The costs of financial services sales leads can be more than the number written on a proposal, a contract, or on a financial report. Unless you evaluate them fairly and in ever aspect possible, you cannot confidently say the price was or (was not) worth paying.
Don’t be confused by the title. Customer satisfaction still plays a key role if you want to use their loyalty and retention as a means of generating new sales leads. However customer satisfaction is never static (especially in financial planning and management). It can change over time so you need to do more than just determine whether or not a client is satisfied. You need to know what keeps them satisfied, how to keep them satisfied, and be on the look out for what could compromise that satisfaction before it hits.
On iMediaConnection, Tom Cates sums this up nicely, explaining three signs of customer defection. While his particular focus is on software companies, you’ll find it can easily apply to financial planning services and generating sales leads from your respective customers:
“You’re not on your client’s speed dial.”
“When your client has a support problem, a service question, or needs to talk over an issue, do they call your team first?”
This is perhaps even more critical in financial planning. Why would your clients consult anyone other than you? What’s the point of them maintaining business with your firm if you’re already losing out to a possible competitor? As Cates suggests, find out who that competitor is. But at this point, be careful. You don’t want to come off as jealous or overly competitive. Stay objective and determine if the specific issue that your customer wanted resolved should have been well within your expertise to handle or it could actually have been something else entirely.
“You’re client uses the F-word a lot.”
If you’re already dreading that you know this word, think twice. It could be the complete opposite:
“When a client says everything is ‘fine,’ nothing is further from the truth. This dirty four-letter word signals disaster and should be translated to, ‘Everything is not fine, but I don’t want to get into the details with you because it’s not worth my time.’”
Now there can be more ways to understand what a prospect means by ‘fine’ compared to what Cates is saying. After all, making assumptions will only compromise the interest and won’t bring you any closer to making financial planning leads. If you’re still afraid of no longer being considered worthy of your customer’s time then don’t just press for more feedback. Reflect on your company’s past actions and see if you’ve actually acted on the feedback they’ve given you before. Don’t waste the efforts of those who listened and recorded your customers’ concerns when you never made any significant response to what was said. Still, make sure you keep encouraging them for feedback. Don’t be afraid to contact them every now and then getting them to say anything beyond simply ‘fine’.
“Your client is uninvolved and disengaged.”
“But when a client begins to withhold important details, “forgets” to copy you on an email, or stops contributing their ideas, you should be concerned. Relationships are a two-way street, and if your client isn’t fully invested, they might be on the road to defection.”
As previously implied, don’t also forget to collaborate closely with your client. In fact, if you’ve already outsourced for your financial sales leads, then you should already know what collaboration entails. It means getting in touch. Speaking of which, it’s why there’s not much difference between outsourcing the process and doing it yourself. Either way, you need to constantly hear from your customers whether it’s through your provider or your own lead generator.
Customer feedback isn’t only for knowing their satisfaction, it’s to educate you on how to keep up that satisfaction.
At first glance, B2B financial planning sounds big. Therefore, some people would assume that appointment setting for those services will only demand high-paying clients The idea that it could target small businesses sounds rather remote. After all, businesses and professionals who are in this industry tend to give off an image of financial experts overseeing vast amounts of data and being on the look out for potential problems as well as positive growth. That doesn’t seem to fit the usual image of small businesses who approach financial planning at a comparatively simpler level.
But on the contrary, even small businesses can make possible candidates for your sales leads. The factors which appear to disqualify them are only misunderstood:
- Budget – Their small budget doesn’t always rule them out. You just need to look at yourself first and see if there’s anything they would like that doesn’t warrant beyond their own capacity to earn. Try to see if you can promote a service which is a simplified version of your larger ones. Simple is your best bet when targeting small businesses.
- Expertise – It’s not entirely they’re fault if they’re averse to complex solutions. Small businesses are small partly because there are humbler things to handle, finances included. Therefore, a simpler solution is also easier to understand compared to the ones you give to larger companies.
- Needs – Just because their needs are clear doesn’t mean you can just make the sale over the phone or through online communication. These people could still be too busy for that. You need B2B appointment setting because it allows you both to set the best time and place to discuss a financial management solution.
Now as for defining your small business targets, simply look to possible reasons for why their owners could use some financial advice:
- They might be starting out – Financial reasons always play a part on why start-ups fail. It doesn’t even take a lot to understand why. Mishandling money always results in having less and less of it to spend and keep up. Their desire for basic financial planning expertise is enough to make them possible financial leads.
- They could be expanding – When an organization grows, so does the amount of money they earn and spend. This can even warrant more than just basic financial expertise. Approaching these businesses when they’re in the midst of changing sizes could potentially turn them into another high-paying client!
- They can be prone to shady or bad business practices – First off, bad doesn’t necessarily mean criminal. It can just mean they’re committing a grave financial mistake they’re not aware of. Misconceptions always abound in money management. Shady practices on the other hand are a whole different story. It may not even be limited to your targets but also schemes that prey on gullible small business owners (e.g. investment fraud).
The above reasons are just the more popular ones but you could learn about a few more if you just take a shot at targeting small businesses. It’s only a matter of knowing how to simplify and share your knowledge. No matter how advanced your own services have become, there will always be those who still don’t know the basics. So what are you waiting for? Don’t be afraid to turn your sights to small businesses every now and then!
It’s been almost a month since the Supreme Court ruled to keep Obamacare in place and many people are still unsure as to what this could mean. One thing is clear though. It will still impact the B2B insurance market and might even alter the eligibility of some businesses as qualified leads. This video from FoxBusiness tries to present these effects and whether or not you believe it, there are some things you can still do in case it proves true:
The following effects mentioned in the video are as follows:
Changes in Insurance
Both the effects on private consumers and on businesses are spelled out here. Now, should there really be a significant change in your plans, you would obviously watch out for reactions from the business community. If this is right, this might cause them to change their minds. Leads qualified previously are now bust because the changes of have made your offers ‘uneconomical’. Still, maybe that’s just their perception. Try and set an appointment with the insurance prospect with the offer of showing how your business isn’t as compromised by the law as they think.
The rising costs of healthcare is becoming less and less disputed. However, there’s still a possibility that some forms of it will only get more expensive. These factors may not be within your control as a health insurance provider but that doesn’t mean there aren’t costs within your control at all. For example, start outsourcing non-core functions that seem to take up too much money. If your own business just can’t afford the time and money to invest in processes that aren’t close to its core, then you’ll save more if you just let a more experienced company take the wheel.
Big Changes in 2014
The so-called big changes here appear to only affect your market but then again, that should only give you more reason to make it your concern. Fortunately, this simply means you have a sort of deadline to find as many leads as possible. And not only that, you should be ready to pursue them and close the deal before the penalties start to hit. Try to coordinate with your prospects and use the set appointments to help plan things out.
“A Whole New Ball Game”
Last but definitely not the least, you have the possibility put forth by the coming elections. Should Obama’s political opponents succeed and repealing the healthcare reform is the natural consequence of that success, then you need to prepare for that as well. At this point though, it does beg the question on how much your plans should depend so much on the political atmosphere. On further reflection, isn’t it too unstable? Given that, perhaps the best course of action for marketing is one that’s willing to adapt without necessarily changing anything integral. Granted, there might be some changes provoked by these plans that should be mentioned in your marketing messages. Despite that, perhaps all you need is to simplify the other three adjustments mentioned above into a more consistent model:
- Use appointments to set things straight.
- Outsource non-core processes.
- Have a deadline when generating and pursuing leads.
B2B doesn’t have to be strictly limited to one company looking to do business with another. Sometimes it can be a lot smaller than it implies. It could even be just an individual professional (such as a financial planner) looking to do something major for a small business owner. The subject matters discussed are still strictly B2B in nature (e.g. planning for things like taxes, insurance, risk management).
And as such, you as an individual shouldn’t be afraid to use B2B-oriented methods and start looking for your own B2B leads. Your skills are very specialized and only a business, even just a small one, can really make good use of it. However, valuable as they are, you need to really be careful in finding out who needs them the most.
Getting information isn’t easy and certain openings may not present themselves even on the classified ads. To fully expand your horizons, you need to cover all areas of getting in touch with possible prospects.
Of course, getting such a wide coverage might be too much for a single person. The methods just by themselves will tax any individual: cold calling, personalizing email, scouring directories. You’ll also have to take care in determining if you’re talking to the person who’s in the right position to hire you. Are you also aware that they don’t like people who talk too much about themselves? This means you might even have to gather more than just contact data to impress your targets. And by the time it’s your turn to tell these people who you are, you might be better off setting up a small meeting for it.
It’s all right to feel unprepared to conduct a lead generation campaign by yourself. Why? Well it’s not like you really have to.
The thing you need to remember is that you should place your value only on the information. You’re looking for people who could use the advanced skills of a financial planner but these are likely to be rather high on the corporate ladder. All you really need is to get these people interested in you. If you have to set up financial appointments, then do it! If you really insist on being afraid, then be more afraid of what happens if you don’t try to make opportunities for yourself.
You won’t get work. You won’t get paid. You don’t really need to keep going just to guess where that road is going to take you.
With that established, you just have to find a cost-efficient way to gather the information you need. There are plenty of cost-efficient ways to get an appointment setter without necessarily turning your office or home into a makeshift call center. If you use outsourced telemarketing, then you’ll have all the information you’ll need.
The point is you need work but your work needs the approval of an entire business organization. You won’t get it unless you really do your homework and get as much information as you can. The more leads you have, the more opportunities you’ll get to finally start working.