Ep. 331: The BEST Advice for Entrepreneurs (with Phil Graham)

Prospecting Advice from a CEO Who Created $22B in Sales and Investments

Who should listen: Our guest talks to financial advisors, but anyone who is new to prospecting for leads and building a book of business will benefit from listening to this week’s episode.

Key idea: When you consider how few times you need someone to say “Yes” for you to succeed, rejection is nothing to fear.

Action item: Call the leads you haven’t reached out to yet, and touch based with your current clients.

Phil Graham is a CEO and the creator of the life insurance solution Beneficiary Liquidity Plan™. His career in the financial services and insurance industries spans 20+ years, and, over those years, he and his team have created $22 billion in insurance, annuity, and investment sales. When it comes to prospecting for leads, Phil offers four pieces of advice to financial advisors that are equally applicable to any professional salesperson.

The first is about learning to sell.

Phil’s first job found him sitting at a fold-out table with little more than a pencil, a pad of paper, a list of names, and a phone. Every day, he made calls trying to convince financial advisors to work with specific insurance carriers. Critiques of his calls were good, but—as he tells in his story—one day a CEO of a major insurance carrier was in the office and heard him on the phone.

You can listen to Phil tell the rest of the story but, essentially, in colorful language, that CEO told him he needed to stop pitching a product and start telling a story.

You first need to ask questions to find out what your client needs and wants. Then tell them how your product satisfies those needs and wants. But don’t do it with a bunch of facts. Instead, as Phil says, you need to “paint them a picture” with words. Get them to engage with your solution so they can see how you can help them.

The second is about finding your ideal client.

Phil recalls another lesson he learned when he realized he had to find clients he was most capable of serving best and not necessarily clients he wanted to serve. Rather than pursue the clients with the deepest pockets, today he explains to advisors, “Rather than shoot an elephant with a BB gun, why not shoot a couple of hundred squirrels and make a million dollars?”

Of course, we all agree that when you’re first starting out, you should be willing to work with anyone not only because you have bills to pay but also because it’s how you will learn where your talents shine.

The third is addressed to salespeople who resist making phone calls.

The way Phil figures, if making a phone call isn’t going to kill you, but could, instead, make you a lot of money, then why wouldn’t you do it? Rejection is not something to take personally—especially when one call in 100 could make a financial advisor $100,000.

Phil comes from a time when there was no email or social media, and the Internet was still new. Today, he says, newer technologies enable salespeople to target their efforts more intelligently, but he insists that you need to keep phone calls a part of the process. He asks, “How else do you get business and make money without physically talking to someone?”

The final piece of advice is to team up with someone with experience.

Phil suggests that a financial advisor find themselves an experienced coach or mentor—someone who has already figured stuff out. Such a person can significantly lessen your learning curve, feed you leads, and possibly groom you in their image so that they have someone prepared to take over the business.

Of course, the conversation with Phil is much richer than the brief summary presented here. We encourage you to listen and enjoy this episode. We’d also appreciate it if you would give us a 5-star rating and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. (Not sure how to leave a review? Click here.)

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