Confession time — this article should have been completed two hours ago. Instead, I saw a story on Facebook that mildly interested me; that story led me to an ad that took me to a website and had me in a shopping rabbit hole looking for a new computer. Rinse and repeat!
I don’t even have to ask if you can relate because I’m positive that you can. It’s universal. Whatever your interests are, the volume of information and the number of platforms grow every day. Consider these statistics:
Email – 306.4 billion emails sent every day.
Snapchat – 4 billion snaps posted each day.
TikTok – 1 billion videos viewed daily
Facebook – 350 million posts a day.
Instagram – 95 million photos shared each day.
LinkedIn – 2 million posts daily.
Given the continually growing number of users of each social media platform, it’s an easy leap to suggest that most of you engage in many if not all of these platforms. Information overload is real, and it’s frustrating. So, like a farmer who separates the good wheat from the useless chaff, how do you filter what information matters the most and what content is valuable?
When it comes to growing your business, how do you handle the reverse of this scenario? When you have a prospect list of 5,000, how do you filter through that list to find the wheat, the viable leads? When you’ve landed a face-to-face with this prospect, how do you differentiate yourself from the competition to ultimately land the deal?
Find The Wheat
Taking your prospect list from an unwieldy number to a productive three or four substantial conversations a month with the correct decision-maker would be considered very successful for most insurance and financial professionals in the business-to-business space.
How do you narrow a large pool of prospects to those who are willing to engage with you, who need and would benefit from your services, and who are qualified to act? Many prospects look great on paper; in the sports world, we say they have potential.
Consider this example: The business is producing $5.2 million in annual revenue. There are three owners, two of whom are family. The owners have no succession plan, but they have an established client base. On paper, it looks like a viable lead. In reality, they may not be profitable or even in business in the next 12 months.
Plenty of other factors can make a prospect a bad prospect. Maybe they just changed providers and are still getting used to the new product, company and service. They aren’t prepared to act.
Again, not a prospect today, but maybe in the future.
When it comes to marketing efforts, too many advisors expend either too much effort or not enough. Too much effort not only takes away from serving existing clients, but it also interferes with your ability to expand your expertise. Too little effort does not provide you with opportunities to grow your business and use your knowledge to provide advice that genuinely helps clients.
Separating the wheat from the chaff is a heavy lift. It takes time, hard work, consistency and more hard work. But getting to the valuable clients is worth it.
Are you prepared to take this on in a meaningful way that moves the needle with your sales?
I’ve heard from many advisors that they made this choice and found themselves frustrated. The work is too time-consuming and not the reason the vast majority of advisors get into the business.
Make Sure You Aren’t The Chaff
You’ve found your wheat and have an appointment scheduled at their office. You sit down in the owner’s office, and before either of you says anything, you notice three of your closest competitors’ sales proposals on the shelf behind them. How do you close this deal? Now the roles are reversed. You don’t want them viewing you like chaff, just like the other three on the desk. So how do you stand out just like they did as a prospect to you?
The first piece of advice we all have heard is “Tell them what makes your product different.”
We’re talking about financial tools and insurance products — and the reality is that we all sell the same stuff. The differences sometimes are not even discernible. The next logical strategy is
“Focus on the service we provide.” This doesn’t wash out anymore either. If we aren’t good at servicing our clients, we likely aren’t a successful business, and it’s even more likely we won’t be in business for long.
Now is when the human element can make all of the difference. There are several core approaches people appreciate:
» Be honest and have integrity. Everyone will say they engage with and lead with honesty and integrity. The differentiator is how you go about showing prospects and clients you are genuine about it.
» Be your client’s advocate. Sure, you could lose a sale over a slight difference in premium. But when you can articulate the benefit to your client in a way that doesn’t seem like a sales pitch but expresses genuine interest in protecting their assets, it helps frame the conversation in a very different way. If your clients view you as being “in the trenches” with them, it changes the relationship’s dynamics for everyone. It’s no longer just transactional; you are a valuable aspect of their success. Your clients will never forget how you made them feel.
» Be different. All too often we get in the door, engage in some pleasant chitchat and then fall into “presentation mode.” If you don’t make a concerted effort to be different during your first engagement, you will be the fourth proposal on that stack. While you can’t alter someone’s willingness to change, if they are open-minded, this is a skill that a talented sales coach can teach.
» Be a good listener. Ask helpful, open-ended, insightful questions. Do not ask a question and spend the next few minutes prepping your follow-up question. Be insightful and curious, not manipulative.
Harvest The Wheat
There is nothing more annoying than going to a website and being bombarded with pop-ups. We rush to get those clickbait ads out of the way. It’s time to do the same with your prospect list.
That contact you’ve been holding on to, hoping “Well, maybe one day” — let that security blanket go and jettison that chaff!
There’s a proverb that says, “Don’t say it’s wheat until you harvest it.” Once the chaff is clear and you’ve done the hard work, you can go after the wheat that is your prime prospects, and you can be their valued solution.