“Should I email her again?” “What if I get the voicemail? Do I leave a message?” “Would a quick text be better?” While this sounds like first date woes, it’s actually one of the most common rejections financial planners experience with prospect marketing: non-response.
Consider this familiar scenario:
You meet with a prospective couple, you connect immediately, and you’re certain they will hire you. When you ask for the sale, (“When can we start?!”) you encounter the Excuse: that reason why they are unable to commit right there on the spot. They dodge the decision, so you let them go. When you call or email to follow-up, you hear nothing. Nada. Zippo. And so you wait and you question, “What should I have done differently? Did I make a mistake?”
I call this uncertain place Prospect Purgatory.
Prospect Purgatory nearly stopped me in my tracks from growing what ultimately became my successful financial planning practice. The passive rejection (ie non-response) from a prospect used to bring me to a halt in my business when I first started. I wasted time and energy spinning in my head making up stories about what went wrong. I was convinced it was my disdain and lack of skill for selling, and I was certain it meant the end of my entrepreneurial endeavor. (“Because if you can’t sell, you’re screwed,” I told myself).
Well, after sulking as a victim for a bit, I took charge of my business again. “I am an expert marketer and skilled at cultivating genuine relationships with people. How would I have handled this for one of the big corporate clients I worked with in my previous career?
The solution: A clearly defined system.
When you have clarity on your follow-up effort, you work the system, follow the rules, and feel confident that you have put in the appropriate amount of effort for that single prospect.
Implement this 4-part system in your practice, and you’ll eliminate the guesswork and keep your momentum strong:
- Flowchart out your current prospect experience. Outline each of the communication touch points that you have from the time a person raises her hand to show interest. Define the purpose of each communication.
- Make sure you clearly explain and communicate the benefits for the prospect prior to the initial meeting (e.g. through a Welcome Kit)
- Know how to handle common objections before you meet so you are prepared in your session.
- Craft the ideal prospect experience. After completing the situation analysis in #1, fill in any communication gaps that would leave you questioning what to do next.
- Set the follow-up rules. Know exactly how many times and in what format you will follow-up and be sure to tell the prospect each time what to expect next from you.
- Note: You do not personally have to do the follow-up; you may utilize technology (automated one-to-one email triggers like Infusionsoft allows) or a team member to handle this responsibility.
- Cultivate the prospect. Keep your non-responders on your communication list. Send your content regularly, and you stay top of mind. You may receive a referral from them down the line or be first on their list when a trigger event occurs in their life.
While that prospect occupies a larger percentage of your mind space, especially following an energetic meeting, remember that she is a busy individual whose life interrupts her as soon as she steps away from you. Your ego may not believe it, but most of time non-response has nothing to do with you. When you accept this truth you can move on and continue to work your system as a productive advisor.