Many financial advisors I speak with believe that they can grow their business if they have more prospects to see. There’s truth to this. Without prospects to see, you are unemployed. If you don't have anybody to serve, then you're out of business. Unfortunately, many of those same advisors are poor at prospecting and are struggling to get more clients. Often it comes down to lack of direction, focus, and commitment to prospecting efforts.
Strategy for Next Year
One of the simplest ways to inject direction and focus into your prospecting effort is by drafting and adhering to a marketing calendar. With the marketing calendar in hand, you and your team will know exactly what needs to be done daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi annually, and annually. The 4th quarter of the year is a great time to work on your marketing calendar for the following year. Although, any time of the year is a great time to start if you don’t have one to begin with.
Not as Many Days as You Think
There are 365 days in a year, however you only have a fraction of those in which to execute your prospecting activities. When you lay out your marketing calendar, you’ll realize that weekends and holidays chew up a significant number of days. What remains, approximately 264 days, is what you have to work with. You’ll need to coordinate your team's energy to execute the primary prospecting activities that will keep your pipeline of prospects full.
Use one of those remaining days, preferably today, to order a wall calendar for the upcoming year. Your favorite office supply retailer carries these in store or online. Preferably order a calendar that is 2' x 3' or larger. It will only cost $30, and it is worth every cent.
Now with your wall calendar in hand, the first step of developing an annual marketing calendar is to write down all of your personal and family affairs. Anniversaries, birthdays, weddings that you know about, and family vacations should go down on the calendar first. Now you'll notice that scheduling is getting really tight. Out of the remaining days, you just chewed up another 20 to 30. You only have a few weeks left out of the year to flawlessly execute your prospecting activities.
Plan Workshops in Advance
Mark off days for your primary prospecting activities. If you host workshops, determine which days of each month that you would like to have them. Fill your entire calendar with the workshop dates throughout the year. If you are hosting two workshops per month, there goes another 24 days off your calendar.
The most common push back I'll get from advisers on this approach to planning is that they don't know where and when they will host a workshop ten months from now. This is just an excuse and not a legitimate reason for not completing the calendar. I understand things will change, but if it's not on the calendar it likely won't happen at all. Put it on the calendar and as you near that date, your team will determine specifically where and when that workshop will be hosted.
If you have to call an audible on the dates you can do it on the fly. If something comes up, or the venue is not available on the day you want, your team can make a simple adjustment. Nevertheless you'll be dedicated and committed to executing the prospecting activity.
Additional Prospecting Opportunities
After you have marked down your primary prospecting activities, move on to your secondary activities. Which days, weeks, or months do you plan to execute your secondary prospecting activity? Perhaps your secondary prospecting activities are speaking at social clubs and networking events, or you routinely execute client events throughout the year. Whatever it may be, mark down those days throughout the year that you will dedicate to those prospecting activities.
Finally, make room for your tertiary prospecting activities. These may be special seasonal events within your community. One of my friends in the industry donates his time and resources for several events. His team helps their community put on one of the best Fourth of July celebrations around. Each winter they support and participate in the community Christmas celebration kicking off the holiday season.
Time Management is Critical
You'll notice your calendar is getting pretty full. On a weekly basis, there's little room left for anything else. Each week has some activity going on, and each activity will take time and resources to make it happen. Work backwards from the calendar event, and mark off the days in advance that each step must be taken in order for the prospecting activity to come off without a hitch.
If you are hosting workshops, you'll need to know the location 5 weeks in advance. The invitation needs to be prepared 4 weeks prior to the event, in order for the mailer to go out at least 3 weeks in advance. Even if another member of your team is responsible for making this happen, it should go on the calendar so everybody knows when things need to be done in order to execute the prospecting activity flawlessly.
It's Worth the Effort
Making up a 12 month marketing calendar is no easy task. I suppose this is why most advisors don't do it. It's easier to make an excuse of why you can't do it, then to sit down with your team and hash it out. However, the most successful advisers I know have a well-planned marketing calendar. It acts as a guide to keep their prospecting consistent, their pipeline full, and helps them budget their marketing resources throughout the year.
Are you tired of wondering where your next prospect is going to come from? Then what are you going to do about it? If you desire consistency and predictability in your business, don’t delay any longer. Plan your year with a marketing calendar. Commit to executing the prospecting activities on it. If you do, you can stop the up and down roller coaster ride of inconsistant activity. You can generate consistent activity that results in more predictable business, and clear direction for your entire team.