1st two years

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Jul 10, 2009 2:33 pm

I am starting next month and have read a lot on this site. For those of you who have been out 1-2 years, what was the key to building your business in the beginning. From what I have read referrals are key, however when starting off with $0 assets and 0 clients, not exactly ideal.



I have read in magazines(On wall street) top 40 under 40, that most of those people either inherited or built there book by cold calling. Is cold calling still relevant(to those who started in the last 2 years) and does what Bill Good preach about calling with a product still work?

Jul 10, 2009 2:46 pm

First 2 years I built my book on office seminars and referrals.  Here's a strategy that helped me out early:  Go to Yahoo or Google, type in certain industry names in the title line and click "local" so you'll get a listing of local offices only.  Type in some ones you know are good, like architects.  When you call these people ask for the person that deals with setting up seminars with the office.  When you get this person on the line give them your schpiel about specializing in financial planning awareness or what have you, and that you want to offer complimentary lunch for up to 10-15 for the office (Pick Subway or something cheap so you don't go broke).  Talk to them for 10 minutes about what you do and how you can help and hopefully your company can make compliant comment cards for them to fill out.  You'll get a client for every 3 or so lunches you do so it will be profitable as long as you are good in front of people.


You'll get the receptionists that you swear dropped out of school in 3rd grade and those that give you the run around but early on I'd estimate I set a seminar for every 3 or 4 people I talked to (People in charge I talked to, not simply the receptionist that may or may not be mentally challenged).
 
Hope this helps.
Jul 10, 2009 2:56 pm

Where did you start out working?  I like that concept.  I am trying like he11 to get more seminars, but I can't seem to get good attendance.  I like the employer route.  Any more thoughts on that?  What kinds of topics hold people's attention that you can do in only 10-15 minutes?

Jul 10, 2009 3:12 pm

I'll tell you where I started working but you have to promise to keep your attention past that point, and keep in mind that I didn't follow the company mantra to a T....Ameriprise.  Their concept is for those starting out you should do lunch and learns, by setting up a fishbowl at restaurants and then calling the cards when they are dropped in.  I'd get like 8-10 of these a week and set 3-4 of them, which was not enough to live on, so I used the local directory through Yahoo and only looked up businesses who had offices in non-rough areas of the city and weren't staffing agencies or car dealerships.  Fortunately at the time we would get reimbursed on our lunches, but that has gone the way of the dodo bird. 

 
During the presentation I'd talk mostly about taxes and retirement planning.  I'd stay tight with the hot button issues and was careful not to drone on with any script and if successful, the presentation would turn into a 5-10 minute Q&A at the end.  That night or the next morning I'd follow up with them and get an appt. set.  The key when you set up the presentation is to ask some questions about their company and get the HR person on the other end talking and laughing.  Send a quick follow-up e-mail with a menu and sign-in sheet and call again 1-2 days before the presentation requesting peoples orders and asking for a headcount.  Schedule them no more than 7-10 days out if you can.  Anything past 2 weeks and you're asking for a cancelled lunch.
Jul 10, 2009 3:15 pm
B24:

Where did you start out working?  I like that concept.  I am trying like he11 to get more seminars, but I can't seem to get good attendance.  I like the employer route.  Any more thoughts on that?  What kinds of topics hold people's attention that you can do in only 10-15 minutes?




Why is your attendance so bad?

Jul 10, 2009 3:21 pm

Don't know.  I live in an average populated suburban area (nowhere near any major city).  There's money, but there are a LOT of wirehouse advisors in my area (I live in a rather affluent state).  But nobody is doing seminars, so it's not seminared out.  One of the problems I think is that the older retired people are all hooked up already with advisors, and the younger people are too busy working.  But that also sounds like an excuse to me.  I am trying different things, but none seem to work real effectively.  I am actually good at presenting, but can't seem to get any traction with regular attendees.  I have done the mass-mail thing, the client-event thing, the teaching classes thing, etc.  They all end up resulting in some clients, but not always enough to justify the cost.  I need to find a way to get 20-30 people in the room consistently, without breaking the bank on postage and dinner.

Jul 10, 2009 3:25 pm
B24:

Don't know.  I live in an average populated suburban area (nowhere near any major city).  There's money, but there are a LOT of wirehouse advisors in my area (I live in a rather affluent state).  But nobody is doing seminars, so it's not seminared out.  One of the problems I think is that the older retired people are all hooked up already with advisors, and the younger people are too busy working.  But that also sounds like an excuse to me.  I am trying different things, but none seem to work real effectively.  I am actually good at presenting, but can't seem to get any traction with regular attendees.  I have done the mass-mail thing, the client-event thing, the teaching classes thing, etc.  They all end up resulting in some clients, but not always enough to justify the cost.  I need to find a way to get 20-30 people in the room consistently, without breaking the bank on postage and dinner.



You need to find a way to be different.

Jul 10, 2009 3:27 pm

Do lunch, not dinner.  They'll appreciate the quick in-and-out style, and since they've already seen your face, albeit for 10 minutes, the follow-up phone call will be a breeze, especially if you remember a specific question they asked during the presentation. ("Great seeing you yesterday, Fred.  You mentioned yesterday that you're the "new guy" at your current office and that retirement savings is important to you.  Do you mind me asking if you were saving in any 401(k) or 403(b) in yoru previous job?").  Dinner is too much of a commitment for some people, fighting traffic after work and maybe the spouse has to stay late at her job, etc.. 

Jul 10, 2009 3:31 pm

Think of the seminar as the first appointment. When they come in to meet with you, it's closing time. That means you have to be very clear about what you believe in, what you do, and what you sell in the seminar. Then they can do the thinking it over between the seminar and the first appt. 

Jul 10, 2009 3:45 pm

I have asked several advisors in my old region about seminars. They seem to frown upon them because, from what I can tell, they have their BOA set up the whole thing and then sit and wait on people to show up. If someone purposly goes to a seminar then they have a need somewhere in their head floating around. It maybe in the front but probably in the back. It is hard to find enough people with a current need to come to a seminar.


Now on the other hand if you don't give your audience the chance to back out, then you can find current needs and more often then not you can plant seeds. Both parts are important in the early going. Let as many people know you and what you do as possible. So, doing something like 3rdyrp2 suggests is a good idea. You only have to convince one person to let you have the seminar instead of trying to get a dozen convinced they need to come. Also, you can use this same approach with any group of people you can think of. Especially groups or clubs you may have common interest in such as hunting clubs, HOA meetings(B24 how many HOAs are in your town), even a four man scramble at the golf course. Think of where you can find a dozen or so people that are regularly together then find the one person that will let you in.
 
This information is part of what I have gathered in my short time thus far. I have no proof that it does or does not work. I personally like the seminar approach over cold calling or walking. It may be I am somewhat partial to seminars because people that can't sell, teach.
 
Jul 10, 2009 4:22 pm

How much up front money does that cost?

Jul 10, 2009 5:09 pm

If you do a sandwich and soda platter than bank on about $75-$90 per presentation. 

Jul 10, 2009 5:30 pm
3rdyrp2:

If you do a sandwich and soda platter than bank on about $75-$90 per presentation. 



Do you do it in their conference area?  Off site? 

Jul 10, 2009 5:36 pm

Cold calling 100% for me now pretty much all referrals. This is the last month in year two for me. If you cold call and make 40 contacts a day you will easily make it.

Jul 10, 2009 5:38 pm

Conference room. Minimizes amount of people that cancel last minute. No one has an excuse to not be able to run down to the conference room for 10 minutes.

Jul 10, 2009 6:25 pm
Gaddock:

Cold calling 100% for me now pretty much all referrals. This is the last month in year two for me. If you cold call and make 40 contacts a day you will easily make it.





Did you call residential or business or both?

Jul 10, 2009 9:02 pm

Both

Jul 11, 2009 1:33 am
3rdyrp2:

First 2 years I built my book on office seminars and referrals.  Here's a strategy that helped me out early:  Go to Yahoo or Google, type in certain industry names in the title line and click "local" so you'll get a listing of local offices only.  Type in some ones you know are good, like architects.  When you call these people ask for the person that deals with setting up seminars with the office.  When you get this person on the line give them your schpiel about specializing in financial planning awareness or what have you, and that you want to offer complimentary lunch for up to 10-15 for the office (Pick Subway or something cheap so you don't go broke).  Talk to them for 10 minutes about what you do and how you can help and hopefully your company can make compliant comment cards for them to fill out.  You'll get a client for every 3 or so lunches you do so it will be profitable as long as you are good in front of people.


You'll get the receptionists that you swear dropped out of school in 3rd grade and those that give you the run around but early on I'd estimate I set a seminar for every 3 or 4 people I talked to (People in charge I talked to, not simply the receptionist that may or may not be mentally challenged).
 
Hope this helps.
 
Man , that  sounds like a great idea.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Thats pretty ballsy to jump into that, brnd new to the business. I guess you could classify  that as being willing to do the things that others wont do.
 
good for you.
Jul 11, 2009 8:04 am
Speedynew:

How much up front money does that cost?




I think Jones pays like 75% of the cost back and if you have a wholesaler speak for any reason, they pay some too.

Jul 11, 2009 9:02 am
Gaddock:

Both





Where did you get the names for business? residential?