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I Am Your Boomer Prospect

Use this six-step prospecting technique to reach that leading edge of Baby Boomers who aren’t ready for retirement.

By Jeffrey Dobkin

I turn 60 this year; I never thought I’d get this old. Yet, here I am. Everything is strangely the same as when I was younger, except—not. I take size 32-inch pants, but a 36-inch waist feels so much better. And oh, yeah—sometimes my back hurts. And that pain matches perfectly with the pain in my right heel when I wake up each morning. And sometimes my elbow—oh, never mind.

But don’t ever call me old. I still ride a bicycle and a motorcycle, and I drive with the top down in all but the coldest weather or heaviest downpour. I’m ranked No. 4 in the state in racquetball. I dirt bike on weekends. At this point, I’ve seen it all—I just can’t remember it.

You see, I am your Boomer prospect. There are lots more out there just like me, and here’s how to get our attention and get us all to listen to you about our financial retirement planning, of which I—er, we—have done very little.

1. Get me to call you. It’s not that hard. Mail me something interesting. Forget all the generic letters and brochures your providers offer—we both know that stuff doesn’t work. Send me a real letter or a homemade postcard, something with a personal touch.

2. Use the right pitch. Don’t put a sales pitch in that letter or postcard. I’ve heard them all; it’ll turn me off and I’ll throw it away. Briefly mention your firm and the products or services you offer.

DESIGNING YOUR FREE BOOKLET

Your booklet should not be a product brochure or a sheet of paper folded into thirds with a list of products and doomsday retirement predictions. A personalized leaflet that will pique your prospects’ curiosity with a snappy title that will make them reach for the phone. Some examples:

• “How to never retire, but have all the money you need without working anymore.”
• “It’s never too late–or to early–to plan for retirement.”
• “9 questions to ask your financial advisor.”
• “10 questions you should ask that your accountant won’t have the answer for but a good financial advisor will.”
• “How to select a financial advisor: 13 questions to ask that separate the good ones from the bad ones.”
• “A progressive plan for people without a retirement plan—or money enough to retire comfortably.”

3. Come up with a giveaway. Then show me—tell me—about what I can get for free, if only I just pick up the phone and call you. Offering a free anything reduces call reluctance. What can you offer for free? How about a valuable new booklet?

I’ll leave it to you to create your booklet interior pages; they are not as important. The objective of the piece is to get me to call you for this valuable booklet, FREE. (Always set the word FREE in all capital letters.)

4. Establish a relationship. When I call for your booklet, don’t go into a sales pitch, and don’t ask about my financial goals. It’s way too early in the sales cycle. Just start a conversation. And don’t simply take down my name and address. Create a trusted friendship with me on the phone. Use interesting comments and questions between getting my name and address. It’s relationship marketing, and it will allow you to qualify me, subtly.

But don’t sell me anything yet, because I’m not buying at this point. But I am open to some subtle questioning because I am getting something for free, and I don’t want to jeopardize that. The objective of this call is to qualify the recipient: so ask a few simple qualifying questions. Also write down my interests, the name of my kids, my activities. Find my hot button. I’ll talk motorcycles with you, anytime. Close the conversation by telling me you’ll send the booklet right away.

5. Call back after sending the booklet. Don’t ask if I received it. (Yeah, I got it. Thanks. Click.) Ask if there is additional information I need that you can provide. Then simply chat. Show some personality. It’s OK to have a few written jokes or notes of what to talk about. (Remember, you took notes about what I’m interested in.) Ask if there are questions about anything in your entire field. Anything. Then pause. The silence will make the prospect talk and ask a question.

6. Set the appointment. If it doesn’t look like you’ll be able to set the appointment during this call, here’s a way to secure another follow-up call. When an intelligent question comes up, don’t answer it. Say, “That’s a good question! I’ll research that and call you back with an exact answer.” This technique sets up another phone call. Now you have a relationship. You’ve established a bond, a trust with a solid valid reason to call back.

Call back with the answer, additionally qualify the prospect and if qualified, set that appointment. It’s a soft sell, but it’s still a formula. Once you know how to use the formula, it works all the time.

© 2006 Jeffrey Dobkin. Used with permission.

Jeffrey Dobkin is a direct marketing copywriter (letters, postcards and brochures) who is also a funny and fast-paced speaker on how to get sales leads and generate phone calls. He’s written two books on direct marketing techniques and one on humor. Call him at 610-642-1000 or visit www.dobkin.com.


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