Saturday, June 30, 2007

Toward More Reasonable Expectations

To further the discussion of lead programs, I have reprinted an article that originally appeared on the blog. It is TRUE that a lot of the success of a lead program depends on the advisor and some advisors can make silk purses out of most any sow's ear. However, my life experience tells me that the more likely scenario is that when you start off on the wrong foot- you usually wind up on the wrong foot. I think the tips I gave are a starting point to helping you find a company that at least ATTEMPTS to produce decent leads.

I want to take just a few paragraphs to respond to the following posted comment-td:

8:49 AM

Anonymous said...

Now... For the people that are complaining about the sales tactics used to get people to signup to various NFCom programs, please stop your whining!

If you let an NFCom sales person lead you down a road to failure, shame on you for believing their 'sales pitch'!

If the NFCom sales person made it sound like whatever they wanted you to buy was a "sure thing", "the greatest thing since sliced bread", etc you should have instantly known to take it all with a grain (or pound) of salt...

I mean, seriously, did you really think that you could make millions selling annuities over the internet (from the comfort of your home, sitting in your boxer shorts)??

Now you know how the average investor feels when they are sold an equity indexed annuity with a 15 year surrender period!

A lot of what anonymous noted was and is true enough. We are all supposedly grownups who abandoned our slavish devotion to hype as soon as we discovered that Wheaties won't help you become a world class athlete. We now know and accept that 99.5% of all advertising and sales patter is pure bullshit.
However, as I like to point out to people who say "Conned by Klein? So what? They got what they deserved by believing his crap!" there is a huge difference in believing outrageous claims and having reasonable expectations.

To believe "stop wasting time prospecting" is to believe hype. To believe the sales script that "we find qualified seniors on the Internet" is, I feel, to have a reasonable expectation. After all, a company helping advisors to seniors should at least be ATTEMPTING to hit the desired demographic.

Anyone who has been in the business for a few years as have I, has undoubtedly fallen into the "let us make your prospecting easier" trap. Most all of us have been burned by some lead or approintment-setting program at least once.

NFavelin's approach, however, is just one-half toe away from crossing the line into fraud and deception. Not only do they not control the placement of their own ads (used to obtain "senior" information) but they purchase filler leads from a company they know uses such tactics as co-registration pages, surveys (where the prospect can't get out of the survey until they check something) and FREE offers of items such as I-Pods and gift certificates. A former client recently told me that out of 19 prospects he eventually contacted, 16 of them told him the only reason they found the ad is that they got an email promising some sort of coupon.

None of this is, of course, mentioned in the sales script. Yes, advisors SHOULD ask where they can go to see a live ad, they should ask exactly where these leads are coming from, and they SHOULD ask the true appointment ratio. If it isn't at least one appointment for each ten leads- then run- cold calling has better numbers!

Knowing full well that this is a numbers game, NFavelin and their minions hope that advisors will hit at least once in the first batch. After all, if you spray enough bullets around, you are bound to hit SOMETHING! If an advisor talks to enough people, he or she will probably find someone who has a need. The problem with that logic is that sooner or later, there just isn't time to "drip" on the volume of people needed to effect one sale.

The reason most people have fallen into the senior leads trap, I think, is not because of sloth or greed- it's because they are looking for ways to maximize their time and grow their businesses.

At first glance, senior leads seems attractive and logical- an ideal supplement to their current marketing efforts. It is no wonder so many have tried it only to discover that a phone book would have gotten the same results for much less money.

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