more ideas. No magic bullets here, but some sound ideas for you to use.
# 5 - Create a Flow of Value
I believe that a critical element in keeping referral prospects in your pipeline is the concept of "always adding value." We must continue to look for ways to add value to the relationship in various ways. If you aren't looking to add value with each phone call - and even between phone calls - then why are you even contacting them? You can't keep calling them and saying, "Are you ready to meet with me now?" or some similar question.
Most effective prospectors work several contact strategies at the same time. For instance, you might put your prospects on a list to receive your monthly newsletter or weekly financial tips. Electronic methods have their place, but aren't usually enough.
At Referral Coach International, we've created a VIP List of about 200 high level prospects, clients, and Centers of Influence. Every other month we mail (yes, regular mail or sometimes UPS) them something of value. Over the years, we've mailed books, audio CDs, DVDs, reports, lists, etc. (Note, I'm not restricted by the compliance regulations that most of our readers are, but there are many sources for these items that are "compliance friendly.")
I highly recommend you work with your staff, manager, team members, and colleagues to create a matrix of various ways you can drip value to your prospects over time.
# 6 - Set Aside Phone Prospecting Days or Slots
I've found it quite helpful to make appointments with myself to call prospects. I schedule time on my calendar and treat it just like an appointment with a prospect or client. In fact, it really is an appointment with a prospect - a bunch of prospects. When I schedule follow-up calls with various prospects, I try to funnel them into the slots I've already set aside for such calls, whenever possible.
The key here is to truly honor these appointments with yourself. If you have a busy practice, it's easy to get distracted, or allow a little bit of "call reluctance" to interfere with this critical behavior.
#7 - Go for the "No"
While I believe in being professionally persistent with referral prospects, I don't like to beat a dead horse - so to speak. If my prospect shows interest and responds favorably to my continued contact, I remain in touch.
When I have a prospect who seems to have no interest, I usually do one of three things:
Sometimes my prospects say, "Yes" and I'm free to pursue others. And sometimes, my prospect lets me know they are still interested and often reveal new information that allows us to keep the relationship alive.
#8 - Use Events to Connect with Referral Prospects
Over the years, I've run into a few financial professionals who use events as ways to remain in contact with prospects. These events can be educational (value added) or fun (building rapport and trust through social interaction).
For example, Russ is a financial advisor near Houston. Since he's quite adept at generating a steady flow of referral prospects, he always has an "inventory" of prospects he just can't seem to meet with or move the relationship forward. So, he hosts social events (like wine tastings) just for these prospects. No clients allowed - just referral prospects. At his last event, he had 19 referral prospects attend and 7 of them moved forward to become clients. Brilliant!
While I don't have the magic bullet or the perfect formula for you, I hope you found some ideas you can implement.
Remember! Ideas alone do not make you more successful. Acting on ideas makes you more successful.