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To Boldly Go?

To Boldly Go?

We’ve chosen a demanding profession.  To be a master financial advisor you need the courage and leadership skills of Captain Kirk, the intelligence and analytical ability of Mr. Spock, and the personal warmth and empathy of Dr. McCoy. Plus it helps to have a Scotty handling the administrative engineering. Not too many careers ask that much of one person or give so much in return.

Star Trek actually offers many parallels to our world, but when it comes to prospecting for new clients, that search for “strange new worlds” causes too many advisors to get bored and beam out of a marketing strategy before it has a chance to work. I call this “The Star Trek Syndrome,” and it’s not helping.

While creativity and innovative approaches can absolutely work, part of an effective prospecting effort is a simple numbers game. Find an effective set of activities and repeat them consistently. This was my biggest problem early in my career. I hated the smile and dial techniques taught by our sales trainers. All that mattered was the number of calls you made. You memorized a script and power-dialed from 8AM to 9PM. It was factory work – make a hundred dials, make 10 contacts, get one prospect. That was the mindless math of success. It was brutal and numbing…but I hate to admit this…it WORKED! 

I’m not recommending cold calling at all, but there is a major benefit to doing one thing until you get really good at it. Sometimes it almost doesn’t matter what that thing is. My thing eventually became seminars and after 3,000 of them, the results were pretty powerful. I talk with many advisors today who also try seminars and swear that they don’t work. So I ask, “How many have you done?” And they say THREE!

How can you possibly do three seminars and know whether they work or not? Three dozen or three hundred, okay, I’ll give you that. But after only three seminars you barely know how to say “Hello” to an audience. Impatience, that wanderlust need we have to warp over to some new and better planet is hurting us badly.

Stick around a while

After you’ve given this prospecting thing some thought and figured out a few possible marketing strategies that might work for you, pick one or two and build a six-month campaign on them.

For example, let’s say you want to try direct mail. Don’t laugh…it works like crazy!  Build three mailing lists: large (1,000 names), medium (50 names), and small (10 names).  Plan to hit your large list with one piece every two weeks.  These might be simple reply cards, or something that might generate a request for information on an idea.

The medium list is going to be a higher quality group of prospects that you want to send more intelligent material like research reports and white papers. Again, give them some easy way to respond or get more information. You might want to coordinate a direct mail campaign with your social media and website activities.

The small list is a carefully vetted group of top prospects. These folks get a customized 3-ring binder and a bi-weekly drip of valuable, personalized ideas selected specifically for them.

I don’t have time to explain the full direct-mail marketing strategy, what I’m getting at is the discipline and the focus that’s necessary to make any marketing approach succeed. Building a longer-term campaign creates much better awareness in your target market. Anyone who touches me bi-weekly for six months is serious about wanting my business and someone who definitely is a fixture in my community instead of a hit-and-run opportunist.  And anyone who sends me a binder with high-quality articles and insights is very likely to get a face-to-face meeting at some point. 

There are also psychological benefits to a longer-term approach. When you commit to a small handful of activities, your sub-conscious problem-solving machine (and that of your teammates as well) can go to work on making those approaches more effective. You can focus on learning more about your chosen methods and becoming even better at them. By contrast, when you jump around from idea to idea, you never get great at anything. You’re constantly re-tasking your mind and confusing your inner success mechanism.

Captain Kirk only had five-years (really three) to explore the galaxy. You have a career to build a fantastic business here on Earth. Don’t let The Star Trek Syndrome warp you out of orbit too early. Beam down, pull up a chair and hang around for a while.

Frank Maselli is a professional speaker, best-selling author and 30-year veteran of the financial services industry. Maselli has presented to the largest and most successful organizations in the industry, training thousands of advisors and managers each year in advanced marketing, sales leadership and modern practice management techniques. His two books, Seminars: The Emotional Dynamic and Referrals: The Professional Way (The 4th Edition now available at and are changing the way top advisors market and grow their business. He is a member of the National Speakers Association, Mensa and IMCA and is the founder of The Financial Lifeguard Academy, where he teaches advisors how to stop selling and start saving lives.  Check out The Maselli Group for more information.

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