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Target market with a purpose

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The single most important ingredient that must be present with the prospect is a need or problem to solve.

Once upon a time, salespeople could talk consumers into wanting and needing. Those days are over. People will not, in large numbers, allow you to convince them to do anything without first having come to the conclusion, in their own opinion, that the problem exists. In many cases they don’t pursue a solution because they don’t believe one exists or they don’t know where to look.

Taking all of this into consideration, it’s best to locate prospects that are likely to be suffering from a problem. My old Dale Carnegie sales course taught that you should find a need and fill it. They didn’t teach us to create a need and jam it down their throat.

It’s acceptable to point out the problem if it is of significant importance. For instance, a business owner has a huge problem to solve: Taxes. Not current taxes, but future taxes. Since taxation occurs at the federal and sometimes state level, they’re not going away. I believe that future increases in taxation are inevitable. Our politicians seem to believe that there is an unlimited ability to tax and spread the wealth. The business owner has a capital gain upon the sale of his business. Then, he has taxes on the gains from the proceeds. A successful business owner’s biggest financial problem to solve is taxation. You, the advisor, are in a position to solve those problems. So, a business owner is a great target.

A successful business owner’s biggest financial problem to solve is taxation. You, the advisor, are in a position to solve those problems.

What about employees? There is a $7 trillion market to approach. Employees have approximately $4 trillion in plans with current employers. They have about $3 trillion left in old plans or rolled out as an IRA in a brokerage account. I recently bought Carol, my wife, a new car. I asked Cyndy, the sales person, how long she had been at the dealership. She said she had been there for just three months. I asked where she was employed before and how long. She had spent the last 10 years at her former employer. I asked what she had done with her 401(k) investments. She said that she rolled it to a self-directed brokerage account as an IRA. She was careful to point out that it was only $350,000. We have an appointment.

For life insurance agents, it may make sense to talk about inflation and taxes. Both of these issues can be addressed. Would there be some wisdom and avoiding future taxation on qualified accounts? Sure! Is inflation real problem? You bet it is!

According to Ed Slott, future taxes are a “tax time bomb.” It’s best to not create future taxation and start early to solve problems that already exist.

But, what about prospecting? You should get out more. If you’re married man, I’m going to suggest an idea that is akin to taking harsh medicine to get over an illness. Go shopping with your wife. You’re sure to be in the company of the other bored and irritated husbands and you can strike up a conversation for future discussion. Or, you can market to this demographic. There are numerous ways to do it. Direct mail, seminars by direct mail, phone contacts, email blasts, social media marketing, radio programs, TV ads. Any and all can work when done correctly.

When finding a problem to solve and marketing to people who are likely to have those problems, you’ll build a practice that has the opportunity to thrive.

AUTHOR BIO: Kim Magdalein is a Jacksonville, Fla.-based advisor with 30 years of experience who has written extensively about prospecting for a variety of industry publications and websites. He co-founded Seminars For Less nearly 20 years ago, a family business that has served thousands of financial advisors, insurance agents and attorneys as a leader in the seminar marketing space. You can contact him at 800-909-9894 or visit

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