7 Ways Prospecting Is Like Dating
NOTE: If you’re a new financial advisor, make sure you check out Your First Year As A Financial Advisor, where I reveal several things every new financial advisor ought to know.
Have you ever sat nervously before the phone, wondering whether or not you should call? Or perhaps you worked hard to get that first appointment/date, but then realized it wasn't a good fit. If so, you’ve likely seen the parallels between prospecting and dating.
Here are seven tips that will either get you ready for love or allow you to get a leg up on your prospecting… I won’t judge.
1. Make sure you’re ready for a relationship.
When it comes to prospecting, you will have much more success if you take the time to qualify yourself first. For financial advisors, licenses and certifications do part of the job. Aside from that, how is your sales process? What type of first impression do you give? A lot of times an initial appointment isn’t set because of a poor first impression, which leads to you losing more business than you realize.
2. Qualify your list of leads.
When prospecting, don’t waste your time trying to reach people who don’t have a need for your product or service. Narrow your list down to your “type” or particular person you’d like to attract. I strongly advocate having a niche.
3. Don’t make it all about you.
Have you ever met people who just can’t stop talking about themselves? Sometimes I catch myself doing it, but I realize that this narcissistic attitude isn’t doing anyone any favors. People on first dates make this mistake all the time, and so do advisors. Even if you have a strong track record, a great company, and an awesome wealth-management process, your prospects are more interested in themselves than they are in you.
When it comes to your first few dates, listen to the other people and engage them in quality conversation. By asking the right questions and getting to know them, you can tailor your approach to match their particular wants/needs.
4. Think abundance.
If you miss out on an opportunity or if a deal falls through, move on to the next one. If you get upset or distressed, the root cause is likely that you don’t have a ton of other opportunities in your pipeline.
Have you ever seen guys trying to pick up girls and fail miserably? It happens approximately every fifteen seconds (I made that up) in every bar across the world. A lot of time, these guys couldn’t get out of their own heads because they lacked an abundance mindset. They treat every girl like she is the last girl on the planet, which makes the guy very nervous. They continuously focus on their own thoughts, worry about what the girl thinks, what to say next, etc. The awkward guy becomes nervous because he is horrified of rejection. He believes that the one “no” he MIGHT hear is the end of the world. This causes him to act awkwardly, which immediately turns the girl off.
Yet, there’s another type of guy. He doesn’t seem nervous – in fact, he’s so nonchalant he almost seems aloof. Of course, he would prefer if the girl was interested in him, but he doesn’t really care. Women seem to flock to that guy.
The difference is that the nervous guy thinks that he lacks opportunity, while the cool guy knows that there is an abundance of opportunity. There will always be another day and another prospect. If you can adopt the same type of thinking in your prospecting, your business will dramatically improve.
5. Improve your skills.
Let’s continue along with our example of the abundance mindset from above. I want to break it down a little more. Just because a guy has the abundance mindset does not mean that he has the skills to accompany it. This is the guy who is terrible with women but doesn’t care. His strategy is a pure numbers game. He believes that twenty women in row might reject him, but eventually some woman will think that his corny pickup lines are “cute” and agree to a date.
In sales, this is the person who uses brute force. “Churn and burn”, you might say. Even though you might offend hundreds of people, you will rarely go hungry. If you’re this type of person, your abundance mindset will make up for your complete lack of skills.
Then there’s another guy – the ladies man. This is the one who has an abundance mindset AND the skills to back it up. He understands that not everyone will like him (and that’s fine), but he takes calibrated social risks that allow him to influence and even predict the outcome of social interactions. In prospecting, this is called improving your sales skills.
6. Don’t forget to follow up.
If you say you’ll call, call. If you send a letter or email to a prospect saying that you’ll follow up with a call, make sure you do it. If you say you’ll do anything, make sure you do it. If you don’t, you will immediately destroy all of your credibility.
You also want to keep following up because the first contact rarely results in a deal… or marriage proposal. In both dating and prospecting, you must nurture your leads.
7. Know when to move on.
There will be a time in any relationship, business or personal, where the relationship no longer serves either of you. If you have prospects who are not moving down your sales funnel, dump them. I personally advocate for following up at least five times, but then making a judgment call after the twelfth contact.
I’ve heard so many “war stories” from financial advisors that sound like this: “I kept following up with a prospect for years until he finally became a client. Hardy-har-har!” Cool story, but can’t you find a better use of your time? I think this goes back to not having an abundance mindset; the people who follow up forever are the ones who are thinking scarcity. If someone isn’t meeting your needs after giving them several chances, move on.
P.S. If you're a financial advisor who wants to get more clients from LinkedIn, make sure you check out How to Get Clients With LinkedIn: How Financial Advisors Can Set Appointments and Convert Prospects With LinkedIn