Filed Under:Your Practice, Sales Marketing

50 Best Ways to Generate Leads

From talking to advisors, I often hear that "lead generation" is a talent they have, but one in which they could continue to develop. Well, worry no more. Through submissions by our readers and industry leaders, the SMA staff has compiled 50 lead generation tips that can help your practice take off in 2010. Good luck in mining this gold.

1. Strike up a conversation with a stranger. The old fashion way doesn't get much respect or credit, even though it still works in this high tech world, but it's as simple as paying attention to what they are paying attention to, and making a comment or asking a question about it. After all is said and done, people like to do business with friends.
-Anthony Bolden, Bolden & Associates, LLC

2. Build a base. Start with a focused goal of developing your personal brand and recognition: both of which will lead to prospects.
-Adrian Miller, Adrian Miller Sales Training

3. Advertise selectively. Your name and what you are offering will be heard or seen by thousands of individual prospects! Couple this with your involvement in community activities and you will develop immediate recognition. When you speak to people, it will be on a warm, friendly basis.
-Stefanos Loisou, Senior Financial Workshops

4. Advertise aggressively and often. Whether you are advertising through direct mail or e-mail, television or radio ads, the more exposure you have, the more leads you will generate. Be proactive once you generate leads and make sure to follow up to ensure you receive the maximum ROI on your advertising dollar.
-Brody Courtepatte, ALLPRO

5. Call every 90 days. Call every client and prospect at least once ervery three months. The call can be made by your assistant and will help you stay fresh in your client's mind.
-Bill Good, author of "Hot Prospects"

6. Door-to-door flyers. Implementing an idea taken from another industry; the door-to-door concept can be applied to financial services. Simply hire a company who specializes in door-to-door marketing or local college students to deliver flyers promoting your next event. Stay focused and happy selling.
-Matthew J. Neuman, Advisors Excel, LLC

7. Make it personal. Your message needs to touch them personally. It could be a hand-written note or perhaps a picture. Either way, remember: You cannot replace a contact you personally made with one you bought from a list.
-Shak Hill, Lantern Wealth Management

8. Partner with referrals. Telling referrals to call another professional doesn't work well. So I changed the way I handle referrals. I first work with my centers of influence, building a relationship based on trust, and have them understand what I do and how I can help their clients and referrals. I suggest that they ask the individual for permission to have me place the call. So instead of telling the prospect to call me, they say, "I think Barbara Franklin is the person who can help you. We have worked together. May I have your permission to give her your phone number and have her get in touch with you?"
-Barbara Franklin, networking expert

9. Video Marketing is HOT. Videos boost retention by 50 percent over live presentations.
-Allyn Kramer, Kramer Direct

10. Give them something they want. Think about what your audience is looking for. If they want information, make it available; if they're looking for a specific product make sure they know they can come to you to find it.
-Larry Chase, president of Chase Online Marketing Strategies

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11. Target your audience. I have found I am most effective with women. So I developed a plan to do something fun with the women in my database and encourage them to introduce me to their friends. I don't like asking for names during an appointment; instead, I developed the idea of hosting a tea during the birthday month for my women clients. I explain that we are celebrating their birthday and ask them to bring someone who would benefit from meeting with me.
-Barbara Franklin, networking expert

12. Don't use mailing labels. Every letter, fax and e-mail should be personally addressed and never contain "Dear Client."
-Bill Good, author of "Hot Prospects"

13. Just ask. Go back to your current and past clients and ASK for referrals.
-Adrian Miller, Adrian Miller Sales Training

14. Get help from your competitors. Maybe not directly, but take a look at what they're doing. If they're sticking with the same methods, it's probably working. But it's important to take a
long-term view of the competition.
-Larry Chase, president of Chase Online Marketing Strategies

15. Engage in good deeds. Providing community service and gently letting people know what you do can help create leads that can grow a business.
-George Solomon, FSC Securities Corp.

16. Attract the right clients. You already know the type of clients who are right for you. Not just the ones who you qualify by income level or investible assets, but by their willingness to listen, accept advice and collaborate. Spend time attracting your ideal clients and resist sorting through unqualified leads.
-Joanne S. Black, author of "No More Cold Calling"

17. Use a script. Scripting means every key word and key concept is written down. It gives you confidence and mastery over the subject.
-Bill Good, author of "Hot Prospects"

18. Stand out from the crowd. You've got to have an idea and presentation that really stands out from the clutter. To achieve that you've got to test it in small numbers and, when you find something that works, send it out more broadly.
-Maribeth Kuzmeski, Red Zone Marketing

19. Time the lead. One thing to keep in mind is that what appears to be a bad lead may simply be a mistimed lead - one that is too early. A bad lead today may be a good lead 45 or 60 days from now.
-Marc Lankford, Postmark DMS

20. Invest in lead programs and systems. Reduce your need for prospecting by investing in systems that take away the hassle and leave you to do what you do best: advise.
-Sonny Waldron, 4InsuranceAgents.com

21. Avoid self-promotion. Make your Web site informational, useful to the lives of clients and prospects, and they'll seek you out when it's time to do some planning.
-Mark Willaman, president of HRMarketer.com

22. Quid pro quo. Entice prospects to leave their contact information in exchange for the information you are providing and your Web site will drive leads.
-Mark Willaman, president of HRMarketer.com

23. Make newsletters professional. Send a newsletter, but only if you also send a cover letter. Otherwise, most won't get read.
-Bill Good, author of "Hot Prospects"

24. Use co-registration. Internet leads also can be attained through co-registration, where a senior may be looking for elderly housing, for example. He fills out the elderly housing online form, which then prompts him to check any number of other boxes for products he may have some interest in, such as LTCI or annuities.
-Chris Pearson, president of ABCLeads.com

25. Use multiple sources for acquiring leads. Get client referrals, buy lists, send direct mail and conduct seminars. That way, if one stream runs dry the others can make up for it.
-QuotesAuction.com

26. Create your own leads. You can create a lead if you have an understanding of the business issues affecting a client.If a client is looking to retire but has no visible means of doing so, the opportunity is created for someone to offer a solution, converting the lead to a client.
-Karen Compton, A3K Consulting

27. Take a long-term view. Avoid short-sighted marketing plans. We tell investors to have a five- and 10-year horizon with investing, yet most advisors have a 90-day or six-month view of their marketing efforts and whet

28. On the cutting edge. Be alert to what's happening in your business community. Keeping abreast of area as well as national trends with local ramifications can prove to be an effective lead generator or business-development practice.
-Karen Compton, A3K Consulting

29. Build that rep. Advisors should get involved with their local service organizations, but be sure their hearts are in the right place. You've got to become involved to help the group not to help yourself.
-George Solomon, FSC Securities Corp.

30. Stick to a plan. You can find ways to create your own life insurance leads such as using your Web site, through email, doing some telephone calling, and even through referrals of existing customers, but the key is to find a plan and strategy that works for you and to stick to it.
-InsuranceLeadZ.com

31. Maintain an online presence. Become familiar with social media outlets like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Learn how they work,and they'll work for you.
-Adrian Miller, Adrian Miller Sales Training

32. Stop cold calling. It's a total waste of time. Your time. The prospect's time. Research shows it takes 9-12 touches to reach a prospect with a cold call campaign, and you get voicemail 80 percent of the time. In addition, you convert less than 10 percent into clients. Why bother?
-Joanne S. Black, author of "No More Cold Calling"

33. Multiple mailing campaign. Commit to a multiple mailing campaign and stick to it. If an advisor will commit to a program over a long time span, ultimately they will earn a strong return as a result.
-Jorge Villar, Response Mail Express

34. Focus on how you can help. To get immediate action, promote benefits - not features. Tell people what you can do for them rather than how great your product or service is.
-Allyn Kramer, Kramer Direct

35. Don't try to network with everybody. You develop more effective referral partners when you whittle it down to a more manageable number. I focus on quality, not quantity, and concentrate on developing a dozen referral partners to work with.
-Barbara Franklin, networking expert

36. Make your own title. I start and end every presentation with the reminder that I am not an insurance sales-person. I am an insurance educator. I don't sell product, I find care solutions. And I rarely look for the cheapest product but rather the best value proposition for an individual client's needs and circumstances. Then I ask for the referral.
-Bruce Venema, Affordable Insurance Answers.com

37. Make new rules. What works for one advisor may not work for another. Following good advice is wise, but if you follow it too closely, you look just like your competition.
-Larry Chase, president of Chase Online Marketing Strategies

38. Engage your current clients. Talk to your current clients and ask them to introduce you to one or two people they know who fit the profile of your ideal client. Don't leave money on the table. Your current clients are your best source of new business. You just need to ask.
-Joanne S. Black, author of "No More Cold Calling"

39. Build a Web site with leads in mind. A Web site can be a lead-acquisition machine if it is easy to find and use, if it has content applicable to a senior audience and if it is used as part of an ongoing marketing campaign.
-Mark Willaman, president of HRMarketer.com

40. Narrow your expertise. The truth - clients choose the expert. And "the expert" understands their clients' thinking and provides consistent results for others in their field. Narrow your focus and become the expert.
-Joanne S. Black, author of "No More Cold Calling"

41. Stay focused. Don't try to cram more than one message in your mailing. By adding more than one offer, you're forcing your reader to split their attention.
-Larry Chase, president of Chase Online Marketing Strategies

42. Use images wisely. Some e-mail clients hide images by default. If you have important information in your images, it's a good idea to repeat it in text somewhere else in the e-mail.
-Larry Chase, president of Chase Online Marketing Strategies

43. Build your referral business. When you receive a qualified referral, you are pre-sold, have trust and credibility, shorten your sales process, reduce your cost of sales, and gain a new client more than 50 percent of the time. No other lead-generation strategy comes close to these results. Write your referral sales plan with weekly referral goals and a tracking process to measure your referral-selling success.
-Joanne S. Black, author of "No More Cold Calling"

44. Network. Regularly network with related professionals such as Certified Public Accountants, stay active in local business groups and try to get local speaking engagements in front of targeted prospects.
-Shak Hill, Lantern Wealth Management

45. State a number in the title. It's definitive and lets people know each point will be brief and to the point.
-Jeff Dobkin, writer for the Danielle Adams Publishing Company

46. Contact prospects professionally and often. Use the "drip" method, with a series of low-key messages and phone calls designed to keep your name alive between face-to-face contacts.
-Bill Good, author of "Hot Prospects"

47. Be a specialist. Identify what profile you serve or can best serve and make that your template to judge all prospects against for an increased percentage of conversion.
-George Ludwig of GLU Consulting

48. Offer something FREE. While pens and imprinted items are fine, if you can create a special report with a title that everyone "MUST" have, people will call to get it.
-Jeff Dobkin, writer for the Danielle Adams Publishing Company

49. When people call, the ad or postcard worked. That's all it could do it made people call. The rest of closing the sale is up to you.
-Jeff Dobkin, writer for the Danielle Adams Publishing Company

50. Use the 40-40-20 rule. Forty percent of the success of your promotion comes from attacking the right market your list. Forty percent of your success is from the offer the hook that grabs your readers. But only 20 percent of the success depends on the look of your promotion. Don't worry about artistic perfection results are what count.
-Allyn Kramer, Kramer Direct

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