Archive for the 'Getting New Clients' Category



Now! Spend time with your COI’s.

 

Spend 3 hours with your best centers of influence.

A quick lunch is not enough.  Following the theme of going deeper, not wider, really getting to know these people is key to any lasting relationship.

Right now is the time of year for planning.  Planning your relationships is just as, if not more, important than other planning.

You really need to get to know your centers of influence and they REALLY need to get to know you.

Consider this – Do you know your COI’s spouses’ names, the children’s names or where they go to school?  Do you know where your COI’s went to school for that matter?  Do you know if they belong to a church or synagogue?  What their favorite causes or charities are?  What they REALLY care about?  Are their parents living?  Are they dealing with family matters?  Are they happy in their role within the practice?  How do they get paid?  Salary and bonus?  A percentage of profits?  Are they an equity partner or just a profits partner?  Do they have their own assistant?

You get the idea!

Go out and learn about your center of influences just as you would any client.  Take a fact finder.

Go deeper, not wider – It will pay off in a stronger relationship.

Guide – Knowing more about your key centers of influence gives them the comfort of knowing you understand them.  This results in a stronger relationship.

Action item – Call your COI’s now and ask them for some time – Not 20-30 minutes, but an opportunity to get to know each other.

© 2010 The Advisors Center, LLC – All Rights Reserved

Stop the Madness – Fire a Client

 

The two biggest stumbling blocks to high productivity (being in the zone) are stress and lack of confidence.

So I will ask, Do you have a client that calls and when you hear their name or see it on the caller ID, you immediately feel nausea or a pit in your gut?  If you are like most advisors, the answer is YES!

This client is likely a good source of revenue, but a high source of anxiety and energy drain.  You want to like him or her and try to please them, but each time that darn phone rings or that email comes in, you feel sick.

Consider this.  The amount of life force this relationship takes from you and your staff is equal to 7-10 great clients you enjoy.  These wonderful relationships, not to mention family and staff, are suffering as a result.

There IS a solution.  Fire them.  Let them go.  Say goodbye.

Yes, you hate to let the revenue go or admit failure, but fear not, it is for the best.

So how do you do it?  You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feeling or ruin the relationship with a referral source.  But be assured,  the client knows it too.  So here goes…

Depending on how you feel (yes, feel), this can be done by letter or over the phone. 

Here is a sample conversation:

“Joe, I realize that you have found our relationship to be less than satisfactory, which both I and my staff have sensed from your comments and behavior.  I believe that you would be better served by another advisor.  We will cooperate and aid in any manner we can in the transferring of your relationship.  I have appreciated our work together and this decision was not reached without careful consideration.  This is not something I wish to discuss further.  You will need to speak to (insert staff person’s name) to give your instructions where you would like your accounts and/or file sent.  Please hold on and I will turn you over to them now”

Push the hold button and BREATH.  You did it.  Cherish the moment and remember the feeling of stopping the madness.

Guide – The stress of one bad client is equal to the energy it takes to support 10 normal relationships.

Action item – You are a good person.  Free yourself from the oppression and fire this client.  You know who they are.  You will be better off.

© 2010 The Advisors Center, LLC – All Rights Reserved

Top Ten Things to Do in 2010

 

1.  Delegate 10 things that you know you should not be doing.

Nothing will free you up mentally like not doing the “junk” you know you should not be doing.  Just stop!

2.  Fire your nightmare client.

The stress of this account is killing you (perhaps literally).  The energy used to maintain this client is equal to 10 great clients.  Stop hurting yourself and your staff.  If you are not sure which one this is, just ask your staff or spouse.  They will tell you and support the decision.

3.  Treat your staff to a treat.

Practice random acts of kindness.  It feels great and will help everyone be more productive.

4.  Call your top 20 clients and make a non-business only date.

They want to know you.  Visit them at their home, take them out for a meal, invite them to a show, etc. – They really like you.  I call it “go deeper, not wider.”

5.  Spend 3 hours with your best center of influence.

A quick lunch is not enough.  Following the theme of #4 above, really getting to know these people is key to any lasting relationship.

6.  Improve a technology system to make it do what you really need.

Does your CRM system really crank?  Why not!  Spend a few bucks and make it sing.  Find a consultant or some add-ins to help it along.  A great productivity enhancer.

7.  Rework your website and brochure.

Gosh, they get old fast.  Do a short run digital version of the brochure from now on and run fresh ones every 6 months.  Consider purchasing a wide-format color printer and do them in-house.

8.  Redecorate your office.

Yup!  Spruce it up and feel better.  New throw rugs, a fresh coat of paint, and some new wall hangings all help to create a more professional enviroment.

9.  Volunteer.

Giving back somehow, someway gives you a chance to recharge and feel good.  You know you should!

10.  Take time away with your spouse or partner to discuss the direction of your business.

Your loved one is a great sounding board.  They put up with you and listen to you moan all year long.  Sit down, tell them your goals and plans and then shut up and listen.

Guide – Each of these is designed to reduce your stress and enhance productivity.  All proven winners.  Good luck!

Action item – Write these down or print them out.  Post them and knock them off.  Each one stands on its own, so the order does not matter.

© 2010 The Advisors Center, LLC – All Rights Reserved

The Rainmaker Dinner

The most successful event in the history of my practice by a long shot?

The Rainmaker dinner!

What is the Rainmaker dinner?

This annual event brings together 7 to 9 professional advisors that you have worked with or want to work with for a private dinner.

  • Identify the attendees – These are the best advisors:  CPAs, Enrolled Agents, Attorneys, etc.
  • Secure a venue.  This would be a private dining room in a nice restaurant.  The seating should be a rectangular table (not round) like your dining room table at home, so everyone can talk with everyone.
  • Identify an outside guest speaker (maybe) – As a newer advisor, you may want to bring in a speaker to talk about a topic your guests would find interesting in the area of practice management or business building.
  • Personally invite each guest with a phone call and explain to them this unique networking opportunity to meet with you and some peers to discuss some ideas.
  • If possible, order dinner in advance as it only takes away from your time together – Give each attendee the choice of a seafood, beef, chicken or vegetarian entrée.  Salads and desserts can be standard.
  • Gather about 6pm for drinks but make sure your server insists that you be seated by 6:30 sharp.  Engage the staff in helping get the group seated.
  • Thank all for being there.  Go around the room and ask the guests to introduce themselves, the name of the firm and their specialty (or ideal client!)
  • After salads are served, ask your speaker to engage the group casually in the topic for the evening.
  • Again after dessert, thank your entire party for their participation in your practice and for coming this evening.
  • Make sure a credit card has already been filed with the restaurant so there is no need to pay as dinner ends.

Be sure and follow up within 48 hours with each guest to set an appointment to discuss the concepts that were brought up over dinner.

This dinner is virtually guaranteed to add value to your relationships!

Guide – Bringing together peer advisors over dinner leads to great comradery and is valuable for all as a cross networking opportunity.

Action item – Set up your rainmaker dinner as soon as possible.  It is really worth it.

© 2009 The Advisors Center, LLC – All Rights Reserved

Don’t Talk! or Please Listen?

Most advisors spend too much time talking and not enough time listening?

True or False?

Of course the answer is… It depends.

Some recent examples I have experienced:

I was teaching a workshop of 16 advisors and one young man did not find it necessary to listen but found it acceptable to chat throughout the entire workshop to his friend. I am thinking that this was not a worthwhile meeting for him because he certainly did not listen to what I had to say. It would lead me to believe that this same advisor has a hard time listening to his clients or prospects. He wondered why he wasn’t closing!

I met a recently widowed woman who came in with a trusted friend. I asked “How can I help”? She then spent the next two meetings telling me her story, how the other advisors told her what to do and what she needed. At the end of the second meeting I asked if she would like to be a client and she said “Yes, because you listened”.

Now without citing lots of statistics, we know that most people like to talk about themselves and do not like to listen to stories about others. I would suggest that advisors who spend the time to listen will develop deeper and more meaningful relationships with their clients and prospects.

A deeper relationship will mean more loyalty. More loyalty means better retention and better retention leads to higher profitability.

Think of it this way, how would you feel if the doctor gave you the prescription without listening to you first?

Guide – Allow people to tell their story and how you can help them. If you ask them, they will usually tell you if you let them.

Action item – Try to spend much more time being an active listener. Really pay attention and take notes. Let them know you are listening and most importantly, don’t interrupt – It’s rude.

© 2009 The Advisors Center, LLC – All Rights Reserved

Presentation Presentation

 

How do you present your presentation?

Back to basics.

Many have made presentations over the years but, putting content aside for now, how do yours look?

Here are some common methodologies:

  • Stapled
  • Paper Clipped
  • Laminated
  • Clear Folder
  • Manilla Folder
  • Colored folder
  • Colored Pocket Folder
  • Custom Folder
  • Three Ring Binder
  • Three Ring Binder with clear Jacket for inserts
  • Custom Three Ring Binder
  • Bound in house with:
    • Plastic Comb Binders – Black
    • Plastic Comb Binders – Color Matched
    • Wire Binding
    • Velobind
    • Thermo Binding

I realized there are significant cost differences between these methods.  Here are my minimum guidelines:

Colored Pocket Folders that coordinate with your letterhead – Customized by the local print shop with your logo. Solid color folders that are printed with a single color ink should cost under $1 each – You ARE worth it!

GBC Binding Machine with Comb bindings – Purchased from Staples or Office Depot, prices start at $200 with colored combs at $10 per box.  You can use clear transparencies as covers to get started with letterhead underneath.

These two additions to your supply closet will make your presentations look substantial and presentable.

Guide – Present every presentation as if it was being shown to your largest prospect ever.  It might be!

Action item – Purchase the materials you need, folders and a binding machine, to create a minimum level of professionalism.

© 2009 The Advisors Center, LLC – All Rights Reserved

Develop Your Niche! Where do you Start?

 

You have heard this before! Develop a niche.

Become an expert and service that niche!

Right? So where do you start?

Start with this exercise:

First, write down the names of your five FAVORITE clients. These are not necessarily your five biggest (but they could be), but are the five your really like. Whenever they call, you are happy to talk to them. None of these folks should give you that electric probe to the gut feeling…

Now look a the list carefully.

Write down anything and everything these five have in common–age, occupation, geography, hair color, type of car, favorite football team, risk tolerance, goals, whatever.

You may likely see some things in common.  These are the clients you are passionate about.  These are the type of clients that may have caused you to become an advisor in the place.

A pattern may be emerging! 

Now start a second list.

Write down how you came to know each of these great clients. How were they acquired? Who referred them?

Perhaps another pattern?

This may be the beginning of your niche. Try to become an expert in the needs of these people.

Want to serve more of them? Sure!  Let these clients and all your referral sources know that you’d like more new clients just like these!

Guide – Developing a niche gives you the satisfaction to fuel your passion.

Action Item – Let your niche be known and become even more of an expert to those people you love.

© 2009 The Advisors Center, LLC – All Rights Reserved

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