Of The Essence: The Best Time To Contact A Prospect

How quickly do you contact a prospect? Do you do any web-based prospecting for your practice? Do you have contact forms available on your firm’s website or are you part of an advisor directory like ours or a professional association where consumers can find you? Did you attend a community event and put out contact forms? Do you have a solid referral process in place?

If so, you probably have a database of leads coming in regularly…and how quickly you respond to them will either greatly increase or diminish your chance of success with them. While it may seem reasonable to just keep calling new introductions over and over until they meet with you, common sense (and our own experiences) would tell us otherwise. No one wants to be harassed and have their phones blowing up all day from someone they haven’t even met … even if they came looking for you to begin with.

The key is balance and the strategic use of data.

Though John’s developed an excellent objection handling system within the practice management system he’s built, he’s also extremely calculated in not only when he reaches them, but how quickly.

The science is on his side

We live in a world with fast-food on every corner. Internet speeds that can download entire Lord of the Rings trilogy within 5 minutes. We are a society that thrives on speed and instant gratification. So it’s so surprise that those consumer habits also follow prospects into their financial planning world. When they’ve decided they want service, they wanted it yesterday. Thus it’s no surprise that the faster you contact a lead, the better.

lead response study done by InsideSales.com indicated that following up with a web-based lead within 5 minutes is several thousand times more likely to be successful than those who wait 30 minutes. In fact, according to the study, the odds of being able to contact a lead fall 10 times over within 60 minutes from their initial submission.

The study also suggests that every phone call you or your team has to make just to try and contact your prospect (without moving further down the pipeline) actually hurts your chances of getting that first, imperative meeting with them if no contact has been made within the first 20 hours.

Of The Essence_ The Best Time To Contact A Prospect - Blog Post Header _ CWA Network

The study was incredibly comprehensive to boot, indicating that Wednesdays & Thursdays are the best times to call a new introduction increases by almost 50% over the worst day of the week. Calling on these two days also increased the chance of closing on your goal (generally a first meeting) by almost 25%.

But there may be a caveat to which day of the week is best to call.

A sales optimization study by Velocify suggested that calling a prospect within one minute drastically increases contact rates than waiting 30 minutes. Sure, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get a meeting with them if you screen them and find them to not be a good fit (and remember, it IS okay to turn away clients if it won’t be a good match) but it does greatly diminish the chance of failure.

Within the first day, conversions were up to 156% more likely to occur if contact was made within the first minute verses only 58% if within 30 minutes. That’s an enormous difference! It drops another 25% if it takes 1-2 hours. The drop off is absolutely devastating if it goes beyond 42 hours.

Maximize those introductions

The results are in – follow up with your prospects ASAP; 1 minute is best but under 30 minutes is imperative. Everything drops off after that, regardless of the origin of your lead.

But what happens when you’ve contacted the prospect? Do you have a system in place? Or a script? Advisors we talk to regularly say they often “wing it” when it comes to the phone calls they make to potential new clients. Some are a bit more comfortable and are good at mirroring concerns and fielding questions, but that particular skill comes with experience. If it’s not something you’ve perfected, having the most efficient first conversation can be intimidating, especially if you’re met with objections from the prospect right off the bat. The colder the lead, the more likely it is that you’ll run into that.

However, there’s no shame in having scripted responses. In fact, practicing them ensures your confidence – we want you to be confident from the start. We know, from almost 20 years of experience in the financial planning field, that the more research you do on your prospects and the tighter niche you find those prospects in, the greater your success will be.


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