#1 Decide with whom who you want to work.
Do you need to work with clients that reflect your values (as
well being ethical)? Do they represent a broad cross-section of
professionals? Or, are they vertical audiences, including:
• Affluent women or men, including corporate executives?
• Older investors?
• Business owners?
• Recently divorced women?
• People who have experienced sudden liquidity events, such
as inheritors, athletes, or celebrities?
#2 Identify and understand the needs of your target audiences.
Learn to narrow the prospect funnel as much as possible through
referrals, Google/internet searches, and other research sources. If
you step up your efforts within your existing referral network, you
can be sure to find prospects with similar needs to those of your
existing clients, shortening your learning curve.
#3 Identify and communicate your unique value proposition.
What is that you offer they cannot live without? It’s a case of asking
them to identify what they must have now versus what they would
like to consider for the future.
#4 Make prospecting a daily priority by committing the time
using a disciplined strategy.
A key strategy to reaching your business goals is building your
book of business by prospecting and closing:
• Assign 30-40 minutes each morning and schedule 90-minute
time blocks on two afternoons each week dedicated to
prospecting. (Research shows that 90 minutes is the
maximum time to allot to an activity before interest wanes.)
• Set out to make 100 calls each and every month. Phoning
still works as part of larger outreach strategy hand-in-hand
with online marketing and speaking engagements.
• Allot six hours each week to new business development (not
including networking events).
• Conduct weekly reviews of your top 20 prospects and chart
your progress (noting next steps) with each.
#5 Set short term and long-term goals that you can monitor.
Goals may include:
• Number of new qualified prospects identified each week
• Number of first meetings each week
• Number of second meetings each week
• Number of new clients signed each month
#6 Build a pipeline of prospects with whom you want to work.
Building a pipeline of prospects takes time and perseverance,
staying in touch and consistently scanning the news horizons for
information about their industry and company. You must continually
re-enforce your key messages, e.g. the value of diversification and
investing for the long term. You become associated with these
strategies and therefore gradually differentiate yourself from
competitors who are focused on growth by any means.
#7 Keep the pipeline’s attention with useful information.
Newsletters, videos, social media, original or third party articles,
websites, speaking engagements and other tools are great ways
to build your credibility in the eyes of your prospects. It gives you
a chance to show your expertise. When you share materials you
have written or video segments of presentations you’ve made
or panels you’ve chaired, keep in mind your goal of positioning
yourself as a thought leader in your prospects’ space and focusing
on what is vital to them, versus another area in which they have
little or no interest. (They aren’t as concerned about whether or not
you can crack up an audience but whether you have mastery over
your subject matter and can communicate it well.)
#8 Build your presence amid spheres of influence that include
other professionals who could refer you.
Learn strategies to engage professionals in complementary
professions, such as accountants, lawyers, actuaries, insurance
specialists and coaches.
#9 Have a strategy to make the most of your first and
subsequent prospect meetings.
Include progressive steps, for example, first learning about the
prospect’s needs and goals, offering a second opinion on their
current operations and/or portfolio, describing your business
process in a way they can understand and responding with a
proposal that reflects their needs. Be the first to initiate the fee
discussion, whenever possible. If a prospect broaches fees before
you’re even seated at the first meeting, you’ll get a sense of a
difficult preoccupation you’ll need to deftly manage.
#10 Have confidence in your professional abilities.
Realize how far you’ve come. Have you heard the adage about
hearing “no” in the telemarketing industry? The more rejections
a telemarketer collects, the theory goes, the more motivated they
become because they are getting closer to a “yes” or sale. While
telephone follow-up is important (and you may sometimes feel like
a telemarketer as you build connections), it can be demoralizing,
just like creating a customized proposal that the prospect flips
through in a few minutes and never mentions again. Regardless of
your professional success to date, everybody takes an occasional
hit – it is part of business. Being proud of your professional abilities
(but never arrogant) includes:
• Avoiding personalizing decisions that you feel are unfair or
• Holding the quality of your work in high esteem and;
• Looking to your current clients’ loyalty and trust in you as
quantifiable proof of your professional value.
Purposeful prospecting rests on 10 core principles.