Why any advisor would be concerned about the national do-not-call registry confuses me. Why would anyone waste time marketing in a way in which the prospect doesn’t call you first? Advisors who depend on cold calling waste 90 percent of their time accepting rejection, and then get blown out of business by a regulation that shouldn’t have impacted them anyway.
Here’s how you get prospects to act first:
Place ads offering a free booklet to those in a very specific market. For example, I run an ad offering a booklet that will appeal specifically to those who own annuities, and interested people call me to get the booklet. I can now call them back as it is no longer a cold call. I make appointments with about 20 percent of the respondents because they came to me first; I did not chase them.
The ad should be emotionally compelling to a very specific, targeted audience. To write an “emotionally compelling” ad takes skill and practice. I recommend Magic Words That Bring You Riches by Ted Nicholas, or Cash Copy by Jeffery Lant to learn advertising techniques.
You should also make a nonintimidating offer to prospects, something that is of genuine value to the respondent, but doesn’t require too much commitment on their part. A booklet or seminar invitation discussing solutions to the problem raised in your ad is a good example. The ad must ask for a response.
Send direct mail requesting a response. The same rules that apply to advertisements apply to direct mail. The direct mail piece should offer a free booklet or an invitation to a seminar. Every advisor thinks that “direct mail doesn’t work in my area” or “my area is saturated with seminars.” If this is true, then why are other advisors, who use these techniques, successful? Because they do the work to uncover the science of seminars and direct mail.
Have a television show. This does not take gobs of money. You can produce and air six television shows for under $1,500 using the free community access stations in your area. The cable company in every town must provide one free station and offer air time to anyone with a noncommercial message. So you air an educational show and then offer the transcript to viewers who call. These callers are excellent prospects. Remember this has worked well for Suze Orman and many others.
Get free press. If you have advice to offer, craft a press release outlining your qualifications as an expert on financial matters and send it to your local paper. If you can write something interesting—or have a professional writer write it for you—you can get free press that will make your phone ring.
These cold-calling alternatives let you target quality prospects in genuine need of your services. By targeting your message, the vast majority of people who come to you will want what you have to offer. Thus you begin your relationship on a positive note.
The new do-not-call list may signal the end of a popular, but archaic and time-consuming way to find new clients, but it’s not a harbinger of doom and gloom for the advisor seeking to grow his book of business. The best thing about the do-not-call list is that it may finally force some advisors to learn how to market, resulting in more business than can ever be achieved by calling strangers.
Larry Klein is a CPA/Personal Financial Specialist and Certified Senior Advisor. He offers marketing programs to financial advisors throughout the United States. He can be contacted through his website, www.nfcom.com.