The Six Most Costly Words for Your Business

May 6, 2014

by Dan Richards

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Every advisor knows the most dangerous and costly words when it comes to investing – “It’s different this time.”

An email in response to a recent article led me to conclude that there’s another set of words that are just as costly – “We’ve always done it that way.”

“An advisor with poor hygiene”

The email was in response to my article, The Surprising Number One Driver of New Clients, which explains that although referrals still matter when attracting new clients, an advisor’s reputation is equally important.

An email from an advisor challenged the premise of this article:

Maybe I’m a dinosaur stuck in my old-school mindset, but in my view the surprising No. 1 driver of new clients is not referrals, reputation or investment skill. It’s simply the number of new prospects an advisor can get in front of to tell their story.

I would bet on an advisor with lousy marketing, poor hygiene and poor sales skills who somehow manages to get in front of 50 new prospects per year over a “first-class” advisor with 15 prospect meetings per year. The trick is to identify a constant stream of high-net-worth prospects with money in motion. After 16 years, I’m still working on trying to figure that one out.

Is attracting clients a numbers game?

Historically, the conventional view was that attracting clients was all about the numbers. As this advisor suggested, get in front of enough prospects and success will follow. To which I respond: While quantity of interactions is still important, today it’s hard to succeed through sheer effort and numbers alone.

I noticed two stark reminders of this recently. First, I read an article from a sales consultant extolling the “3/3/2 knockout follow-up call process.” Here’s an excerpt from his article:

Make three follow-up attempts to connect with a prospect, spaced three business days apart, with both email and voice mail (two touches). Also, before you leave a message, make multiple attempts at various times of the day to connect with your prospect (i.e., 8:15, 10:20 and 1:00).

You might think this is overkill and too much follow-up in a short time frame. However, it is critical to remember that your prospects receive dozens of calls and hundreds of emails every day. The likelihood of them remembering your email or voice mail three days later is slim.

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