Sunday, May 31, 2009

3 Steps to Get More Referrals

by Bill Cates

Referral Coach International

(td says: "Don't forget Bill's upcoming web class on June 15th:"Get High Quality Referrals from CPA's" register at:

I love it when I learn new referral strategies from advisors attending my seminars and referral boot camps. Just got a new one I want to share with you. I got it from an advisor named David in Cincinnati, OH.

David has a simple process that he says always nets him five or more referrals every time he uses it. That is a lot of referrals!

Six months into a new relationship, he invites his relatively new client to a meal, usually lunch, to thank them for their business and to learn more about them. He asks three questions that helps him build the relationship and garner referrals.

  1. How did you get to where you are today? Of course, this question will vary depending on what type and level of success this client has achieved. Basically, David wants to learn more of his client's "story." This conversation usually lasts about 20-30 minutes. He asks good questions along the way to really get to know his client's story and he listens attentively.

  2. What do you think I could do to improve how I serve my clients? Usually small business owners, salespeople, and other types of professionals usually have an idea or two to share. So, the length of this conversation can vary.

  3. If you were in my shoes, who would you want to meet? Here come the referrals. Getting a client to see themselves in your shoes is an age-old, tried- and-true technique. As I mentioned above, he always gets at least five referrals.

Now isn't that simple? This is a great strategy you can begin to employ right away with every new client. I don't see why you can't hold this same type of lunch meeting with your existing clients. Do you?

Relationship Prospecting: Starting from Scratch

I received an email recently from an advisor who had moved to a new area. Though he had a significant client base where he lived before, he knew he needed to start developing a new base of clients. He asked me for my advice on how to build a referral business from scratch. Here's my response...

"Thanks for taking the time to write and for your kind words about my referral system. Below are some basic things you can do to get your practice going in N.C. These are probably not new ideas for you, but perhaps my list will get your creative juices flowing - that leads to action.

  1. Get out in the community as much as you possibly can: charity events, chambers of commerce, fund raisers, community service work, etc. Don't just look for prospects, look for CPAs, attorneys, real estate agents, and any other type of center of influence.

  2. Look for opportunities to speak to groups, not public seminars, but at clubs, business groups, churches, etc.

  3. Look for one or more niches to serve. Especially small business owners in specific industries. Small business owners generally give referrals more readily than other types of folks.

  4. Just plain find ways to meet as many people as you can in any capacity possible. Lead with an attitude of service. Be willing to give them referrals in any way possible.

Again, probably nothing you haven't thought of before. Much of this is a function of spending enough time in these activities, as well as learning how to leverage your new relationships.

Ready to crack the CPA Referral Code?...

If so, you won't want to miss this...

NEW High-Content Web Class

Get High-Quality Referrals from CPAs
An Educational Web Class with Bill Cates

Monday June 15, 2009
1:00p Eastern 12:00p Central 11:00a Mountain 10:00a Pacific

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Weekly Roundup: New Webinar Downloads and More!

by Tammy de Leeuw
Financial Advisor Netzone

Thanks to all who were on the live webcasts with Robert Breiner and Peter Vessenes. Hope you had as much fun as I did.

For the next week or so, you can download these webinars securely via YouSendit simply by going to one of these two links:

May 26th Webinar: Peter Vessenes: How to Make Money In A Market Downturn. Business turnaround expert and author Peter Vessenes talks about the other side of running a successful small business- SOUND FISCAL MANAGEMENT. Join us as we discover how to run a leaner, meaner financial services practice.

May 27th Webinar: Take Another Look At Send Out Cards with Robert Breiner- Windows media recording

I always have fun with Robert, a real agent down in LA LA Land who uses the Send Out Cards system better than anyone I know. It is working for him to get more referrals, and helping him become the Leading Insurance Dude in his area.

In this one hour webcast, Robert and I show you 3 ways you can use SOC to help attract and keep your customers and Robert shares a few of the secrets he is using to sell loads of insurance.

PLEASE NOTE: The links are only good until June 9th- so you should download now.

Insurance Mavericks Are Back in The Saddle

We are opening up the Mavericks Alliance Program again, mainly because the agents and advisors who are USING it are getting fantastic results. If you are an implementer and a person who follows through, you need to try out this mastermind group. Check out the new video Mavs have made...

You can get some IMMEDIATE help from the Mavericks with this:

New Cates Webclass for June: Get More CPA Alliances Now!

Bill Cates is back with a brand new web class for those of you looking to break into the lucrative CPA referral arena. Bill says it IS NOT DIFFICULT to attract CPA's as joint venture partners, if you know how to do it the right way. MONDAY, June 15th.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Don't Miss These Upcoming Events

by Tammy de Leeuw
Editor and Chief Grouch

As we move into summer, I'm gearing up to bring you the finest connections available; connections to the movers and shakers in both the online AND offline worlds; people who will give you what you need to SPEED to six figures (and beyond!)

Twitter Virtual Summit:

This is a cool thing from our friend David Frey, who has put together a very cool LIVE Twitter Masters Interview series. FOG (Friend of Grouchy) SHAMA HYDER will be among the 15 different Twitter experts being interviewed by David. You won't want to miss this. You will also be able to purchase the entire series for download, so you don't have to attend each session live.
The Telesummit begins on Monday, May 25th at 11:00am Eastern Time and runs through Friday afternoon, May 29th.

For the specific speaker schedule, please visit:

Webinars on May 26th and 27th:

May 26th: Peter Vessenes will talk about that OTHER way to make money during a recession, namely PRACTICE MANAGEMENT. Sounds unsexy, but with an expert like Peter to guide you, you will gain insight into an area in which most financial pros score an "F."
Free, but you need to register:

May 27th: Join us for a special presentation/demo with insurance agent, financial advisor, entrepreneur, and Send Out Cards trainer ROBERT BREINER. You've never met anyone quite like Robert and you've never seen cards quite like the ones he uses to get dozens of prospects, clients, and joint venture partners. If you have considered using this system, you'll want to attend and learn just how a REAL financial pro uses this system to ATTRACT and RETAIN clients.

Stay tuned to the blog and your email for more fun stuff in the Summer of Grouchy.



Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tweet Dreams: Unraveling That Giant Virtual Watercooler Called Twitter

by Tammy de Leeuw
Financial Advisor Netzone

OK, you've finally decided to take the plunge and try out this bizarre internet phenomenon known as Twitter... and you might be asking...

How do I use this thing to develop relationships and (hopefully) gain some new prospects?

Let's examine a few ways you can leverage Twitter into relationships.

1. Lame is as lame does.. Resist lameness in your Tweets.

At first, Twitter might seem
a bit silly to you; a jumble of meaningless ramblings and links to God Knows What, but there is a method in the madness. When you Tweet, try your best to offer exceptional information in 140 characters or less.

Answer questions that are posted, link to useful websites, and give solid advice. In short: be a useful chit-chatter, not someone who Tweets constantly about being at their doctor's appointment, or standing in line for a gourmet glazed donut, etc. There is just too much of that already on Twitter, in my opinion. Be different and try to pack some substance into your 14o characters.

2. @Replies

Responding to other peoples' posts is one of the best ways to develop relationships via Twitter. All you have to do is key in the @ sign followed by the person’s username (without spaces) and write your response. Your response can be as simple as a show of support or thumbs up to a suggestion, to sharing a similar story you may have. When you show other people you have an interest in what they are tweeting ,they tend to suddenly become interested in YOU.

3. Blog Posts

If you don't have a blog yet- you should get one. (a different topic for a different day) The reason is simple: If you’re a blogger, you can grow your blog following by automating the process of letting people know about new posts. This is easy on Twitter: just tweet the title of your post and the link to it. Tweets about blogs are some of the most popular Tweets.

You can make the process simpler and more automated by having a site like TWITTERFEED do it for you.

4. What the heck are Retweets and Why Should I Use Them?

Retweets can help you in your quest to be a useful and popular Twitter. When you see posts that you think are particularly good or helpful , key in the letters RT or the word RETWEET then @USERNAME. Retweeting shows people you really do read what they post and creates a good feeling between users. CAVEAT: Don't do this too often... you can irritate people if you never have anything original to contribute.

5. Ask a question..

You would be amazed at how asking a simple question such as "where can I find a part for my antique Widgetmaster?" can get you a flurry of activity on Twitter. People who Tweet often pride themselves on being sources of helpful info.

6. “Blow By Blow" Accounts

If you are doing something particularly interesting, why not give a minute by minute account of the goings on? I've seen fascinating live updates from concerts, lectures, college classes, Renaissance fairs, etc. Be your own NEWSWIRE and people will start paying attention to you.

7. Photos and Graphics

Find a funny photo? Go on vacation to a cool place? People LOVE photos and graphics, and if you use TwitPic or a similar application, you can upload a photo and send a Tweet at the same time!

8. Reason to celebrate? TWEET it!

If you just acquired a new contract, made your sales goals, got a new client, or your boss gave you a great big ATTABOY!, you can let people know about it on Twitter in a celebratory, non- boastful manner.

In the next post, I will examine a few applications for Twitter that will make your foray into social media a lot smoother.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How to Reduce Appointment Cancellations

by Bill Cates
Referral Coach International

Have your ever had a prospect cancel an appointment with you, or worse, pull a "no show?" This seems to happen more with newer advisors than veterans, but even veterans experience this from time to time.

One of our subscribers asked me to address this important issue. While I have a few ideas to offer on the topic, I thought I'd turn to someone who is an expert in this area.

Gail Goodman teaches financial professionals how to set appointment with prospects.

Like me, she has a very narrow but important expertise. The following ideas on how to reduce appointment cancellations come from Gail Goodman. If you'd like to tap further into Gail's expertise, here is her contact information: Email: Website: Phone: 914-242-1108

Don't Be Product Oriented

The most important fact to know about having a high rate of reschedules and cancels is that they most often reflect a problem with the way you set the appointment in the first place.

If you discussed a specific product and used that as the reason for the appointment, you might find yourself rescheduling a lot of appointments.

Additionally, if you pressed for the appointment too hard (i.e. "Rottweiler" behavior) then the prospect may have capitulated over the phone as a way of getting rid of you.

Rescheduled vs. Cancellations

There is a difference between reschedules and cancels. My definitions are as follows: a reschedule is someone who is still interested in having you call them for a different date and time for their appointment; a cancel is someone who basically says "I don't want an appointment anymore." Essentially the second person is a "dead lead" and the first is someone you are still able to call.

Make Reminder Calls

Some people just plain forget about their appointments. Get in the habit of sending reminder notes or making reminder phone calls several days before your appointments. It's the professional thing to do and will reduce cancellations.

If you think that by placing a reminder call or sending a note will give them a chance to reschedule or cancel, then re-read my first statement. You may have a problem with your appointment setting skills.

What is Normal?

The normal statistics for reschedules should be about 20-25% of your appointments per month. They will vary per week, but overall you should find about 70- 75% of your appointments sticking.

Other than Christmas time and the week before school restarts in the fall, these statistics are standard for the financial services industry in 2009. So, if your stats are in this range, you're "normal." (Isn't that good to know?)

Most Reschedules are Legitimate

Most reschedules are legitimate and should not concern you. However, if you have a 50% reschedule rate, then you are probably doing something dreadfully wrong on the appointment setting phone call.

Get High-Quality Referrals from CPAs

High-Content Web Class - Monday, June 15 (1:00 pm EST) - Sign Up Today!

Work directly with Bill in this interactive web class. Submit your questions to Bill before, during, and after the call. Attend the webinar or just listen to the audio as you travel to your next appointment.

Can't make the webinar? Sign up and still receive an audio copy of the program and all the bonus materials when you sign up.

If you're looking for the type of high-quality clients that CPAs can provide, then you need to be a part of this educational experience with Bill Cates. NOW is the perfect time to be meeting and building relationships with CPAs. Get started now and give these relationships time to develop.

In this interactive 60-minute webinar with referral expert Bill Cates, you will learn:

3 relationship models that can produce results with CPAs.

  • The best way to meet CPAs.
  • How to articulate your value proposition to CPAs and top-level prospects.
  • A 3-Phase approach to building your referral relationship.
  • And much more!

PLUS - You'll receive 5 bonus referral tools to make sure you produce results. Click the link below to see what you receive.

Monday, June 15 - 60 minute session - 1:00p Eastern - 12:00a Central - 11:00a Mountain - 10:00a Pacific

Click for all the details and to SIGN UP TODAY:


The initial appointment is for you and the client to get to know each other and decide of moving forward with the chance of doing business together makes sense for both of you. Prematurely discussing products, solutions, specific ideas or anything else too detailed will work against you. They have not decided you are their advisor so why are you suggesting products?

Most of my advisor clients are looking to move from an initial appointment to a fact-find, which is the procedure for discovering what is important to your new client. Getting into a product discussion on the first phone call is most often the reason appointments don't stick. The second most common reason is being too persistent not letting the person off the phone and creating a call-back situation. Pressure to have "enough appointments" usually leads to the second most common problem.

Thank you, Gail Goodman.

Send Something of Value

I'll add one strategy that often helps appointments stick. You need to decide if this can apply to your world. I've seen a number of advisors get good results by sending something of value between the time they set the appointment and the appointment itself. If can be something as simple as a logo mug filled with candy. Or it can be a book or gift card for their next cup of coffee on you. Personally, I like things that are flat and easy to mail, like a gift card from Starbucks or Duncan Donuts, or Tim Horton's for my Canadian friends.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The 5 Most Common Internet Marketing Mistakes

by Shama Hyder
Click to Client.Com

1) Creating a website but not proactively driving visitors to it.

I see this all the time. VERY smart business owners will create a great looking website and then “hope” that their clients will find them. Location is nothing when it comes to the online world.

Yes, your domain name matters. But, that’s all. Otherwise, the playing field is leveled. If you build a website, make sure you are driving traffic to it. You can do so using online methods (i.e., search engine optimization, pay per click, etc.) and off line methods (encouraging people you meet to check out your site).

2) Not capturing visitor information

You don’t have to offer an eZine or an online newsletter, but do capture visitor information in some form or fashion. Most visitors (many qualified prospects!) will never come back to your website. There is too much to do, see, hear. Websites are going up just as you read this. Make sure you find a way to keep in touch with the people who stop by.

3) Not playing with the website.

I met a guy last week (let’s call him Joe) who told me: “I have a website. I put it up in 1995! Haven’t changed it since.” This guy was really proud of himself. Don’t be Joe. Make sure you keep playing with the website to keep it looking sharp. Make sure it is doing its job.

4) Not following-up!

One, make sure people can contact you from your website. Yes, this is a no-brainer, but you would not believe how hard it is to find contact information for some folks online-or maybe you can believe it. Second, when someone contacts you, follow-up. Sometimes people put it off until later (and then forget), or are just plain nervous. No amount of marketing will help you if you don’t follow up and close the sale.

5) Thinking of their website as just an “online presence.”

This is another common mistake. I often hear people say: “Yea, I have a website. It’s so important to have an online presence these days.” But, your website should be MORE than your presence. If you are going to purchase the domain name and hosting. If you are going to build it-then let it be a marketing tool for you! Don’t put up a website just for the sake of online presence. Leverage it as an excellent marketing tool.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Inner Truth Sells Regardless of the Economy...

by Sidney C. Walker

Selling Without Wrestling

Many people are afraid to spend any money on anything at the moment. They want to see some improvement in the economy which is a reasonable request. However, many of these same people will be the ones who invest money after the market has gone up considerably.

I am not sure how much you can help the people who make decisions based on the emotion of the day. Fortunately there is a group of people who are more grounded and know this is only the down side of a predictable cycle. This group of people also tends to make decisions based more on what feels intuitively right than based on emotion. These are the people who are currently buying financial products.

You may have to work a little harder than normal to find the "intuitive" buyers, but they are out there and they are a bigger group than you might think. The second thing you have to do is handle the interviewing process correctly so that you help the potential client get at the decision that feels intuitively right since that is what they will be willing to take action on.

How do you help your client get at the decision that feels intuitively right? First you have to ask yourself how you make decisions. Do you base your decisions on intellectual logic, emotional feelings, intuitive feelings (a quiet sense of knowing something is right or not right) or, some combination of all three?

How do you know when you have enough information? What tells you can stop looking at options? What does it feel like when it feels intuitively right? It is a good exercise to look back in your life at decisions you have made that worked out and look at how you arrived at those decisions.

Why is it important to look at your own decision making process in order to help others? You need to see that there is a process. Not everyone has the exact same process but for the majority of the people buying today, they are buying more because all the elements put together feel intuitively right than for any single reason.

One of the questions I teach advisors to ask in my Selling Without Wresting™ Sales Training is: "I think we agree this makes sense, the real question is does it feel right?"

This is not a question a controlling advisor is going to ask. It will only make sense to ask this question if you are a relationship-oriented advisor that is trying to help the client make an educated decision that feels right to them.

Helping people get at what feels right to them will close more sales that will stay on the books than any other approach.

There are people making buying decisions in this economy, just not as many as usual. And all the people you meet who are afraid to do anything will come around once they see enough good news. It's a good time to get to know as many new people as you can and don't worry if sales are down. The sales numbers will come back and the more people you have in the pipeline when things start to turn around, the bigger the payoff will be for you.

Thirty years ago, my sales manager used to pass out STP stickers to his reps. STP, which is still around as far as I know, is the oil treatment for car engines. Guess what STP stands for? See The People!



PS: Try Sid's new online SWOW for 24 hour a day access to the best low-key sales tools.
Try it for free for 7 days by going HERE.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ten Ways To Become More Referral-Worthy And Upcoming Webinars

by Tammy de Leeuw
Financial Advisor Netzone
The Grouchy Marketing Lady

1. You MUST Become Referral Worthy. Getting referrals on a consistent basis is
nearly impossible if you have done nothing to deserve them.

A referral worthy person is:

100% honest, 100% of the time-Honorable Men and Women

Extremely client-focused in EVERY PHASE of the relationship

A provider of incredible client experiences

Kind, respectful, NEVER condescending when dealing with clients

Generous with time and information

Able to think in terms of the WHOLE client

A person who truly KNOW the needs and desires of their clients and has the tools to meet those needs.

Always learning and using that knowledge to be better at what you do

Professional in all your dealings with prospects and clients

Flexible, enjoyable, and pleasant to be around

Someone who stays in touch with their clients


Willing to Take Constructive Criticism- In fact, YOU INVITE it (surveys)

BRIGHT IDEA:- Offer a powerful GUARANTEE. Here is an example of a satisfaction guarantee I once saw on a seminar invitation:

"Satisfaction Guarantee: All we ask is that you take in the information presented and enjoy the delicious meal. If you feel like it was a waste of your time, we'll gladly donate $100 to the charity of your choice for your trouble"

2. Find the RIGHT Partners and Get More Referrals

A-level clients, joint venture partners, and networking associates can be a real boost to the referral process, provided you do your research and get the RIGHT KINDS OF PARTNERS...

(see the rest of the article at:

Our Webinar Schedule for May, 2009

If you are wondering about social media and its relationship to YOUR business, you will want to join us on Wednesday, March 6th when new media superstar SHAMA HYDER joins us to explain Tweeting and blogging and Diggin and all that sort of stuff

May 26th: Join top business consultant Peter Vessenes
Making Money in a Market Downturn- with Peter Vessenes

May 27th: "Agent Provocateur" Robert Breiner joins with Grouchy to educate you on the finer points of using Send Out Cards to leverage Naturally Existing Economic Relationships (NEER). It is an SOC demonstration with major attitude.