Archives for March, 2013

Why Would Anyone Want to Continue to Cold Call?

March 28th, 2013, Comments Off.

Cold calling has reportedly died. No one cold calls anymore and it doesn’t work. Is this true?

Here is an email message I recently received:

Hi Wendy,

Looking over the numbers my agents generate, I have noticed that dials to contacts have slowly decreased in the last 10 to 15 years, which, in turn, means the number of appointments has dropped as well. People have to dial an amount that is unsustainable… My question is, that with the tools that are now being understood better, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, why would anyone want to continue to cold call?

Ah yes, why would anyone want to continue to cold call? Well, because it’s the most direct and effective way to generate new business. The problem is, of course, that most agents cold call badly, which is why it does not work for them.

If you really want to build a solid sales pipeline packed with qualified prospects, there are only four ways you can use to do so:

1. Marketing activities

Most large sales organizations have marketing departments that function to generate qualified leads and drive traffic to the company’s website and/or to the company’s inside sales team. If you’re an independent agent or small-business owner, you’re the marketing department.

2. Leveraging (referral selling)

Contacting existing clients and/or people within an agent’s or business owner’s circle of influence and asking for referrals. This is an excellent way to develop new business.

3. Networking

Joining leads and/or networking groups and/or using social networking sites/Web 2.0 resources. This is another excellent way to build a pipeline.

4. Cold calling

While all of these activities will generate leads for new business development, only one is directly under your control. The first three are essentially passive, in that once you initiate the activity, you must then wait for someone else to take action—a prospect to call in or a client or networking contact to come through with a referral. Because you have to wait for the results, that is, for prospects to come to you, these processes also take longer to generate sales.

When you cold call, you can target the companies or types of individuals with whom you are interested in doing business, make a phone call and begin your sales process. While cold calling is not as easy as say, clicking a link on a social networking site, the good news is that cold calling is a communication skill (heavy emphasis on the word,’ “skill”) and like any communication skill, it can be learned and improved upon.

People who say that cold calling does not work today or that cold calling is dead are a little like someone playing softball, who, when up at bat, swings and misses the ball. He throws the bat down in disgust and says, “The bat doesn’t work.” The bat works fine–it’s just that he missed the ball.

Although cold calling works today, it is different from the way it was practiced 20 years ago. In the email referenced above, if the agents are making their dials the same way they did 10 to 15 years ago, then it’s not surprising they’re not having much success. It is no longer enough to rely on sheer volume of calls. And this is still the strategy employed by most people who are making cold calls. If that’s your strategy, then it’s true, “people have to dial an amount that is unsustainable.” If that’s your strategy today, then cold calling won’t work for you.

In order to be successful in 2013, cold calling must be strategic, targeted and skilled. A cold calling campaign that is all three will succeed in developing new business. Anything else will waste your time.

If you’d like help developing a cold-calling campaign, I invite you to download my complimentary eBook, The Cold Calling Survival Guide: Start Setting Appointments in the Next 24 Hours.

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By Wendy Weiss

Wendy Weiss, “The Queen of Cold Calling,” is a sales trainer, author and sales coach. Contact her at wendy@wendyweiss.com or visit http://www.wendyweiss.com.

 

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Insights in Investment Management

March 26th, 2013, Comments Off.

Late last year, kasina, a strategy consulting firm in the financial-services industry, conducted its biannual Financial Advisor Vision survey of 2,521 advisors. The study revealed many interesting findings, including the fact that many Americans’ retirement nest eggs have been detrimentally impacted during the past few years, and quite a few middle-class Americans should expect to work well into their Golden Years. Advisor Today Blog recently interviewed kasina CEO Steven Miyao to discuss the findings in greater detail and to get some insights into how advisors should work with their asset managers to successfully meet the investing needs of their clients.

Advisor Today Blog: Your research indicates that the top concern for many of the advisors you surveyed is helping their clients accumulate enough assets for retirement. How is this concern different from other findings identified in past kasina surveys?

Steven Miyao: In the past, advisors were more concerned about short-term political as well as economical events that impacted the markets. The positive is that advisors care about the long-term success of their clients. The negative is the lack of clarity advisors have about how to get their clients to accumulate enough assets for retirement. This is where asset managers need to show more leadership in guiding these advisors, as well as in developing solutions that enable advisors to reach their clients’ goals.

ATBlog: How should advisors help their clients address this issue?

Miyao: This depends on their individual clients’ situations. Broadly, advisors need to reconsider modern portfolio theory and understand that most assets are highly correlated. Advisors need to include more non-traditional investment solutions to help mitigate risk.

ATBlog: We recently managed to avoid the much talked-about fiscal cliff. But what is the potential fallout from a fiscal cliff, and how should advisors and their clients address this issue?

Miyao: Advisors have to understand the limitations of our government and move beyond the political ideologies of the two parties. There are significant investment opportunities available, no matter what the government does. It is important to keep a long-term perspective.

ATBlog: More than 33 percent of the advisors surveyed expect their clients to retire at or after age 68, and some at or after age 71. This is a rather advanced “retirement age.” What is causing this need to delay retirement?

Miyao: There are a number of different factors at work here. On one side of the wealth spectrum, investors will have to work longer because they don’t have enough money to retire. On the other side of the spectrum, investors will be able to work longer.

ATBlog: How does this delayed retirement age affect the planning and investment advice advisors should give to their clients?

Miyao: The average investor is going to need the time to accumulate enough money to retire on, probably even more than what the advisors are estimating. Advisors understand that the main fear is that the investor will outlive his or her assets.

ATBlog: What are some of the digital communications tools advisors would like to use with their asset managers?

Miyao: There are two main underutilized digital communications:

1. Mobile tools. Advisors are increasingly utilizing tablets. From 2011-2012, the number of advisors using mobile devices to access business content increased from 69.9% to 76.8%. Furthermore, the percentage of advisors using at least two devices has increased from 20.9% to 32.4%. Asset managers need to build tools to help the advisor better understand new and more complex investment solutions. These should be delivered in such a way that they are directly usable with an advisor’s client.

2. Social media. Most asset managers are only using social media to broadcast content. Asset managers should start to mine advisors’ social content to get a better understanding of their advisors. Another opportunity exists to use the advisor’s network and preferences to provide more relevant content to the advisors.

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By Ayo Mseka
Editor-In-Chief
Advisor Today

 

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