Sales and Sales Management Blog

January 10, 2008

Are Your Prospects Nervous?


The financial news hasn’t been all that great lately.  Headlines are full of dire warnings about the credit crisis, home sales, banks losing tremendous sums of money, and the potential of a recession—or that a recession is already here.  The markets for the past several months have been fluctuating over a 1,800-point span with each new low being lower than the previous.

Many investors are nervous and are trying to determine what moves they should or shouldn’t be making.  Is the advice they’re getting from their financial adviser accurate?  Is it based on sound reasoning?  Is there better advice out there they should be listening to?

Businesses are nervous as well.  Will the credit markets continue to tighten?  If so, how will that affect their ability to get the credit they need for equipment, plant expansion, or operating capital?  What do they need to be doing now to insure that they protect themselves against any further weakening in the economy?  Are their relationships with their banks solid?  Are their banks solid?  Should they be looking to create new relationships with other lending institutions just in case?

If you sell in the financial markets—virtually any financial market—this is one of the best times in years to be looking to expand your client base.  Your prospects are beginning to wonder about what they need to be doing to protect themselves–and that inevitably leads to questioning their current relationships. 

For the past several years the stock market has been very healthy.  Almost everyone in the market has made money.  Few questioned their financial adviser’s ability to give them advice and direction.  And since they were making money, why take an additional risk by changing advisers?

Likewise, businesses found credit easy to get and their lenders were more than willing to work with them on rate.  There was no need to look elsewhere.  If they needed money, their current credit relationships were generally more than sufficient.

Things are changing.  Investors and businesses are no longer comfortable, unwilling to take the time and effort to examine alternatives.  Many are actively looking for alternatives; others are open to looking at alternatives if approached.

Now is prime time for business bankers, financial planners, securities brokers, factoring companies and others to be expanding their marketing and prospecting efforts.  Now is the time to be in front of potential prospects.  Direct mail and advertising isn’t the route to be taking now, it’s too slow.  You want to get in front of prospects right now before the economy gets worse or improves.  Take immediate measures to increase your efforts to get a one-on-one appointment.  That means more cold calling, more networking, more referrals.  Whatever method you use to set appointments needs to be increased now, not later. 

On another note, I’d like to thank The Carnival of Capitalists  for featuring my post “The False Promise of Word of Mouth Marketing” in this week’s edition, as well as Dawn Rivers Baker for her kind words about the article in The Journal Blog  did state that she disagreed with some of the article—that might generate an interesting conversation; and Catalyst Exhibits  for pointing out the article also.

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