As we slide into October, I am beginning to hear that old familiar phrase from many of my coaching clients: “We've only got one more quarter to hit our year-end goals.”
Although the clients that we coach are busy executing on strategies to ensure that their goals are met, I often hear of other financial advisers reaching for goals, yet having no real plan to get them there.
With nearly a full quarter still ahead of us, here are three specific strategies to help end the year strong and tee up for a great start to 2014.
Pay attention to the opportunities at your fingertips. With social media, identifying potential rollover opportunities has never been easier.
In years past, we often didn't find out that our clients had changed companies until weeks or months later, frequently after they had already rolled over their prior retirement plan to a new plan. Today's wired world makes it easy to find this information more rapidly. With millions of professionals using LinkedIn to find new jobs, as well as to network, the site has become one of the first places individuals update with their new employment information. Although scouring all one's LinkedIn connections on a day-by-day basis to identify who has changed jobs would be far too time-consuming, the website salesloft .com will do the work. The site allows users to link to their LinkedIn accounts and provides free daily job change alerts. Simply sign up and lists of connections who have changed positions or companies will be delivered right to your inbox daily.
While there, check out the other prospecting and news-gathering features that Salesloft provides. A wealth of research and customer relationship management information is available.
Home in on the people you really want to see. The end-of-the-year push isn't the time to waste efforts on business development strategies that are anything less than productive. One of the best methods to identify potential opportunities is to perform an advanced search on LinkedIn. Advisers should start by writing down their ideal prospects, being as specific as possible (title, company, geographic location, etc.). Next, go to the LinkedIn advanced search feature and enter those specifics. Advisers should search only first-degree connections (those already in their networks) or second-degree (those to whom advisers could easily be introduced). Assuming that advisers have taken the time to build their own LinkedIn connections, this search should yield a number of target clients and prospects. From the search results, advisers should make a commitment to identify and reach out to 20 people each month in an effort to schedule a meeting with them to discuss their financial situation and how to be a resource. One of the advisers we coach incorporated this strategy into her practice and has found it to be a very effective way to get introduced to, and meet with, new prospects. After only a few short months, she is averaging two new (but significant) accounts per month, simply by approaching her monthly list of 20.
Jump-start your prospecting efforts. Once an adviser crosses the finish line and achieves his or her year-end goals, it isn't the time to step off the gas. Too often, we see advisers run to the tape and then completely collapse. This can lead to a pretty awful January. Although advisers certainly should take a minute to celebrate their success, they should ensure that they don't begin to slack off. One of the best strategies that our clients use to combat this slump is a “prospecting jump-start.” We encourage this with all of our adviser clients and have found that it helps them stave off the holiday slump.
Over the next month, advisers should peruse their LinkedIn connections and identify five to 10 clients or centers of influence with whom they have a good, mutually beneficial relationship. Call those people, and schedule a time to meet with them before the end of the year. During that meeting, do three things: 1) Inquire about their year-end goals, as well as their 2014 goals, and share goals with them. 2) Ask them whom they need to meet or what they need to do to hit their goals, and figure out a way to help them get there. 3) Research the client beforehand and identify five individuals in their network to meet, and then ask for an introduction.
These three simple steps will allow advisers to tackle year-end goals and leave them in a great position to start next year strong.
Kristin Andree (kristin@andree media.com) is president of Andree Media & Consulting.