You have decided that you're serious about your business, and your career in the financial services industry is not one you take lightly. You're going to stop making house calls and start meeting people in a professional office environment. You are choosing to control their experience and to make it memorable. Where do you start?
How Do I Make the Transition?
First, you must find a professional environment in which to meet your prospects and clients. Start by contacting a local real estate agent who specializes in commercial office space. They know the market. An agent will be able to help you identify the right-fit rental near your ideal clients that suit your company's expanding needs.
Look for office rentals that come with access to a conference room, information technology, audiovisual equipment, utilities, and Wi-Fi included in the monthly rent. Shared office facilities often supply one or more receptionists, an attractive reception area with comfortable seating, a kitchen to store refreshments for your guests, and more.
You may also consider contacting a local shared office facility like Regus. These shared office centers offer amenities you may otherwise not be able to afford on a budget. Many of the advisors that we coach have found office space for rent between $300 & $1,000 per month. Of course, it all depends on location and services provided.
Congratulations, you have found a place for your business to call home. The next step is to change behavior. You need to change the behavior of your prospects and clients. This will be easier than you may think. More importantly however, you will need to change your behavior. This will be much more difficult than you may think.
You’ll have to discontinue jumping through hoops like a circus monkey for every prospect that gives you the time of day. Stop accommodating prospects and start asserting appointment rules.
You may be thinking that by offering to meet prospects at odd times of the day or night, and driving across town to visit them in their homes is a real service. It's not. It rarely benefits them enough to acknowledge it, and it is of no benefit to you. You're probably creating the opposite psychological effect of what you intended. You devalue yourself and the services your company provides when you start making accommodations that other professionals do not.
Setting Appointment Rules
Set appointment rules for yourself. Set strict rules on the days of the week, time of day you may be seen, and the location at which visits occur. Do not bend or break the rules, or you'll suffer the consequences of devaluing your services. Be assertive, not arrogant, in upholding your appointment rules. Don't enter into a power struggle with a prospect or client, but make certain that they understand and respect your rules. Make it loud and clear that you and your clients conduct business in an office during specific hours of the day, during specific days of the week. Accommodate them within those rules and be prepared to stand your ground.
It's hard for sales professional to turn down an opportunity for an appointment with a prospect. You may find yourself bending or breaking your own rules and devaluing your services. Old habits are hard to break.
Front Office Support
One way to make sure your appointment rules are properly enforced is to hire a front office staff member to help schedule your appointments. Their goal is different from yours. The front office staff member's goal is to schedule an appointment. They’re thinking, “You want to meet with Mrs. Advisor and these are the dates and times she may be seen.” The appointment scheduler will set appointments according to the rules that you set for the appointments. They will not feel the urge, or need, to bend to accommodate a pushy prospect.
Many of the advisers we coach find that hiring front office staff to schedule their appointments with new prospects is liberating. It often eliminates stress and anxiety they feel when they assert their appointment rules on a prospect or existing client. The prospects view of the advisor is also elevated. By utilizing a front office staff member, you are communicating an important message to the prospect. It tells the prospects, “I’m a busy advisor, and I value my time. You should too.”
Welcome to My Office
Are your prospects serious? You'll soon find out. Those who refuse to come to your office are not serious. Going to see them would have most likely been a waste of time. Those who are willing to adhere to your process, visit you in your office, and abide by your appointment setting rules are much more likely to follow through. Stick to your process, set appointment rules and attract serious prospects who will more likely become clients. Serious prospects and clients will respect your assertive manner, and your professional way of doing business. What are you waiting for? Prepare to welcome your prospects and clients to your new office.
Get the coaching you need improve all aspects of your financial services business, from establishing an office to holding annual review meetings. Learn more about Consistent Advisor and hear from other financial professionals how the program has improved their businesses.