Archive for January, 2010
Wednesday, January 27th, 2010
Wednesday, January 27th, 2010
Last week I talked to a recent entry to the business who has been spending several hours a day cold calling business owners in his community – and earlier this year made a change in his approach which has paid big dividends.
Prior to that, his focus when calling business owners was to try to get a meeting to discuss their financial situation, with a view to identifying possible tax saving opportunities.
While he’d had some limited success, it was hard slogging – the ratio of dials to conversations (about 6 to 1) and then conversations to meetings (about 30 to 1) was wearing him down – there were entire days that he’d call without success. And even when he did get a meeting, he often found it hard to get the prospect to open up and motivated to meet again.
Then last spring he attended the Top Advisor Summit in Toronto, a one day event that I co-hosted and heard something that led him to change direction.
A change in direction
One of the talks was by a successful advisor from RBC Dominion Securities, discussing how to approach the business owner marketplace.
She emphasized that business owners are swamped – unless you get lucky, the only way to get their attention is to hit a hot button.
And while tax savings have obvious appeal, chances are they’ve heard lots about this from their accountant, existing advisor and other advisors trying to get in the door. Part of the problem is that promises of tax savings, better investment advice and personalized plans are all vague and amorphous – you need something concrete.
Her suggestion for advisors trying to get in the door with business owners was to talk about ways to increase the interest on the company’s cash balances. For companies who import or export, advisors could also talk about better ways to manage foreign currency risk.
The bad news
This leads to a narrower, more transactional conversation than talking about a prospect’s financial situation – which for this advisor was both a good and a bad thing.
The bad news was that first this advisor had to invest the time to get up to speed on ways to increase interest on cash balances and on currency hedging – and then sometimes this advisor found himself delegated to the firm’s controller .
And even once he’d made a sale, he had to convert the transition into what he really wanted to talk about.
The good news
The good news was that he found his initial calls shorter and much more productive – by saying “I work with independent businesses to help them increase the interest they get on their corporate cash balances”, his success in getting meetings and closing sales went up dramatically.
Just as important, he found his enthusiasm for picking up the phone picked up when he began getting more positive feedback on his efforts.
Whenever you’re approaching a prospect about doing business, remind yourself that people are busy and people are jaded – to have a reasonable chance of getting in the door, you need to find a hot button that prospects will respond to, just as this advisor did.
Tags: Accountant, Bad News, Business Owner, Business Owners, Cash Balances, Change In Direction, Conversations, Currency Risk, Discouragement, Dividends, Financial Situation, Foreign Currency, Hot Button, Hot Buttons, Investment Advice, Last Spring, Marketplace, Promises, Rbc Dominion Securities, Something Concrete
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