Keep Your Pipeline Full with the Rule of 200

How many prospective clients are enough to create sustainable growth and a healthy practice? Twenty? Fifty? Try 200. That’s according to research by practice management consulting firm ActiFi, which presented a series of business development workshops for Scottrade® Advisor Services.

Now, that doesn’t mean you will have 200 clients ready at any one time to sign on the bottom line. Instead, think of all your prospects, from the leads you’re getting ready to call to the almost-clients who are reviewing your proposal. The total number of people you have in mind, ideally, should be about 200.

Here’s why 200 is the magic number, according to ActiFi. In a typical person’s life, an event that could spark a conversation with a financial advisor happens every 3 to 4 years—the person might have a baby, change jobs, sell a business, etc. If you have 200 people in your pipeline and work 50 weeks a year, the math is this simple: about once a week, someone in your pipeline will have a reason to talk to you.

Your job, then, is to make sure that for 200 people, you’re the advisor who’s top of mind to call.

Staying in contact with leads and prospects can be simple, especially with all the new digital communication tools available today. ActiFi advises that you reach out with a newsletter, invitations to workshops and lunch-and-learns, an offer to provide a second opinion, an email with a link to download one of your special reports, a personalized video message, and other similar types of communication. This will keep you front-and-center as your contacts evolve from lead to prospect to client. 

ActiFi says it’s also a good idea to maintain a spreadsheet with information such as the status of prospects, who referred them, what their needs may be, and an actionable next step with a deadline. Document that next step with something as simple as “Ken is interested in saving for college. Invite to our next workshop.” Your workshop invitation will demonstrate that you are focused on the prospect’s individual financial needs.

ActiFi says you might also consider setting up alerts on an online newsfeed service for your very best prospects and clients. As you recognize things that may affect or interest them in local or national news, send them a note with a relevant piece of information and/or an invitation to meet again and discuss their situation.

ActiFi says you should follow your best prospects and clients using an online social networking service. Why? This can serve as a great listening tool that can help you understand what’s important to them. ActiFi recommends that you keep your streams full of useful information and links back to your online marketing hub. Typically that would be your company website, but some financial advisors have been experimenting with a stand-alone blog where they drive all inbound web traffic.

ActiFi says it’s probably a good idea to set up company pages on online networking services. You’ll want to show your teambuilding and community activities in the form of photos and short captions on your company’s social networking page, and place links to your newsletter and other expert commentary such as your blog on your company’s professional networking page. 

ActiFi says you need to connect with as many relevant people as possible. If you find it difficult to think of good ways to cultivate those relationships, a sales intelligence and effectiveness tool might help. You might search for a tool that looks at your connections, does a quick keyword analysis, and then finds relevant articles you can share with prospects and clients.

Explore the Scottrade® Strategic Resource Center to connect with organizations that specialize in technology, compliance, research, education and marketing. Many of these resources offer discounts to advisors who custody assets with Scottrade. (Scottrade provides this resource for informational purposes and does not specifically endorse any of the businesses within the directory. Scottrade also does not pass judgement as to whether those services are appropriate for specific business needs. Be advised this is not a full and comprehensive list of businesses that offer these types of products or services and that advisors are responsible for doing adequate research before making any purchases.)

Scottrade and ActiFi are not affiliated. Third-party websites, research and tools are from sources deemed reliable; however, Scottrade does not guarantee accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information, is not responsible for statements, offers or products issued and makes no assurances with respect to the results to be obtained from their use.  No information presented constitutes a recommendation by Scottrade or its affiliates to purchase any product or instrument discussed therein or engage in any specific strategy.  Please research any product or service carefully before purchase.

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