Each year, we're always interested to see if a common theme emerges among the material (provided by you, our readers) in our annual 100 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas feature. If anything, it's clear that economic hard times have prompted advisors to take a consumer-focused, back-to-basics approach. And as a gesture to those just getting their feet wet in the financial services business, many of you contributed fresh ideas for a special section devoted to industry "newbies." Read, learn and prosper.
1. Don't give up.
Eighty percent of all sales are made on the fifth through twelfth contact you have with that prospect. Don't just give up after calling three times and leaving voicemails; until they tell you "no," they are still a valuable lead.
- Melissa Johnson
11. The inner circle.
Looking for business? Look to those you already have relationships with. Sometimes, we forget about this circle of contacts and it can be one of the best places to start. Your current networking circle can be a great place to pick up more business whether they are family, friends, fellow parents on your child's sports team, your hair stylist or even a Sunday School class.
- Jennifer Butts
12. How can I help?
Before you discuss any solutions, share with the client who it is that you are, all the areas you can help them and why you have chosen to be an independent insurance agent, versus another career path.
- Wendy Swanson
21. Keep filling and replenishing your pipeline.
You want to make sure that your pipeline is continuously being added to and bumped up with qualified prospects. By always having individuals at different stages of the sales process, you'll consistently have some that are coming through as new business.
- Adrian Miller
22. CMS is A-OK.
We have revamped our website to support a Content Management System, allowing many members of our team to participate in its content.
- Michael Miller
31. Web meeting.
I work with many different associations, many of which have members living all over a state. Web meetings allow me to meet with more people in less time. My clients are busy. A web meeting is very convenient for them.
- Brian M. Johnson
32. Give every call an objective.
Before you dial know what you want the result to be. And don't make it so broad as "close the deal." Instead, it should be something like "when does their ARM reset? Do they have a steady, documentable income stream?"
- Bill Rice
40. Master your marketing.
Marketing on a weekly basis. Put your marketing first and foremost above everything else. The key is to do it on a consistent basis.
- Ed Blazo
41. The sound of music.
I'm a trumpet player. I play short concerts with background tracks for senior groups, and then share financial ideas that pique their interests. They fill out a response card, which also asks if they want to meet with me. I'll usually have 4-8 people that want to. Many times the church or senior center will pay me to play. It works well enough that I don't do seminars and my production is over $8 million.
- Dr. Bill Clark
51. Get to know us.
Hold a "get to know us" wine event. Invite your clients and tell them to bring any friends that they would like to introduce to you, in a nice social setting. We do this every quarter and always get 3-4 referrals that end in sales.
- Mike Strickland
52. On the air.
Invest in radio advertising. It lets people know who you are, what you do and that you are there for them. People will call and they do have interest to see you ... the rest is up to you.
- Stefanos Loisou
61. Talk tax, gain trust.
Without question, implement a tax-based business model, or at least partner with someone who can help fill that void. You'd be amazed at the amount of people who automatically place trust in you.
- William E. Spar
62. A link in the chain.
LinkedIn-connect with people you know, which will then lead to new connections to market yourself along with your business
- Danielle Driscoll
71. Don't abuse or under-use technology.
Many salespeople hurt themselves by being on either end of a delicate spectrum. They're either the people attached to their inbox or terrified of it. Technology is a tool to be used alongside human interaction--never in place of it. To the apprehensive salespeople who have yet to set up a Twitter page, consider taking a night class at your local community center to catch up or talking with your technologically savvy peers.
- Kerry Johnson
Four Tips to Help You Thrive in Tough Times
81. Centers of influence.
Establish a centers-of-influence triangle and focus your energy in those areas. Perhaps it's professional advisors, associations and small businesses. By focusing your time in specific areas, you won't spread yourself too thin. If one center of influence isn't panning out, swap it with a new one.
- Brian M. Johnson
82. Make hot calls.
You need hot calls. To get them, make a list of everyone you know--prime sources for referrals. Prioritize the list with the names of people you know best at the top. Then, set a goal to contact at least three people each week to arrange in-person meetings if at all possible.
- Joanne Black
Do the Right Thing
7 ways community service pays you back
91. It builds up your resume.
Volunteering within the market that you serve is an excellent way to add reputable and recognizable experience to your career. When talking to a potential client later, you may be surprised to find common ground in a previous volunteer activity and thus, an immediate personal connection.