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Financial advisor making a cold callScaling your advisory business demands a solid marketing and lead-generation strategy. While financial advisor marketing is increasingly focused on digital channels, there’s still a case to be made for just picking up the phone. “Cold calling is one of the oldest, time-tested marketing methods in existence,” says David Wright, executive director of practice development at M&O Marketing in Southfield, Michigan. Wright, who coaches independent financial advisors on how to grow their businesses, says that cold calling can be particularly effective for new advisors who are seeking to generate leads in a cost-effective way. Having some cold calling scripts for financial advisors to follow can make it easier to execute this marketing tactic.

Why Cold Calling Works

Like any other marketing strategy, cold calling isn’t perfect for every situation. But when executed properly, it can be a powerful way to scale your advisory business.

“There’s something to be said for the communication, negotiation and networking skills that can be developed and honed through a cold calling experience,” Wright says.

That’s because cold calling can be critical to building relationships with prospective clients. Talking with prospects about their financial goals or needs can help with fostering personal connections, something that isn’t always easily achieved through email.

A cold call can open up a space for creating an ongoing dialogue that allows prospects to play a direct part in their financial decision-making, with you as their expert guide. Prospective clients may know they need help with shaping their financial plan and your cold call can be the trigger that prompts them to take action.

Cold Calling Scripts for Financial Advisors

When drafting a cold calling script to use for marketing, there are certain elements that are must-haves. You can ultimately tweak and customize a cold-calling script to fit your needs. But if you’re looking for a basic cold calling script template to follow, it can look something like this:

1. Introduce yourself

Any cold calling script starts with an introduction. This should identify who you are and mention any previous contact you might have had with a prospect if applicable.

Example: “Hi, my name is John Smith. I’m an advisor with XYZ Company and we chatted briefly at a virtual webinar a couple of weeks ago.”

This does two things. It establishes who you are and provides a lead-in for the call.

2. Warm up the call

Next, you can briefly mention more detail about your company. In sales and marketing circles, this part of a cold calling script is often referred to as the value proposition.

Example: “Our firm works with people like you who are navigating your peak earning years and looking for ways to maximize retirement savings while balancing other financial goals.”

This part of your cold calling script should be specific to what you do and who you help as an advisor. Avoid generalities but don’t overwhelm prospects with too many numbers of facts.

3. Elaborate

After making a brief warm-up statement, ask the person you’re calling if you can have a five to 10 minutes of their time. If they give the green light, expand on your warm-up statement in more detail.

Example: “One of the things I do is help clients pinpoint what their biggest challenges are with planning for retirement. I’d like to talk to you about some of the struggles you might be facing with creating your financial plan.”

This part of your cold calling script is where you’ll do most of the talking. But remember, you’re not trying to tie up their time. Instead, you’re using this as an opening to have a more in-depth conversation later.

4. Give the floor to the prospect

Once you’ve outlined why you’re calling, give the prospect a chance to talk. This is where it’s important to ask questions that can spark conversation.

Example: “Do you think that you’re on track to reach your retirement savings goal? If you’re not, what’s keeping you from getting there?”

Steer clear of yes or no questions, as those will take the conversation nowhere. And use the prospect’s answers to drill down with your questions so that you’re finding their pain points.

5. Close with a follow-up request

As you prepare to wrap up the call, ask the prospect if you can follow up with them at a later date.

Example: “Thank you for talking over your retirement plans with me today. Is there a time next week when we could reconnect and discuss some ways I might be able to help you in more detail?”

This part of the cold calling script requires you to make a direct request for more of a prospect’s time. And it’s possible they could say no.

But if you’ve been able to show some value and get the person thinking about what kind of help they may need by following the script, this could lead to a lengthier discussion down the line.

Cold Calling Tips for Financial Advisors

Wright says there’s no magic script or formula that can guarantee that a cold call will turn into a warm lead. But there are some basic elements to include in your cold calls that could help you get—and stay—on a prospective client’s radar.

  • Start with the right mindset. Before picking up the phone to make a cold call, it’s important to get in the right headspace. “Attitude is everything when you’re making cold calls,” Wright says. “It’s easy to get discouraged, so don’t let doubt or fear run your day.”
  • Show enthusiasm. The people you’re calling can feed off of your personality so set a positive tone early. Aim for professionalism always be at the same time, talk to prospects in a way that’s friendly and approachable.
  • Be upfront about why you’re calling. The fastest way to get a prospect to hang up is to beat around the bush about why you’re calling. So when someone answers your cold call, briefly introduce yourself and the reason for your call.
  • Be polite. After you’ve given a brief introduction, ask your prospect if it’s a good time to chat. Wright says cold calling is a form of interruption marketing so it’s important to be respectful of a potential client’s time.
  • Put your services in context. Again, cold calling is not about listing out your greatest achievements; it’s about you talking through specific solutions you can provide as an advisor. So as you’re discussing a prospective client’s challenges or needs, tailor your answers to their specific situation and what value you can provide.

Financial Advisor Cold Calling Mistakes to Avoid

Female financial advisor on a cold callWhile having a script for cold calling can be helpful, there are some mistakes that could cost you a prospect. For example, Wright says that delaying making an initial call after someone has expressed interest could be costly. By the time you get around to calling, they may have moved on to another advisor. In fact, research shows that firms who contact a lead within an hour of receiving it are seven times as likely to qualify the lead.

It’s also important to keep in mind that cold calls alone may not be enough to convince a prospect to use your services. Your cold calling script should be the first touchpoint of the client journey, and you should have clear follow-up steps planned out for the prospect in your script.

Social media, email, text messages or video messaging can all be used to supplement cold calling efforts. Just don’t fall into the trap of message bombing a prospect as that could alienate them.

Practice your cold calling script and what you plan to say before you make the call. And if you don’t get an enthusiastic response or your efforts aren’t generating leads, consider what you may need to change or improve. Bouncing ideas off other advisors you know who have successfully used cold calling to grow their businesses may help.

The Bottom Line

A group of financial advisors discuss marketingCold calling may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. It does, however, require some research and practice on your end to perfect and using cold calling scripts for financial advisors is just one part of that. Most importantly, remember to be persistent with your efforts to see a payoff. “A ‘no’ today, does not mean a ‘no’ forever,” Wright says. “Timing is everything and if someone shoots you down, politely let them know you will stay in touch with them just in case anything should ever change.”

More Tips for Cold Calling Clients

  • Consider the time of day that you plan to make cold calls, based on your target client base. If you’re primarily interested in working with young couples, for example, then you may want to make cold calls in the afternoon or evenings. If you primarily focus on retirees or those close to retirement, morning calls may work better. Using lead generation services can help make it easier to connect with individuals that fit your ideal client profile.
  • Keep track of cold calls and follow-up calls. When you make the follow-up call, be prepared to reiterate your value to a prospective client in more detail. Taking notes during your calls can help with fine-tuning your pitch and potentially lead to more sales.
  • Be mindful of how much time you commit to cold calling versus other lead generation strategies. Comparing results from cold calling, cold emailing and other marketing channels can help you determine which one offers the best return on investment so you can better allocate your time. You can also save time by using a service like SmartAdvisor, which delivers leads directly to your inbox. You only pay for investors that fit your client profile.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/izusek, ©iStock.com/visualspace, ©iStock.com/AndreyPopov

Rebecca Lake Rebecca Lake is a retirement, investing and estate planning expert who has been writing about personal finance for a decade. Her expertise in the finance niche also extends to home buying, credit cards, banking and small business. She's worked directly with several major financial and insurance brands, including Citibank, Discover and AIG and her writing has appeared online at U.S. News and World Report, CreditCards.com and Investopedia. Rebecca is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and she also attended Charleston Southern University as a graduate student. Originally from central Virginia, she now lives on the North Carolina coast along with her two children.
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