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Speed Up Your Prospect-to-Client Sales Cycle

by Bill Cates
Speed It Up

During this pandemic, quite a few advisors are expressing frustration that it is taking longer to convert prospects into clients.

How about you? Taking longer? About the same?

I decided to do an unscientific study on this topic. I interviewed 37 financial professionals of different tenures and success levels to learn more about their experience. 

Roughly 80 percent of those I interviewed were experiencing this virtual-world-sales-cycle slowdown. BUT 20 percent were converting prospects to clients at the same pace as pre-pandemic.

Those interviews yielded the following 10 tips on how you can speed up your prospect-to-client conversion cycle.

  1. Make referrals/introductions your primary source of prospects.
    Keep moving away from leads, online seminars to cold prospects, and other methods of meeting prospects that are already known to have a lower and slower conversation rate.

  2. Add a referral component to your online seminars.
    If you feel you must continue to fill your pipeline with cold prospects, don’t forget to use referrals here. You can ask clients to invite people to your educational events, you can promote referrals at one event for your next event, and you can ask these prospects for referrals to appointments or future events.

  3. Make sure you get a great introduction from your referral source.
    Stop settling for weak or no introductions. Collaborate with your referral source for a meaningful introduction.  Here’s a recent blog on the topic: https://referralcoach.com/email-introductions-2/

  4. Be transparent with your process.
    How many steps are in your process of getting prospects, making recommendations, and onboarding?  If a prospect is unclear about your process they may abandon it. Let your confidence in your process show through. 

  5. Use an agenda for every meeting & share with your prospect.
    Using an agenda will usually result in a better managed meeting with time to cover all the items on the agenda. Share your agenda with the prospect before each meeting so they know what to expect and how to be prepared.

  6. Provide tangible value as quickly as you possibly can.
    The value and trust that you build quickly in a new relationship will often make a huge difference in how quickly you can earn that prospect’s business. One thing that builds trust quickly is bringing value as quickly as possible – in a way that doesn’t earn you a penny. For example, help your pre-retired clients determine what their Social Security payout will be at certain age points.

  7. Digitize all your materials to share on the computer screen.
    Don’t wait to mail something for your prospects to review. Review with them on the screen. Have all the documents open so you can move quickly between them.

  8. Make sure meeting times meet expectations.
    Whatever time you feel you need to bring value and cover the topics that need to be covered, confidently communicate that to your prospects so they don’t schedule something that will interfere with your agenda.

  9. Send summary emails with specific, expected action steps.
    If you believe your prospect is a good match for the work that you do, don’t end a meeting without specific next steps – on either their part, yours, or both. Then stay with the process to make sure everyone does their part.

  10. Get to the “GAP” or the critical issue as quickly as possible.
    People put off aspirational opportunities, but they will often move heaven and earth to plug a hole or solve a critical problem. If a prospect does not convert into a client, it may be because they didn’t recognize the critical nature of the problem you propose to solve. A great question to ask is, “What will happen if we don’t take action on this issue today?”


BONUS TIP – Lead the Process – Be the Expert – Expect the Result You Want
Here is my definition of Financial Leadership:  Helping people make educated decisions that are in their best interest that they wouldn’t make without you.

Taking a leadership role in the lives of your prospects and clients takes confidence. Lead this process in a way that produces the best possible outcome for your prospects and clients. Help them take the action that is in their best interest. That, by the way, may mean that you don’t take them on as a client – rather introducing them to a colleague who is better suited.

I’d love to learn what’s working for you in this area or what questions you have. Please leave a comment or ask a question below.