Posted March 23, 2018 by Gabriel Lewit, Chief Executive Officer
Let me ask you a simple question… What’s your “system” for tracking all of your prospects, appointments and sales?
More importantly, do you have a system at all?
I’ve worked with hundreds of advisors over the years, and our conversations frequently turn to this very important question.
I’ll ask the advisor, “Joe, how exactly are you tracking your business? You know, new appointments, 1st appointments, 2nd appointments, 3rd appointments, new prospects, etc… that kind of stuff.”
What kind of answers do you think I’ve gotten? I think you may be surprised!
Most Advisors Don’t Have a System
The answers I’ve received all fall into essentially the same category. Advisors don’t really have a system they use. So, what are they doing? What did they tell me?
The most common response I received was “I track my appointments in my calendar” followed by “I have all of my folders on my desk or in my filing cabinet.” Other response runner-ups included “I don’t have a system,” “I use sticky notes on my desk” and my personal favorite “what do you mean by system?”
Let me tackle that last question first. What exactly do I mean by a “system” for tracking your prospects, appointments and sales?
When I coach advisors, I focus on developing a highly systematic practice. A system is a set of steps that lead to a predictable outcome. Said differently, it’s a set of processes that you establish that, when followed, gives you confidence you’ll get the desired outcome you are looking for.
The Problem With Not Having a Pipeline System
The problem with not having a system or using the wrong system is that it can be very inefficient. For an advisor or financial professional, “inefficient” can mean many things, but usually it boils down to the following problems that you may be experiencing:
- Feeling “unsure” of where all your appointments and business is at
- Not feeling ready or prepared for your meetings
- Having business occasionally (or worse, frequently), lost or falling through the cracks
- Spending too much time on mundane tasks or tracking data
- Always being “last minute” and rushing to prepare for everything
These types of inefficiencies can really be a massive drain on your practice.
Think of a high-performance race car that has an air leak in a tire. By continuing to drive without fixing the leak, eventually that race car is going to break down or wreck over on turn 3.
Your goal should be to plug your leaks in your practice, especially when it comes to tracking your pipeline of prospects and appointments and ensuring nothing falls through the cracks. The best way to do that is by implementing a proven system that is dependable and effective.
Using a Sub-Par Tracking System
Back at the start of our discussion, I mentioned that advisors have given me their tracking systems during our coaching sessions. For example, one of the most common responses I received was “using the CRM calendar” to track their sales and appointment pipeline.
Let’s analyze this supposed system and see how it checks out for addressing some of the key issues we discussed above that occur when you don’t have a system.
- Question: Does using a calendar give you a high level view or report of where all your business is at all times?
To do this with a calendar, you’d have to continually scroll back through days or weeks to identify appointments and attempt to organize them into actionable steps or to-dos. It’s not really meant to be a summary or reporting tool. Instead, it’s designed to show you what’s coming up for the day or the week.
- Question: Does using a calendar help you feel prepared for your meetings?
This is one of the areas that having a calendar does help you. If you are using it the right way, you are checking ahead for your upcoming appointments and preparing accordingly. That’s one of it’s major advantages!
- Question: Does using a calendar help you prevent business from falling through the cracks?
Answer: Yes and No.
This depends on how the advisor is tracking and creating “follow-up tasks.” If a client says “call me later to reschedule” for example, you may never remember to call that person back, unless you create a follow-up task. But what if you forget to do that? Does a calendar automatically remember to remind you that person needs following-up with? It does not! So again, the system fails here.
Using The Right Sales Pipeline System
We’ve been reviewing all the issues with no systems or sub-par systems, so now let’s switch gears and talk about what features the right sales pipeline system should have.
Here’s a quick hitlist of features you want to be sure you have access to.
- Must be cloud-based and easily accessible for you and your entire team
- Is fully integrated with your calendar system
- Is fully integrated with your CRM system and contacts
- Gives you a high-level summary report of the current status of all your business
- Automatically prompts you to take action on prospects or clients who need another appointment
- Systematically categorizes and organizes your appointments based on rank and stage
- Helps you organize, prepare for and manage case-work for upcoming appointments
Systems like these aren’t readily available. Most CRM’s, the natural source for where you should be tracking all of this, only give you basic tools for tracking contact data, contact calendars and perhaps contact “opportunities”. But these are only parts of the equation, not the full picture.
Our company, Vision Financial Marketing, has built a sales pipeline and sales appointment tracking system for financial professionals from the ground up. The goal was to make managing your book of prospects and appointments easy, intuitive and efficient.
Better yet, it’s directly integrated into our proprietary CRM system and automated communication system.
One of the other key features of our sales appointment tracking approach is that, at any point in time, you can view where all of your appointments (past, present, future) are at and what the current status of that appointment is.
- Do they need to get rescheduled? It shows you.
- Did they just come in for an appointment and need a follow-up call? It tells you.
- Are they on hold for a vacation in a few weeks? It reminds you.
Sounds pretty good right? If you’re ready to check it out, or ready to upgrade your appointment tracking approach, be sure to check out what Vision Financial Marketing can do for you.
Getting started with Vision Financial Marketing is free! There’s absolutely no cost to sign up, add contacts and manage your sales appointments. Go ahead, create your free account today and get started, or schedule a 1-on-1 demo with our team to get a personal walkthrough on how the sales appointment system can work for you.
Until next time,