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Pandemic Prospecting

Four fundamental aspects of the sales process can be adjusted for COVID-19.
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Despite the pandemic, advisors are bringing in affluent clients at an accelerated pace. Many have expressed to me, “the stars are aligned for prospecting.” They view it much like the Great Recession in that conversations are happening now that wouldn’t happen in a long-term bull market.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what prospecting looks like today and how elite advisors are capitalizing on opportunities. When the affluent are unsettled with the markets, anxious about politics and confused about the general state of affairs in their world, it spells opportunities for financial advisors.

So let’s look at four fundamental aspects of the sales process and how elite advisors have adjusted them for today’s COVID world.

Prospecting  

It’s important to interact with clients on a more personal level to better understand who your clients and referral alliance partners are talking to, what they are talking about and to get a sense of their overall mood. During these conversations, your objective is to source names, uncovering the names of their friends, family members and colleagues. 

There’s a dual benefit to this approach. Sincere conversations about family, lifestyle changes and working at home build an emotional connection, which is critical to stimulating word-of-mouth-influence and progressing to the next step: connecting. 

Connecting

Pre-COVID-19, the face-to-face personal introduction was an ideal way to get in front of an affluent prospect. Rarely is this a viable option today.  

The pandemic has provided a silver lining, however, as connecting with a prospect has never been easier—it just has to be done virtually.

Because everybody’s been locked in, in some way or another, for months, they’re stir-crazy and happy to meet with someone on a Zoom or Webex call. This can be arranged by either your client calling the person you want to meet or sending a properly worded email (you craft the email). Either way, you’re suggesting a Zoom or Webex introduction.

The dynamics have changed; this means that you need to master the technology on your end and, if necessary, help your potential prospect get comfortable with it on theirs.  

Presenting

For your second meeting, it’s time to provide a powerful presentation you’ve created for the virtual business meeting you’re about to conduct. Carefully weave your key differentiators into your presentation, highlighting your strengths while accentuating the weaknesses of what you’ve reviewed. Virtual presentations with a captive audience that allow for a two-way discussion tend to be followed very closely.

New Client

Transitioning your prospect into a client is, of course, the ultimate goal of every sales presentation. Thanks to people being so unsettled about the economy and the impact on their portfolios, more presentations should end with onboarding a new client than ever. The timeline between a sourced prospect and a new client has shortened—and in many cases, shortened significantly. 

Although the pandemic has changed the landscape of prospecting, many of the same principles advisors have always used remain sound—they just require proper adjustment.

Matt Oechsli is author of How to Build a 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing, and Retaining Affluent Clientswww.oechsli.com

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