9 Effective Appointment Setting Tips for Financial Advisors
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Do you have to set appointments over the phone? If you have to cold call for appointments, here are a few tips and tricks to improve your appointment setting technique.
1. Call during the “off hours”.
This tip is especially helpful if you’re trying to reach high-level executives or business owners. These people don’t just punch in at nine and leave at five. The gatekeepers do. If you’re trying to get to one of these well-insulated people, try calling early in the morning or later in the evening.
In addition to increasing your effectives, calling during non-peak hours will earn the respect of those you’re trying to reach. Keep in mind, I’m not talking about calling people at home during dinnertime; I’m talking about calling an office, where the person answering the phone will think, “You’re working too?? I like that.” It shows that you are dedicated to your work, your company, and your service. You send the message that you are willing to go the extra mile for your customers.
Several old-school sales books and gurus might give you the advice of calling during lunch. While this sounds like a good idea on paper, it doesn’t pan out in reality. Dr. James Oldroyd at the Kellog School of Management studied more than a million phone calls and found that if you call between 8 and 9 a.m., you have a 164% better chance of reaching people than you do in the afternoon.
2. Use your marketing leads.
I never understood why so many financial advisors would put a lot of money and effort into their marketing, only to never follow up with the people who demonstrate interest.
Case in point: I know an advisor who has a great website. He spent thousands of dollars developing it and getting it to rank high in the search engines for his city/keyword. Think “Financial Advisor Dallas”. He also has a lead-capture form front and center, working for him 24/7. But guess what? Even though people were filling out that form (which he paid for!), he neglected to follow up with them.
You’ll have much greater success setting appointments with prospects who have already interacted with you or your company in one way or another. Make sure you’re following up with everyone who has filled out a contact form. If you offer whitepapers, webinars, or free eBooks, the list of prospects who’ve downloaded this content are prime for follow-up.
By the way, this isn’t limited to internet marketing. Make sure you get the full attendee list of any events you or your company sponsor. Make it easy for people in attendance to fill out a form and express interest in your services. This is one of the best ways to make setting appointments as easy as possible.
3. Realize that it’s going to take more effort than you think.
You must be patient, professional, and persistent. Success is not an event, it’s a process. With that being said, understand that people are busy and you must keep trying to in order to break through the noise.
Appointment setting isn’t just about cold calling, either. It can take as little as one or more than twelve touches to get someone to set an appointment with you. For appointment setting success, I recommend reaching out several times, using a variety of different media. This means direct mail, cold calls, handwritten notes, voicemail, email, social media, and more.
I would much rather think it’s going to take twenty contacts to set an appointment and be pleasantly surprised than think it’s going to take three and be disappointed.
4. Always ask for their time.
I know some of you might disagree with me on this. You think it gives them an opportunity to shut you down. Maybe, but bullying past someone doesn’t exactly set you up for long-term success. If a prospect says he/she is busy, just ask for a good time. If they really aren’t interested, think of it like they’re doing you a favor – you don’t have to waste your time with them!
Being the nerd that I am, I always like to test things. This has been MY personal experience….
When I was making hundreds of cold calls per week, I decided to test these sentences against each other:
I found that out of these six, “Did I reach you at an okay time?” worked the best. “Is now a bad time to talk?” was the least effective, with both of the “did I catch you” statements coming close behind. I’ve always felt that saying “catch you” is weird. It implies trapping and hunting, something that prospects don’t want to hear from you. That’s what originally gave me the idea to start saying “reach you”. Like I said, that has been my own personal experience, so take it with a grain of salt.