According to me
The Sales Pipeline consists of clients and prospects in the process of buying something. In your case, it is essentially all of your future business.
So you can see why it’s important to take care of it.
But here’s the problem: many advisors don’t actually have a real pipeline. Or if they do, it’s full of cracks and holes. How to know what the state of your pipeline is? Just ask yourself these questions:
- Are you generating enough leads to reach your business goals?
- Are your leads getting followed up with in a timely manner?
- Do you ALWAYS keep track of where your leads came from, what they’re interested in, and what steps have been taken to turn them into clients?
- Do your leads consistently set appointments (become hot prospects) or do they lose interest or stop responding?
- Do you close the majority of your hot prospects, or do you have a lot of big fish that “got away”?
If the answer to any of these questions is “NO” or even “I don’t know,” then your Sales Pipeline needs fixing. Here’s what you need to do:
Understand How a Strong Sales Pipeline Works
Every good pipeline is made up of four phases:
Lead Generation: These are the actions taken to create a lead for the first time. There are a number of different methods, or channels, for generating new leads. Here are just a few:
- Referral marketing (click here for more information on how to generate more referrals)
- Cold calling (click here for more information on how to master cold calling)
- Seminars (click here for more information on how to host a successful seminar)
Lead Development: These are the actions taken to push a prospect or existing client to a first appointment in a sales process. For instance, sending out educational materials, answering questions, proactively reaching out on a regular basis, and building goodwill by acknowledging birthdays, anniversaries, and other important events going on in the prospect’s life.
Sales Process: The actual sale begins when the prospect walks into your office. On a first meeting, you do a deep profile of the prospect and then set a second appointment. Next, you prepare a proposal and present it in the second meeting. If you sell the Good Way, the prospect will readily agree.
Red Carpet: The fourth and final phase is when you introduce your new client to your team, explain statements, take them on a tour of your website, give a “Welcome gift” when appropriate, and essentially shower them with service and attention, so that they feel like they’ve made the right choice.
To better understand how to build a strong Sales Pipeline, I’m happy to offer some free help. Download these documents from the DOWNLOADS section in the bottom right:
Sales Pipeline Chart – This is a cheat-sheet. It is essentially a picture of a good pipeline. I find that visualizing it in this way helps advisors actually do it.
Managing the Pipeline – This is a copy of an article I wrote for Research Magazine. It’s a deep dive into the types of leads you can generate, how to develop them, and how to overcome common obstacles.
(Note: to download these documents, you will need to register. It’s free. Once you have registered, you will be taken back to the home page. To get back here, click the Free Marketing Help link at the top, then choose Sales Pipeline from the drop-down menu.)
The second thing you need to do is build a system that helps you get the most out of each phase of your Pipeline. And here’s where Bill Good Marketing comes in.
THE BILL GOOD MARKETING SYSTEM – THE ONLY COMPANY THAT HELPS ADVISORS TRULY “SYSTEMATIZE” THEIR PROSPECTING
At Bill Good Marketing, we give away theory and sell implementation. And at some point, you may want help implementing the things you learn in my Managing the Pipeline article. You may also decide at some point what you need help creating the kind of pipeline you see in the Sales Pipeline Chart below.
That’s when you should give us a call. You see, it would take you hundreds of hours to build a system that keeps your pipeline full, smooth, and crack-free. So why not just use ours? It’s been continually refined, updated, and perfected over the last 30 thirty years.
Here’s some of the things our System contains:
- Sales Pipeline Speedbuttons, which automate every single process for every single phase of the Sales Pipeline. From ensuring that prospects are followed up with, to sending out educational materials, to helping you set and keep appointments, these Speedbuttons do it all.
- Lead Generation campaigns, which will keep your Pipeline fully stocked with interested and qualified prospects. We have cold calling campaigns, mass mail campaigns, seminar campaigns, drip campaigns, you name it.
- Lead Development processes, which help you cultivate and build relationships with the leads you generate. That means no more leads falling through the cracks or “going dark.” It also means that more leads will set appointments.
- Sales Processes, to help you profile better, sell better, and close better.
- And much more!
Other marketing companies may offer help with a single phase of the pipeline. Other CRM options might give you a place to store your leads’ contact information. No one else offers a complete, turn-key system for managing your Sales Pipeline.