I once had a colleague ask me how I sold so much. I explained that I did not sell any more than he did, I just sold faster.
If you can sell faster, you can increase your income tremendously. Instead of making 100 sales in a year, you can make 150. If you make $100,000 annually, the other advisor making $200,000 is simply selling twice as fast as you do in the same 365 days.
Appropriate use of INEXPENSIVE technology can easily add 5 hours of sales and prospecting time to your week. That's 20 hours per month--enough to make an additional 2 annuity sales and generate another $4000 to $12,000 in commissions. To use technology to sell faster, read on.
First, ever try to save money when using technology? For example, are you sharing a fax line with your phone? This does not work and never has. I promise that you are missing phone calls when your fax answers by mistake and there have been times when people have tried to fax you and could not because your phone answered. Stop saving a measly $13 a month and install a dedicated fax line. You are now wasting time trying to get the information you should have gotten in the first place and you may be missing valuable information or calls altogether.
By the way, regarding saving money, that's a foolish goal in the financial services business. No single financial advisor has even 1% of the market in your town. Delivery of financial services is highly fragmented and therefore, it's easy to gain market share from others. It's certainly possible to double your income in a year by using the right strategies and not wasting time. If you can increase your revenue by 100%, isn't it a foolish focus to try and save $200 a month by cutting corners? Rather, spend your time on increasing revenues not saving the crumbs of cost cutting.
Get a fax machine that gives you a report that your fax went through to the recipient so you can stop wasting time calling after each fax to ask, "Did you get my fax?" You can find machines for well under $200 to do this.
Free email accounts are great, but not if they do not accept attachments. Lots of useful email is sent with attachments. If your email does not allow attachments, get a new email account, even if it costs you $9.95 a month. If you do not have email, that's like not having a telephone number. You have cut off much of your communication with the outside world. You are wasting time accepting and making calls and sending faxes that can be better handled by sending and receiving emails.
Email allows you to reduce the use of the telephone. Thus, saving enormous time because the telephone is an extremely inefficient device. Remember--it was invented in the 1860s. If you're still relying on an invention from the last century to power your business, look out. Your competitors will crush you. The telephone is inefficient for 2 reasons:
Look at how much time you waste playing telephone tag. Most times, you really do not need to talk to the other person, you could send an email with attached documents and fulfill the communication. Most communication is one-way. You need to deliver or get information. The telephone is a two-way device and should be used only when you need to have a discussion. Analyze your phone conversations today and see how many (I'll bet 90%) are one way communications, which do not require the inefficient use of the telephone.
The telephone often gets you into time wasting, non-essential discussions. You end up wasting 12 minutes chatting when that time could have been used making two sales calls.
Make heavy use of the Internet (you can get free Internet access and email from many sources, or for $10 a month if you do not want to see any ads). Customers and prospects like to see items that have been published because published documents have credibility. Published documents include items from the newspaper, magazine and from the Internet (please note that product brochures and sales pieces have no credibility and that's why your prospects never read them). You can find almost any information on the Internet in a few minutes, print and email (or send) to your prospect to support your point. This information will have credibility with your prospect.
Regarding Internet searches, realize that no single search engine indexes more than 15% of the pages on the Internet. Therefore, you want to use a tool that searches multiple search engines simultaneously. Many Internet users use Dogpile (www.dogpile.com). I prefer Copernic (www.copernic.com), which is software that runs on your own computer and performs a search on ten search engines at once and provides a single output list. The software is free.
Do not waste time waiting for Internet pages to download or for your computer to log on. Get a DSL line or Cable connection, which is always on (no need to dial up to the Internet) and your pages will load in lightening speed. It's a really foolish waste of time waiting for Internet pages to load over your 56k modem. Our DSL line is $39 per month and allows everyone in our office to use the Internet at 4 times the speed of a 56k modem. It's always on.
I am amazed when I call financial professionals and get a busy signal. That should never happen. Do you want to lose business? Call the phone company--for about $8 a month they will give you a voice mail line so that even if 20 people call you at once, they will get your voice mail system and can leave a message. Make sure no one ever gets a busy signal. If you have your own voice mail system, make sure that you have more lines coming in to your office than there are employees. Otherwise, when everyone is on the phone, the next incoming caller will get a busy signal. It will cost about $13 per month to add a line.
Subscribe to services like Value Line (stock information) and Morningstar (mutual fund information) on CD ROM. They will together cost you less than $1000 per year. They provide you the information necessary to show a new prospect how their stocks and funds have been performing and which items should be sold (and invested with you). Without this convincing third party evidence, is it any wonder that some prospects are not just accepting your word for it? There is nothing more powerful to convince a prospect than printed, third party evidence. I use these tools to free up millions of dollars annually to place under fee-based money management.
All solutions I discuss in this article have the following monthly costs:
Separate fax phone line $13
Email and Internet access $10 or free
DSL line $39
Additional phone line to eliminate busy signals $39
Voice mail to eliminate busy signals $8
Subscriptions--Value Line and Morningstar $75
Have you been saving this $184 monthly while your efficient competitors are grabbing the sales that could have been yours?