There are times when brokers and financial advisors get into a rut. Their sales and income levels start to level off and their ability to garner new clients wanes. But there is good news: there are ways for registered reps to get out of that rut and to revitalize their businesses. This article will examine six key ways to break new ground in your sales efforts.
1. Take a Step Back
Sometimes a rep should just take a step back, assess the situation and try to figure out why his or her sales have plateaued. After all, the problem may be easy to rectify. For example, suppose that a broker realizes that his or her energy level and enthusiasm has waned and that this is reflected in conversations with clients. If this is the case, the solution may be as simple as getting additional rest, or adjusting their schedules to allow them to be more energetic and enthusiastic with clients. The key is that the broker should try to pinpoint exactly what has caused the decrease in sales performance and then determine what action can be used to correct it.
2. Cold Call
Many brokers shy away from cold calling and prospecting once they make it in the business. Let's face it - this aspect of the business isn't always fun. Plus, some brokers think that spending precious time on the phone with folks who may or may not become clients is a waste of time.
However, cold calling is not a waste of time because it covers the broker or advisor if he happens to lose one or more large clients. What would such a broker have to fall back on? As such, it makes sense to replenish the coffers with fresh new leads. That way, if a broker is hit by client attrition in a certain year, he or she will have some potential backup. (For more insight, read Cold Call Without Getting The Cold Shoulder and Alternatives To The Cold Call.)
Where should experienced brokers or advisors begin looking for new clients?
One idea is for the broker to go through his or her "book", ask existing clients for referrals, and then contact those referrals. Keep in mind that referred leads (because they are referred by someone the prospect knows) tend to be more receptive to solicitations. (See Targeting Ideal Customers for additional insight.)
3. Do It Yourself
Some of the larger producing brokers have their assistants make many of their phone calls and do a great deal of the administrative work. For the most part, there's nothing wrong with that. After all, having an assistant can be a great time saver. However, doing at least some of those activities yourself (at least from time-to-time) will likely help bring you more in tune with your client base. You'll learn what your clients are thinking, what their concerns are, what their tendencies are, and how you might be able to improve your overall level of service.
Remember: the more in tune the broker or advisor is with his or her client base, the better the odds of winning repeat business.
4. Make More Frequent Client Contact
Some brokers and advisors that have been in the business for a number of years have so many clients that they have difficulty contacting them with any sort of regularity. However, it's vital that brokers contact their clients just to talk! That's right, just to chat. In other words, to talk about their views on the market, to discuss the client's portfolio, to answer any questions, and to discuss any changes in goals or lifestyle.
Again, brokers and advisors should show their existing clients they care. They should also be willing to call clients out of the blue and strive to improve their service.
5. Network More
Time constraints keep many brokers from getting out of the office and attending networking meetings. However, networking shouldn't be overlooked because it is a terrific way to generate leads. So get out from behind the desk and introduce yourself to local real estate brokers, lawyers, accountants and planners. If possible, set up a cross-referral system and consider joining a local organization such as the Chamber of Commerce or some other group with ties to the community. This can be a great way to kick-start your business.
6. Use Down Time More Efficiently
Let's face it - even the busiest registered reps have some down time during their day. However, rather than kick back and put their feet up on the desk when business is slow, they should consider doing something that will build or solidify their businesses instead. For example, they could use this time to start a client newsletter or doing something else that will help them stand out from all of the other sales folks out there. Again, improving one's service and communications can help bring in new clients and referrals, and thus more commission dollars. (For more on this topic, read Making The Most Out Of Your Day.)
It's not uncommon for advisors and brokers to get into a rut and to see their incomes or commission dwindle. The good news is that there are things that can be done. Over time, keeping the focus on your clients and your business will always aid in achieving solid long-term results.