Episode 78 : 04/17/2019

Power of the pipeline: Client acquisition strategies to grow your practice

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Michael Salmon

Founder, Salmon Academy


Ben D. Jones
Managing Director, Intermediary Distribution
BMO Global Asset Management

Emily Larsen
Product Strategy Manager
BMO Global Asset Management

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In this episode, we explore strategies for building an effective pipeline system and improving your client acquisition efforts.

Our guest is Michael Salmon, founder of Salmon Academy and author of Winning More Business in Financial Services. He shares the concrete, actionable steps that you can take today to overcome your hurdles to growth, including the five strategies to meet your client acquisition goals and the importance of building and managing your pipeline.

In this episode:

  • Defining your client acquisition strategy
  • The five strategies on the growth roadmap
  • How to approach this as a sole practitioner versus a team-based approach
  • The importance of pipeline management
  • Common mistakes that advisors should avoid in their strategies

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Michael Salmon – When people started out, it was friends, family. But some of those people, you’d get referrals from them and you would take the referral, and maybe they didn’t meet your profile. Now that you’re established, you have an opportunity to really prune your business and shape it to the way that you want it. The best way you can do that is to really look at what you have, and what you want it to look like going forward. If you want to replicate your clients, the best way to do it is to be asking properly for warm introductions, to start to really shape your business maybe even further than where you have it now.

Emily Larsen – Welcome to Better conversations. Better outcomes. presented by BMO Global Asset Management.  I’m Emily Larson.

Ben Jones – And I’m Ben Jones, and on this show, we’re going to explore the world of wealth advising from every angle, providing you with actionable ideas designed to improve outcomes for advisors and their clients.

Disclosure – The views expressed here are those of the participants and not those of BMO Global Asset Management, its affiliates or subsidiaries.

Ben Jones – Today, we’re discussing proven methods and guidelines for how to improve client acquisition process. Organically growing a practice with the right clients can be a challenging task for many advisors. Today, we’ve invited Michael Salmon along to show us how to do this well.

Emily Larsen – Michael is a known voice on this topic, and coach to some of the best financial advisors in the country. He also authored the book Winning More Business in Financial Services. He was on a coaching trip to Chicago and was gracious enough to spend some time with Ben, discussing client acquisition strategies and the proven power of a pipeline.

Ben Jones – You have developed pretty extensive expertise in helping advisors become a lot more disciplined with their client acquisition strategies, which is really kind of the bulk of what we’re going to talk about here today. I don’t think it was that long ago, maybe 18 years ago, before you started educating advisors that advisors really used what I like to term the friends, family, and acquaintances plan. If it was a friend, family member, or acquaintance, and they could fog a mirror, they were alive, then they tried to reach out and do business and network with them. That worked nicely for some people back then, but as the industry has evolved, the barriers to entry and success have gone way up. And so, when you think about the term client acquisition strategy, maybe you could just define that. What does that mean?

Michael Salmon – To me, it’s all about net new money. It’s not about the wallet share with your current clients. It’s going out and finding new clients, which really is the lifeblood of a successful and growing practice.

Ben Jones – And so, is it all about growth?

Michael Salmon – I think it is. I think what’s happened in the market is a lot of people have just gotten set. They’re comfortable. They make a good living. But you’ve got to continue to drive your business. I think it keeps you fresh. It keeps you invigorated into the business. And also, there’s something about bringing in a new piece of business that just gives people a jolt that you cannot replicate.

Ben Jones – When it comes to calling these client acquisition strategies, would it be fair to also just call this a growth strategy, or an organic growth?

Michael Salmon – Organic growth, yeah, sure.

Ben Jones – For advisors, why is client acquisition so important for their practice today?

Michael Salmon – Well, it’s twofold. Everybody’s got to decide, what do they want to be when they grow up? What do they want their practice to look like? And, if you look at any successful business across any industry, the most successful, the most admired, are the ones that are constantly growing. So why wouldn’t you want to be one of those type of people in this business?

Ben Jones – To do exactly what you laid out requires discipline and thoughtfulness. Do you find that that’s common among advisors that you meet for the first time that they have a really thoughtful, spelled out strategy around this?

Michael Salmon – No. This is a fair question, Ben. Most people, conceptually, in their mind, that’s what they want to do. They maybe can articulate it to their team, but their ability to execute on it falls short. I really believe a few things; if you don’t know where you’re going, no road will take you there. So, I believe you need to put a roadmap together with an objective strategy and accountability metrics. I’ve put in that accountability metrics, because I do believe, as my client at Boeing always said to me, what gets measured gets done. Being German, I always feel that there’s got to be a quantifiable, some accountability. Then if you’re not hitting the accountability, consequences. When you build in those things into your client acquisition strategy, those people grow exponentially. The ones that talk about it, or just put it up on a white board, or just put it on a one-page, because every year, they’re going to update their plan and say, we’re going to grow by 20%. They generally don’t do it, because they don’t have a defined plan with the objective, with the strategy, with the accountability metrics.

Ben Jones – That objective strategy accountability, it’s actually just kind of a nice framework for thinking through anything that you’re about to take on; project or other things.

Michael Salmon – Absolutely.

Ben Jones – But when it comes to client acquisition, how do you think people should capture their thoughts around those objective strategies and accountability? Is it that they need to write it down? How do they articulate it to their team? How do they kind of build it into their process?

Michael Salmon – Well, I think you’ve got to capture. You’ve got to put pen to paper, so we’ll do an illustration, Ben, and we’ll roleplay a little bit. So, you’re an advisor and we’re having this meeting. And I say, okay, Ben, you want to grow. So, over the next year, what do you want to do for — what’s the goal? Is it 10 new clients? Is it 10M in new assets, 20M? What’s that number?

Ben Jones – I’d like to increase our revenues by $100,000.

Michael Salmon – Okay, so that means you’ve got to bring in another 10M, right?

Ben Jones – Yeah, more or less.

Michael Salmon – Okay. But the point is, I’m using 10M because that’s going to be our target. It’s quantifiable and measurable. So now that we know what the objective is, let’s define who your client is. Ben, what do your clients look like? If you and I were hanging out at a party, what would you tell me? What do your clients look like?

Ben Jones – Typically, I work with young professionals, kind of in their mid-30s, still with younger children. In general, I find them through my other clients.

Michael Salmon – Okay, but the point I’m getting at, is you were very clear in creating a mental picture of the kind of people you work with. It could be the young professional. You may call them high risers. You may say people sit in a corner office. It could be doctors, lawyers. The point I’m making — or somebody that inherited wealth. The better you can articulate the folks that you want to replicate, the easier it’s going to be for people in your network to introduce you to. So, now that we’ve got the objective of bringing in 10M by working with more people that we described, what’s the strategy to get there? To me, there’s only really five or six strategies that work.

Emily Larsen – Pardon the interruption. I know you really wanted to get those five strategies. Stick with us. We’ll get there in a second. But first, we need to lay some ground works about two types of referrals: inbound and outbound.

Michael Salmon – Well, there’s two types of referrals, Ben. There’s what I call inbound and outbound. Inbound is kind of accidental. Because of who you are and you’ve done a good job for people, folks talk about you. They’re going to say, hey, I’ve got a friend or a brother I want to introduce you to. And you as an advisor, of course, say yes. But then when you meet this person, you find out that they may not meet your minimum, but then you don’t want to offend the person that gave you the referral, because they thought they were doing you a favor. That’s a dichotomy there. I found that those referrals don’t work 100% of the time, more like 40 — 50% tops. I’m talking about the other type of referral, what I’m going to call outbound, which is more intentional. Just like how when we were putting the objective together. We created a clear mental picture of exactly the people you want to meet. Now, if I’m going to ask for referrals — and there are five different ways you can do that — I’m being very clear as to the type of person I want to meet. And if I’m doing that properly, I’m starting to get more at bats with exactly the people that I want to meet through a warm introduction, which is going to increase the likelihood of these people becoming clients.

Ben Jones – I like that. Maybe we can start with the how-tos as to how you would suggest an advisor starts to kind of tackle the idea of building the client acquisition strategy. We touched really quickly on objective strategies and accountabilities, but where do they start? How do they start thinking about this?

Michael Salmon – Well, let’s go back to what we talked about before, because I’m going to build the roadmap for you, okay? You’ve got the objective of the 10M. We know the people you want to work with. The five strategies, probably the best one, number one, would be ask at review time for warm introduction. Again, it’s not about that what to do, because cognitively, people understand what to do with it. It’s more important, the nuances and the subtle differences of the how-to. Also, I think LinkedIn has become a very powerful tool, not so much to be posting things — that’s a whole different story, but how to look at LinkedIn and see whom it is that you know, Ben, that I could connect with through an algorithm. Then when you and I are having a conversation, I ask you for a warm introduction properly. I think the third is doing strategic client events. Again, it’s about doing it right versus other ways. I also think mixing business with pleasure, where you know people personally, but how can you kind of — I don’t want to say over step the line, but not be the guy that people are going to run away from, but where you can seamlessly transition to have a conversation from a personal to a professional. I’ve helped people do that as well. The last thing is looking at your ABCD list, who in your network, because it’s not always your clients but people in your personal network. I break it out into what I can an A as in Advocate, a B is a Brethren, C Comfortable Contact, and D Diamond in the Rough. But how to ask these people properly for a warm introduction, you take a combination of those five strategies, and if you’re doing them properly on a how-to, you will start to drive. What’s interesting is recently I talked to somebody at a major wire house in content, and they said to me, oh, that’s good. So, what you’re talking about is nothing new under the sun, because everybody on this call has probably heard that before. But the key to it is how you do it, and the subtleties that we teach people are slightly different. Then, back to the accountability that we add to it, it’s okay if we know that this is our strategy. How many times in a month are we going to intentionally outbound ask for a warm introduction? Let’s say that’s 20 times. If it’s 20 times, I know by rule of thumb if I’m asking properly 20 times, I’m going to get 10 warm introductions. If I get 10 warm introductions, I’ll give you the scripting to show you what to say and how to say it to the referral to get the meeting. Because we don’t want to be the person that says, hey, it’s Michael Salmon. Ben suggested I give you a call. I’d love to come in and tell you all the great things we’re doing. I want to go against the grain and do it slightly differently. If I do that, I know I’m going to get five meetings. If I have five meetings a month, that’s five first meetings in a quarter. How many are going to turn to second meetings? People on this call will say, well, they already know the math. That’s eight. Okay, so if I’ve got eight in a quarter, do the math. That’s 32 in a year. If I’ve got 32 warm introductions a year, how many will I close? So many people in this call will say 50%. Okay, if it’s 50% —

Ben Jones – You’ve got a good close rate.

Michael Salmon – Right. Okay, even if it’s 33 and we know that your average is — let’s just say your average is 1M a person. Going back to what I said to you before, what’s your objective, 10; that’s how you’re going to get it. So, I’m going to want to track how we do into our plan. Are we doing what we say we’re going to do?

Ben Jones – And so, industrial math is one of my favorite topics.

Michael Salmon – Okay.

Ben Jones – And so, I love thinking about the industrial math of every business, and in this business in particular, industrial math is something that, over time, becomes very powerful in improving efficiencies for a practice. So, how long does it take for an advisor to track these numbers before they start to, one, notice the areas they can improve their efficiencies, and two, that the numbers are credible enough that they can start to apply that industrial math and work the numbers backwards.

Michael Salmon – I think they should do it on a monthly basis. For me, when I work with people, I’ll suggest to them, listen, let’s see where it is on the month. Maybe we’re too ambitious. We can always revise it. I tell them, it’s in pencil, not in pen. But when we’re looking at the numbers, after like a quarter, if in fact we’re able to hit the numbers, we know that that’s our plan. We should work it. But month-to-month and then after a quarter, you make the revision.

Ben Jones – In your experience, does the math change significantly from advisor to advisor? In other words, can an advisor have significantly better or significantly worse results?

Michael Salmon – Yeah, it changes twofold, okay, because you really asked two questions. One is, because of the level of activity that you’re going to spend on client acquisition because you only need two or three clients a year whereas I need 12 a year, my industrial math — my velocity is going to increase, okay. So, that’s the first part of it. I think it really comes down to what your target is. If you say you want to bring in $10M, and you’re an independent, and your average is $1M, then you’re going to do a little bit more than if my average is $20M and I only need two new clients a year.

Ben Jones – Gotcha. So, the objective and your average client type really inform kind of the way that you build that strategy.

Michael Salmon – That’s right. Exactly. The number of asks, and it really comes down to — it’s about how much time you’re going to invest in it, and then also like you said, with the top line as far as the number.

Ben Jones – As many of you know, I can talk industrial math for hours. In many weeks, I do. But for the purpose of this discussion, I think you get how to set this up. In case you didn’t have a pen handy, those five client acquisition strategies that Michael laid out for outbound, or intentional referrals are: One, ask for warm introductions during reviews. Two, use LinkedIn search algorithms to find connections to your clients and top prospects. Three, host client events strategically. Four, carefully turn personal relationships into professional ones. And five, use your personal network to create an ABCD list. That is: A – Advocate; B – Brethren; C – a Comfortable Contact; D – a Diamond in the Rough.

Emily Larsen – These five strategies all require time and energy. If you’re part of a larger practice, it may be ideal to hire someone to focus solely on new client acquisition. These roles are often referred to as business development officers, or BDOs. If you’re a sole practitioner, managing your time to do these five strategies is essential.

Ben Jones – When it comes to the solo practitioner, what percentage of their time should be dedicated to this growth strategy?

Michael Salmon – About two hours to three hours a day, depending on how much time they spend in the office. I’m a big believer of that people that need to time block and time management. The way I code it is, you start the day, you come in, let’s say, at 8:30 or 8:00. 8:00 to 9:00 is in red my time, so it’s your time, Ben. You control it. From 9:00 to 10:30 is yellow, anyone’s time. Somebody in the office needs to speak to you, your assistant; you need to make some phone calls, that’s then. From 10:30, let’s say to 1:00, I put it in green, which is relationship management and client acquisition time. Then after the green, I’ll take a break, come back to yellow and red again, so I’m doing a little bit every day. When I do a little bit every day — and the reason why I break it out this way — is, if you’ve ever seen the movie White Men Can’t Jump, when Woody Harrelson said, I’m in the zone, I’m in the zone — if I’m doing business development client acquisition, I want to be in the zone. I don’t want someone knocking on my door disturbing me, or I read an e-mail or text that kind of gets me in the solar plexus and takes me off my game.

Ben Jones – How does an advisor build the systems to be successful at this? In other words, how do they systematize this?

Michael Salmon – First of all, like I said, you’ve got to have that roadmap, because if you don’t know where you’re going, no road will take you there. Secondly, you’ve got to have this time block and time management to say that you’re going to be committed to it. Third is, you want to put together a pipeline management tool. I like to go in a pipeline management tool with an Excel spreadsheet with three different tabs, what I refer to as on the radar, in development, in queue. On the radar are all the people I know I need to speak to that I haven’t spoken to in a while, or I know I’ve been meaning to call this person, haven’t gotten to it yet, they’re there. If I actually talk to the person and I set a meeting, I’ve now moved them into in development. If they’re in development and we’ve had, let’s say, a love connection, it looks like that’s serious, I’ll now move them to in queue and then I’ll put together what we call the Salmon Scale of Sensibility, which is a percentage, back to your industrial math, as the likelihood as to whether I think it’s going to come in based on conversation, number of meetings I’ve had, relationship, et cetera, so I can objectively look at what’s really in my pipeline as far as what potentially can come. Every week, I’m saying to myself, what am I doing today from the stuff that was on the radar? What am I doing to get it in development? If it’s in development, what am I doing to get it into in queue? If it’s in queue, is there anything I can do this week to get it over the goal line? If in fact I see that in development is a little light, then maybe I should be on LinkedIn identifying some other names, speaking to some people to ask for warm introductions to start to populate it. If you’re doing this on a consistent basis, you’ll always have a robust pipeline and never have to worry at the beginning of the year; oh, I’m starting from scratch again. To summarize, you’ve got the pipeline, you’ve got the time management tool, you’ve got the roadmap. You now have got processes in place. Then you need somebody on the team that’s got to be the cop on the beat to hold you accountable to it. If you don’t do that, it’s just not going to happen.

Ben Jones – So, if you’ve got a team, it’s easier to have somebody to hold you accountable.

Michael Salmon – Right.

Ben Jones – If you’re a solo practitioner, sometimes you let yourself off the hook a little bit.

Michael Salmon – Yeah.

Ben Jones – Who do you recommend? Do they recommend they hire an outside person? How does someone think through that as a solo practitioner?

Michael Salmon – You either have an outside person, which probably makes the most sense, because you’re not going to be judged by that outsider. They have some objectivity, but also they bring something to the table where they can probably see some things that maybe you can’t. Secondly, if you’ve got a manager, you try to find the manager. Or maybe you’ve got a colleague who’s like-minded, and you can be each other’s coach and hold each other accountable. So, whether you are a sole practitioner or an independent, whether you’re on a team, it doesn’t matter. You can find somebody to do that. But I do believe that if you don’t have that accountability, it’s just not going to happen. Because with accountability, there’s got to be consequences, and that really ups people’s game.

Ben Jones – So, I love that you brought up pipeline management. The reason that I love it is that our industry, I feel like, really got away from leveraging these kind of disciplined pipeline management approaches. It became a little bit haphazard for a period of time, and now you see people getting a lot more disciplined about pipelines. When you think about on the radar, in development, and in queue, the three tiers that you laid out, what’s the right proportion of stuff on the radar, stuff in development, and stuff in queue?

Michael Salmon – Well, I think just organically, the weight is always going to be — should be — in development. If it isn’t, you’re not doing things right. Because what happens is — and if people just put it on a white board, then look at that white board, and that’s fool’s gold. They’re like, oh, look at all that stuff, so they slip into neutral. When you see that in queue is a little light that should be telling you, man I’ve got to push a little harder on my in development to try to get that happening. When in development’s a little light, it’s like, okay, I better put some more people on the radar. But, in development is the thickest.

Ben Jones – Okay, so in development is the thickest, so there might be two in development for every one that’s in queue, or three, or –?

Michael Salmon – It’s got to be bigger than that.

Ben Jones – It’s got to be bigger.

Michael Salmon – Listen, on average, what I see for advisors, there’s five or six that are in queue who are going to pop pretty soon. There’s about two dozen in development that we’re moving to, and then on the radar. Sometimes, on the radar is the biggest because people have been so busy with in development and in queue and doing all the other things, they haven’t gotten to that stuff yet. And that’s okay, provided that the in development and the in queue is happening. If it’s not happening, that tells me that these people are lazy and we’ve got to turn the burner up.

Ben Jones – Yeah, no, I like that. And so, on this spreadsheet, as you articulated as a pipeline tool, and — by the way, there’s a lot of pipeline management tools. You can use CRMs, you can use spreadsheets, et cetera, but you’ve got this group that’s in queue. You’ve got this time blocked on your calendar to go out and look at your client acquisition work.

Michael Salmon – Right.

Ben Jones – Do you start with the in queue or do you start on the radar. How do you start, if you work through, like you said, here’s all the people in queue

Michael Salmon – Right.

Ben Jones – — is there anything I can do today. If there’s not, boom, move to the next —

Michael Salmon – I look at in queue first because I want to ring the bell. So if I’m looking at what I should be doing today, what am I doing in queue, is there anything happening here, where I can shake a tree, rattle a cage and get it over the goal line. Do I got to call the person back, should I hit a text to get the next meeting set up because that’s the relationship we have. Okay, I did that. There’s nothing more I could do. Now, what I can do in development, should I be taking somebody for coffee, should we be making arrangement to go to the game. Should I follow up, be sending them something? Do I need to meet their spouse, what can I do to advance that into in queue? And then after I’ve done everything in development, like okay, now let me get back and start schmoozing with these people on the radar and start scheduling some appointments.

Ben Jones – I like that. And, I like the way that it’s really systematized every day, so it becomes habitual.

Michael Salmon – Absolutely, and that’s what I said before, because a lot of advisors, they wake up or maybe in December, they sit down with their team or they sit down with themselves and say — and have a meeting. This year, we’re bringing in X, this time we’re really going to do it. No, if you’ve got this plan, when you wake up in December, it’s just another month. You just went from December to January, or January to February, it’s not like beginning of the year because it’s not a big deal, because you’ve got it going.

Ben Jones – The pipeline is a proven tool to enhance business development, and that’s why organizations from large to small, around the globe, use simple and sophisticated variations of this strategy, to effectively drive organic growth. Now that we understand how to set up a system for growth, executing your strategy starts with getting those outbound referrals into the pipeline. And asking for referrals can be quite uncomfortable for both the advisor and the client. We heard this first from Steve Moore in our mini series with him a couple of years ago, and this is especially true if you don’t set up the ask in the right away.

Michael Salmon – There is a psychology that goes on. The better you can create a mental picture of exactly what it is you’re looking for, the easier it is for the person. It’s what I call stage, frame and deliver. Staging means you’ve got to set it up beforehand, so what we can do, a quick role play, if you and I were at a review. Let’s just say you’re a client, okay. So I’m going to put you on the spot, how do you make your money?

Ben Jones – I’m a factory foreman.

Michael Salmon – Okay, you’re a factory foreman. Okay, and is that my niche.

Ben Jones – It must be.

Michael Salmon – Okay. So, what I might say is Ben, like a week before our review, listen, I’m working on some things here and when you come in for the review, I’d love to just bounce an idea off you or pick your brain at something here. Can we do that when you come in?

Ben Jones – Yeah, sure, that sounds great.

Michael Salmon – Okay, so that’s the set the stage. So this way, it’s not out of the blue. So now, we get for the review. And I say Ben, we’re going to do the review, and then when we’re done, I mentioned Ben, I just want five minutes to pick your brain; can we still do that.

Ben Jones – Yeah, that would be great, yeah.

Michael Salmon – Okay. Ben, I was working on something here and it made me think of you because I want to meet more people through people I know that are in the factory, that are at a high level, like yourself. Or I should say, in management, in the factory. And when I thought of that, I thought of you, because obviously, you know some folks like that. So, the question is, is there one or two people that you know in the factory, in management, that you’d be comfortable introducing me to just so that they’re aware of me as a resource. That’s one way to ask. Or I might say, listen, I want to meet other people in the factory in management, and I want to meet through people I know. If you were me, how would you go about that? Or I may have two people in mind because prior to you coming in, you’d mentioned somebody or I went on LinkedIn; saw that you’re connected to two people. I’d say, Ben, there’s two people I would love to meet; Mike Jacobs and David G. Those are two people I’d love to meet through somebody I know; would you be comfortable making the connection just so that they’re aware of me as a resource. The key words are, comfortable, either you’re comfortable or you’re not, and just so that they’re aware of them as a resource. The message I’m sending to you is I’m not going to sweat these people and say: Hey man, let’s see if I can do business with them, because I don’t know where it’s going to go because I’m about a relationship, not a transaction. And also, what I did is I set the stage, frame and deliver. I set it up beforehand. I let you know what I was looking for, and I gave it to you in a way that hopefully, is not putting you out. Because what happens in the other way that you’ve described, it is uncomfortable and there’s a whole psychology behind it, which we don’t have enough time for. But I’ve studied it enough to realize, that this is the way. Then lastly, I will tell you that people who have done it the way that you described, because here are ways you shouldn’t do it. Can you think of anybody else that could benefit from my services? Do you have any friends or family that you can introduce me to? Is there anybody you know that’s looking for somebody? When you ask that way, it’s putting so much pressure on these people that they want to help you because they like you, but you’re making them uncomfortable. The way I illustrated, basically diffuses that.

Ben Jones – So, I’ve seen it be very successful to feed names, right. Like if you’ve got a —

Michael Salmon – Absolutely.

Ben Jones – — a top 100 or a top 10 hit list, right. Here, I’d like to meet these people in the community, do you happen to know them and would you be comfortable introducing me to them.

Michael Salmon – Right.

Ben Jones – That’s a really effective strategy. I’ve personally found and I’ve seen it work very well.

Michael Salmon – Right.

Ben Jones – When you ask open-ended, do you see the same results?

Michael Salmon – Yes, it works.

Ben Jones – The results are similar.

Michael Salmon – It works. But here’s the thing, when somebody says yes, the advisor will go phew, kind of wipe their brow. Okay, he said yes. I finally did the ask and he said yes. But now you’ve got to continue. Okay, well, how do you want to do this? Do you want to give me their contact information and I’ll call them, do you — maybe the three of us go grab a meal, what’s best for you? So it’s about not letting people off the hook. So once it’s open-ended, they said yes, that’s the close.

Ben Jones – Yeah, because it’s just as uncomfortable for a lot of advisors, if they haven’t done it a lot, right. So they’re — it’s a great point, right. They’re going phew, he said yes. They think their work’s done.

Michael Salmon – Right, but a year later, it’s never happened.

Ben Jones – Right.

Michael Salmon – So that’s why you have to then go for the — in a nice, subtle way, give them some options as to how they’d be comfortable doing it.

Ben Jones – I’ve always found that follow-up’s kind of where the magic happens in life and —

Michael Salmon – Right.

Ben Jones – — in business. So, in this case, you mentioned how you follow up. How often should advisors follow up on a — so I said yes, I’d be comfortable, no problem. Yeah, let’s go to lunch, and it’s a month later and I’ve not set up lunch, or we haven’t worked it out. How often should they follow up?

Michael Salmon – Well, first of all, I would continue that if you said yes, I’d say well, when can I get back to you on that, would like next Thursday, does that make sense? I’ll call you next Thursday; we’ll just button it up. So I’m saying it conversationally, and then I have you buttoned up. So let’s say next Thursday happens, you’re not there, or it goes dormant. I’ll come back to you and say listen, Ben, we talked about getting together, are you still comfortable doing that? Then I would just say realistically, what’s a good timeline for you. Do you want to do it before opening day, do you want to do it like by 4th of July. So I’ll give you some timeframes that are out a little bit, so I’m not sweating you, but hopefully, inject a little humor into it, so again, it’s conversational, you don’t feel like I’m sweating you for this because I’m not desperate, I’m not needy.

Ben Jones – Yeah.

Michael Salmon – You know, and that’s key, too. So to me, the timeline is based on your schedule and how the relationship you have with the person, and when you want to do it, and give them a little bit of time.

Ben Jones – I like that. You know, you’ve seen a lot of advisors doing this a lot of different ways. You’ve coached a lot of them and probably corrected some bad habits. So what are the most common kind of do-not-dos or things that people should avoid when it comes to kind of ineffective strategies around client acquisition?

Michael Salmon – I think we touched on some before, is not having a plan and just randomly network to network, to me, is an exercise in futility. Not asking properly, I think, is probably the most cringe-worthy aspect. Can you think of somebody else that could benefit from my service, or you put in your e-mail, don’t keep me a secret, or the greatest compliment you can give me is a referral. That stuff, to me, is passé and I would say, if you’re doing it, and anybody listening to this, eliminate that as soon as possible.

Ben Jones – It’s time to stop, huh?

Michael Salmon – It’s my opinion.

Emily Larsen – Michael has given us some amazingly concrete and actionable strategies for acquiring new business. It’s now up to you to do something with them. One suggestion would be to set aside an hour this week and think through how you can begin to apply this to your roadmap. For more information on Michael and the Salmon Academy, check out the resources section on our show notes page, where you can find his website and direct contact information.

Ben Jones – We’ll leave you with Michael’s final thoughts on how it feels when you get the client acquisition process correct. If you’re the end client, the prospect that gets converted to being a client of that advisor, what does it feel like when the advisor went through the right process to earn your trust?

Michael Salmon – I think there are two things that are really critical. It’s because of the way the person made me feel. Let’s say you’re the advisor. I decided to go with Ben because he makes me feel good, and the way he described the client experience, I want that.

Ben Jones – What does it feel like when you’re an advisor and you get client acquisition right?

Michael Salmon – Do you ski?

Ben Jones – Yes.

Michael Salmon – Okay. When you go down the slope and you nail it, it’s a euphoric feeling, right?

Ben Jones – Absolutely.

Michael Salmon – Same thing bringing in a client. The adrenaline rush when you do it right, I still, to this day, when I get a client or somebody says yes, I still will go, all right! Which tells me, I’m still in the game!

Ben Jones – Thank you for listening to Better Conversations. Better Outcomes.  This podcast is presented by BMO Global Asset Management.  To access the resources discussed in today’s show, please visit us at www.bmogam.com/betterconversations.

Emily Larsen – We love feedback, and would love to hear what you thought about today’s episode.  You can send an e-mail to betterconversations@bmo.com.

Ben Jones – And we really respond.

Emily Larsen – We do.

Ben Jones – If you thought of someone during today’s episode, we would be flattered if you’d take a moment and share this podcast with them.  You can listen and subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, or whatever your favorite podcast provider is.  And, of course, we would very greatly appreciate if you’d take a moment to rate or review us on that app.  This show and resources are supported by a very talented team of dedicated professionals at BMO, including Pat Bordak, Gayle Gipson, Matt Perry, Derek Devereaux.  The show is edited and produced by Jonah Geil-Neufeld and Annie Fassler of Puddle Creative.  And these are the real people that make this show happen, so thank you. Until next time, I’m Ben Jones.

Emily Larsen – And I’m Emily Larson.  From all of us at BMO Global Asset Management hoping you have a productive and wonderful week.

Disclosure – The views expressed here are those of the participants and not those of BMO Global Asset Management, its affiliates, or subsidiaries.  This is not intended to serve as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any company, industry, strategy, or security.  This presentation may contain forward looking statements.  Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such statements as actual results could vary.  This presentation is for general information purposes only and does not constitute investment, legal, or tax advice and is not intended as an endorsement of any specific investment product or service.  Individual investors are to consult with an investment, legal, and/or tax professional about their personal situation.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  BMO Asset Management Corp. is the investment advisor to the BMO Funds.  BMO Investment Distributors, LLC is the distributor.  Member FINRA/SIPC.  BMO Asset Management Corp. and BMO Investment Distributors are affiliated companies.  Further information can be found at www.bmo.com.

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