In this column from Insurance Journal’s archives, Jim Ruta explains four basic ways to prospect better. 

Q: Please explain prospecting so that I can understand it better.  

Prospecting is the art and science of finding quality people with a need you can resolve; who appreciate it should be resolved; have the money to resolve it; and who can be seen in the foreseeable future under favourable circumstances by you. When you know the 4 basic ways to you can do that, you can prospect more effectively.

Please understand that prospecting is not so much about finding buyers as it is about eliminating non-buyers. When someone says “No”, you have eliminated a non-buyer and are doing your job. Not everyone is a potential buyer. For most people, the timing is wrong today. That’s why you get turned down more often than not.

Here are the 4 Cs of Prospecting:

Create: “Create” your own prospects by educating your marketplace on improving their lives. This gains their confidence and ultimately their business. You can do this especially well with social media providing valuable information to a selected audience. It’s earning their business before you earn the commission.

Share essential financial security information. But don’t sell. Any financial, estate planning, tax, planning, philanthropic, bookkeeping, accounting, or regulatory issue that you can competently report on, is good. After 5 or more such contacts you can ask if the information is helpful and if they would like to continue receiving it. If they do, you are creating a prospect.

Prospecting is like chasing cats. If you chase cats, they run away. If you shake that treats bag and get their interest, they will come to you. Attract your prospects - don’t chase them.

Prospect on LinkedIn and Facebook. Join groups of prospects you want as clients. Provide helpful input and valuable information. Give away what you want to sell, and people will flock to you to buy it and have it “installed” too. People want to work with those that help them.

 Search among the connections or friends of your best clients to clone them. Make a list of the best friends or connections of your best clients. Then share the list and tell them you plan to speak with people on the list but want to know who you should not talk to. This helps people help you make the right choices.

Convert: It sounds backwards but we can also convert our clients into prospects. This is not a “one sale, goodbye” business. We must stay in touch, update, and improve the value of our work and their holdings. That’s service.

Many top producers convert their (and their competitors’) existing clients into new prospects using annual policy reviews. Studies show people buy eight times in their lives. If you aren’t checking for their next time, someone else is.

Initiate this process by asking, “Would you have any objection to reviewing your life insurance policies with me?” “No” to this question means “yes” you can review the polices. Perfect.

What’s a simple review? Ask: “Why did you buy these policies?” “Has anything changed in your personal or business life since then?” “Have you ever updated your beneficiary designations?” “Would you like a list of your policies, benefits, values, deposits and beneficiaries?” – and then deliver. Following up annually attracts business every year because life changes needs.

Connect: Connect with people experiencing trigger events like a new home mortgage, a new child or family, a new business, a business loan, marriage, separation, or divorce… This warm audience is open to single financial security marketing because they have an obvious need that opens the door to deeper planning. Some of them are even shopping for products because these trigger events make them want security. Intercept them with informational marketing and you will get your share of their business.

Watch social media too. Many life changes show up on social media and you can pass along helpful information at just the right time. No selling. Just helping. Social Media is your Prospect Marketplace.

Newer neighbourhoods are loaded with people who did not all get mortgage cancellation insurance when they bought their mortgage. They are even better prospects now because their new home expenses and budget are understood, and they can buy with more confidence.

Convince: Some advisors say you should never ask for referrals and are better “being referrable” - worthy of referrals. But if you don’t have that background you must ask. “As you read your policy report, who came to mind as also benefitting from a policy review?”

Essential to receiving referrals is to convince them that you will make them look good – that’s referrable. Be someone they would proudly introduce to their family and friends. That takes ICON character - demonstrating integrity to build trust; commitment to build confidence; obsession to create urgency; and naturalness to engender loyalty.

The 4 C’s of Prospecting explain the 4 ways to build a clientele and create high-performance. Master two of them and you will write your own ticket to the top.

This column by renowned advisor coach Jim Ruta was first published in the June 2021 edition of Insurance Journal magazine.

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Jim Ruta’s mission is simple – to preserve, promote and propel the financial advisor business. A former insurance advisor and executive manager of a 250-advisor agency, Jim is a highly regarded coach, author, podcaster and keynote speaker. He has spoken 4 times at the MDRT Annual Meeting including the Main Platform. Jim Ruta is an Executive Coach and Keynote speaker specializing in life insurance advisors and leaders. He works with top advisors around the world and re-energizes audiences with his deep insight and passion. 

If you have a question for Jim, you may send an email to [email protected]