Cold Calling...Product vs. Appointment

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Mar 26, 2010 11:00 am

This guy sure has a bit of Windy in him.

Mar 26, 2010 3:34 pm

To answer your original question: yes, calling with a product works as well or better than calling for an appointment or with a service. I built my biz calling with munis. But, calling with any fixed income product would work as well. I know million dollar plus brokers who use mutual funds. So, anything goes.

That said, one of the biggest mistakes made by all Brokers, FAs, FCs etc is finding something that  works and then changing it. 2.5 mil in the first quarter out of the starting gate is an excellent start. I understand your need to try to find greener grass, but you'd be foolish to do anything but put more effort into what is already working.

Good luck!

Mar 26, 2010 4:24 pm

Something about this thread says bulls-it to me.

Mar 27, 2010 9:10 pm

Pitching a product in a cold call smacks of "education" which works in this suspicious climate.

Provided anyone that actually picks up a phone today to listen to a pitch is smart enough to want educated,

Doubtful.   But sitting on your ass with your managers feeding you pizza as you dial and smile,  is no better way to spend your youth.  We all did it..

Mar 29, 2010 12:47 pm

People buy people, not products!  That is the beginning and the end of it.  As for everyone providing you advice to stick to what is successful....sure if you want to be mediocre.  90% of your time should be allocated to what is proven and 10% to see if you can find a more cost effective way to increase revenue at a faster pace. 

I own multiple companies and these are simple business rules not financial rules.  The difficulty with this forum is that there are a lot of "Salemen" (FA's) who only do what they know.  This is why they are just salesmen.

Businesses evolve and so do the business practices.  Never give up looking for something better....that is exactly what gives you a competitve edge! 

Mar 29, 2010 7:00 pm

Thanks Bondguy, Cinderella, and Freedomfighter!  I am always looking for ways to grow and anything else that can help is well worth it in my opinion, versus just sticking with one thing.  I should add, that I am also a member of a team.  Not splitting any fees yet because of the way we are set up, nor do they help me close business at this point, but two guys are already million dollar producers and two other guys are right under a half million...all built from cold calling.  These are young guys too...all in their late 30's.  Now they do have a specific business model,  and with the exception of one million dollar producer, everyone calls like crazy! 

I mentioned earlier that my branch manager and sales and service manager track contacts, connects, and average time of each call.  Get this, one of the million dollar producers on my team is usually ranked either one or two in terms of connects for the experienced FAs in the branch.  Pretty inspiring because I can clearly see that it works and my goal is to "outdial" everyone, everyweek!  

BTW, Freedomfighter, I am quoting what you said at the end of your post.  THis should be bulletin board material because it is so dead on in my opinion.  Thanks again!. 

"Businesses evolve and so do the business practices.  Never give up looking for something better....that is exactly what gives you a competitve edge! "

Mar 29, 2010 9:34 pm

TenToes - If you want to keep it simple and give yourself a competive edge, check out a www.five9.com. You will quadruple your dial output and contacts.  Of course no matter what we do it will always be a numbers game!

Mar 30, 2010 2:29 am

[quote=Otane]

That is great.

Mind sharing how many calls you are making and what are you saying to the prospect to get the appt? 

[/quote]

Could you address this tentoes?

Mar 30, 2010 3:43 pm

I call in 45 minute blocks starting at 8 am.  Later on Monday and Wednesday because I have meetings those mornings.  I call for 45 minutes then take a break for 15 minutes.  Generally, depending on the conversations I can strike up with my unsuspecting prey, I can generally bang out 40 - 60 dials per block.  Typically, I shoot for 3 call blocks in the morning before I eat my free lunch provided by a wholesaler!!!  LOL!  I am calling SMBs so it isn't too terribly difficult to get them on the phone so my number of contacts per call block is generally pretty good.  Then I take my lunch break and walk outside the building to get some sunshine and rejuvenate. 

After lunch, I knock out at least 3 more call blocks so in a given day, I am doing approx. 250 - 350 dials.  Today sucks though. ..108 dials and only 10 contacts, but I found one guy who has a jacked up bond portolio who needs help another guy who has been self managing with Fidelity and using his Ameriprise guy sparingly.  Should be able to move the ball forward with him. 

Generally, I am approaching things from a two step approach.  Initial call is to introduce myself and ask them how I work with a team and that we specialize in working with successful entrepreneurs in "anycity" in the areas of investment management and retirement planning (straight outta the Bill Good stuff).  Nine times out of ten they tell me they have an advisor so I look for a way to strike up a conversation because offering them that second opinion spiel has gotten me nothing but a big goose egg!  I have had no luck whatsoever with that approach.  I really just start asking them about their business, goals, etc to get a conversationg going.  Once I find some themes, I frame them up at the end of the call, email them some information pertinent to their solution, then set the follow-up call.  By then they are pretty happy with my non'threatening approach and I usually set an appointment the second time I call them.  When I do have appointments, I schedule them during certain times of certain days so that I have order to my day.  Otherwise, it is too easy to not make the calls. 

I am extremely energetic and nice on the phone and I have my script at the point of being extremely conversational on the phone rather than sounding like I am reading a script.  Like I said in another post, I was originally extremely nervous, but I just kept moving forward to try and get better and better at the cold calling stuff because I figured I would just "run into" people ready to roll...and I have.

Just got an email from my branch manager yesterday who is also the complex manager and he is upping the ante in terms of number of contacts per day for my class of trainees and the class prior to mine.  The pressure and competition in my office is crazy.  I overheard a conversation today from the powers that be and one guy is getting ready to be thrown under the bus.  His fault really.  He was a former entrepreneur like myself and I guess he felt like his past success would carry some weight.  My philosophy is that past success may get you in the door, but you gotta produce and short of having a group of rich friends who give you all of their money, activity on the phone is the only way to do it.  The branch manager and sales/service manager track everything, so there really isn't anywhere to hide. 

Apr 1, 2010 1:39 am

TenToes

Great post. Could you share how you answer the initial objection - more specifically- what questions do you ask to get the conversation going and bringing it around to their business goals.

Apr 1, 2010 8:01 pm

Sports...

As strange as it sounds, I really don't answer the initial objection or try to overcome it.  Because I have already positioned myself as a SMB specialist at the outset, I merely ask them questions about their outlook for the year, hiring plans, etc. which generally starts the ball rolling and it can go in a millions different directions.  Again, I was a business owner before starting at this firm, so I generally try to share/make that connection because other entrepreneurs can appreciate that.    I also may ask how they are potentially going to be impactec (good or bad), by what is taking place in Washington although I make sure I NEVER take sides.  We have just come out with tons of research/analysis pieces to send to clients so this is merely another opportunity to cover a pain point and make a connection with the potential client. 

Yesterday was a wash, but today yielded a guy that needs to make sense of his responsibility as a 401k provider.  I asked him what his current advisor has done to manage/mitigate the risk of his personal investment portfolio in terms of  its correlation to the investment choices he has made in his own investment account in his company 401K plan at which point he immediately put his wife on the phone who needed to understand why that was important.  We talked a bit about why this is important and she immediately wanted to meet.  For other guys in our office that specialize in 401Ks (I don't), the plan isn't that big, but for me it is!!

I also met a guy in the automotive business today.  He and his partners need a securitized loan initially (our firm has been pushing those a lot lately), so that looks extremely promising.  Who knows when it will all close (or if it will close for that matter), but my spidey sense tells me I am already off to a good start for this quarter. 

 We are about to close the office early today since tomorrow is Good Friday, so I am about to "belly-up" to the bar and put down a few.  See ya!

Apr 28, 2010 1:20 pm

Still haven't tried a product script yet, but I have been hammering away at the dials since the last update.  Consolidating a business owners personal IRAs and those of his wife to the tune of $$400k.  The guy is 5-10 years from retirement and does not have any type of financial plan whatsoever!  Also, taking the company 401k, but someone else is helping me attack this so I will split this with him.  Should be a nice sized relationship.  The moral of the story is that being on the phone works...if you are persistently consistent!! 

Apr 28, 2010 3:53 pm

Financial Plans are as worthless as the paper they're printed on.

You are worthless.  Why?  Because you're full of it  Why?  Because you are posting in an online forum when you should be 100% focused on gathering your assets and writing up your phony baloney financial plans.  If you're only in month 4, why are you online trying to "share your expertise"?

Yes, cold calling works.  You're selling an appointment instead of product right now.  Let me give you ANOTHER idea:  why don't you talk about PROBLEMS that the prospect has... explore the ramifications of those problems, get the prospect to agree on those problems... and to meet with you for ideas on how to SOLVE those problems.  You'll get LESS appointments, but a much higher quality appointment.

However, you probably can't do this very well.  Why?  Investments don't solve problems, except for "low performing assets".  And unless you can bring up guarantees of some kind, you'll only compound the problem, and add additional stress to that existing problem.

Get back on the phone and keep doing what works.

Apr 28, 2010 4:21 pm

Gordon,

"Because you are posting in an online forum when you should be 100% focused on gathering your assets..."

Aren't you posting in an online forum as well?  What a dumb ass!!!  If you will re-read (hard for you..I know)  You will note that I asked for advice, I didn't offer advice.  No worries though.  You keep sucking cocks and I will keep closing business!  Peace out you prick!

Apr 28, 2010 4:34 pm

My frequency of posting is far less than yours.

If you read my post (yes, it's hard.  I'll try to type slower for you), I DID help you answer your original question.

BTW, I work in a different market than you do... and I have greater freedom in my schedule than you'll EVER know.

Apr 28, 2010 4:53 pm

[quote=Gordon Ramsey]

My frequency of posting is far less than yours.

That is BS.  Looks like you were posting  in multiple threads today.  Liar!

If you read my post (yes, it's hard.  I'll try to type slower for you), I DID help you answer your original question.

BTW, I work in a different market than you do... and I have greater freedom in my schedule than you'll EVER know.

You obviously labor under the impression that I really care about your schedule.  Sounds like an inferiority complex if you ask me.  Oh and btw,  I can tell your schedule affords you many more luxuries than the average bear since you can't seem to find anything else better to do with your time than share your worldly expertise with others.  Like I said..."What a dumb ass!"  

[/quote]

May 1, 2010 1:19 am

Pick a bond, pick a list, pick up the phone, dial and repeat. If people are interested - they'll let you know. Same with any product.

People WILL listen, will talk with you, will meet with you.  It works. Keep it up.

Kicking Ass and Taking Names...and still cold calling after 4 years doing it. Wouldn't be doing it if it weren't working!

May 1, 2010 1:39 pm

[quote=Takingnames]

Pick a bond, pick a list, pick up the phone, dial and repeat. If people are interested - they'll let you know. Same with any product.

People WILL listen, will talk with you, will meet with you.  It works. Keep it up.

Kicking Ass and Taking Names...and still cold calling after 4 years doing it. Wouldn't be doing it if it weren't working!

[/quote]

TakingNames,

Thanks for your response.  Why it is so difficult for others to give a professional and civil response such as you did is beyond me...so once again I applaud you for the simplicity and candor of your response.  Going to try the product (muni bond) route next week because I am frankly tired of saying the exact same thing on the phone.  Just want to try something different to see if I can improve on my results.  Will report my results at the end of the week if I can gain any traction. 

May 17, 2010 8:01 pm

TenToesDown:  The Muni Bond Route at the moment is a very good idea... Your main focus when making the call should not be geared toward the product, but at the tax benefit they provide... 

Couple key points when you call should be: 1. If someone is objecting with inflation:  The jump from 35% to 39% is a 13% jump in taxes; "do you think we are going to see 13% inflation"!  That's not including state taxes!  Nor the Healthcare tax that goes into effect in 2013... 2. If you have a NJ resident:  "Surtax" for 1 million dollar earners! 3.  NY/NJ high income earners are looking at the possibility of 60% tax when you break it down.  (example: a 4.00% bond ='s 10.00% to them) Mr. Prospect: "Do you know the risk you will take on to get 10.00%" 4. estate taxes coming back... most likely on the rise!

You probably know all this already, just giving some insight...  This is the exact route that i have taken... its been working some... supply is low and demand is up, simple economics 101... Bonds are Expensive!

5. BAB's are cutting into supply of tax-free issuers; Less Supply!! 
May 18, 2010 12:37 am

[quote=Rwarchol5]

TenToesDown:  The Muni Bond Route at the moment is a very good idea... Your main focus when making the call should not be geared toward the product, but at the tax benefit they provide... 

Couple key points when you call should be: 1. If someone is objecting with inflation:  The jump from 35% to 39% is a 13% jump in taxes; "do you think we are going to see 13% inflation"!  That's not including state taxes!  Nor the Healthcare tax that goes into effect in 2013... 2. If you have a NJ resident:  "Surtax" for 1 million dollar earners! 3.  NY/NJ high income earners are looking at the possibility of 60% tax when you break it down.  (example: a 4.00% bond ='s 10.00% to them) Mr. Prospect: "Do you know the risk you will take on to get 10.00%" 4. estate taxes coming back... most likely on the rise!

You probably know all this already, just giving some insight...  This is the exact route that i have taken... its been working some... supply is low and demand is up, simple economics 101... Bonds are Expensive!

5. BAB's are cutting into supply of tax-free issuers; Less Supply!! 

[/quote]

Good insight!

On pitching tax frees keep it simple. I'm calling today with a bond that's yielding 5% tax free. In your tax bracket that's the same as a CD yielding 7%. Tell me Mr. Smith, do you have any CDs yielding 7%?

Just one variation on a theme.

And before anyone screams about 5% tax frees they are readily available if you know where to look. Not hard to find.