You all remember Carole Mahoney? Well, here she is again!
I was recently asked by an associate to sit in on a forum for a large, national financial planning company. They want to diversify their recruitment by attracting more women for new financial planners (sales). I guess, unlike some political candidates, they don’t have binders full of women.
And like a lot of entrepreneurs, they too had been using traditional outbound recruitment tactics. Cold calling, prospecting, getting lists, posting to job boards…
Like many established businesses today who started selling one thing
under one brand decades ago, they are reinventing themselves. Let’s assume that
they have done their homework and built a strategy based on their buyer persona modes. They have
even changed their product and service offering according to what those buyer personae want. Now they are ready for
the next stage of growth and need to scale their sales team.
They know what their sales rock stars look like, act like, and what success to them feels like. Now- where to find them (and be found by them)? How to approach them? How to develop trust with their prospects and sell them?
They thought, ‘who better than to ask successful and driven women how they can recruit the right types of woman that fits their ideal profile?’ I thought, ‘of course women are better at being consultative sales people (and financial planners) – it is in our nature.’
But immediately after the meeting, I realized that the links and cross over between recruiting internally for the right sales people and then having those same sales people try to identify and connect with customers externally are a lot of the same concepts and processes- just a different situational scenario.
What came from the focus group? (some of these might sound familiar
if you are a regular reader)
- Focus on referrals first.
- Combine and integrate inbound and outbound tactics. Virtual and in real life.
- Transparency- bring up their objections and address them before they do.
- Set the expectation. Be prepared to answer “Why should I do this? Why do you care?”
- Segment – drill down in the buyer persona mode you are trying to attract beyond the demographics and get to know their psycho graphics. Figure out their why. The rest will follow.
- Go where they are-think outside the norm. You might think, financial adviser- finance major graduating! What about those who are good a sales and people skills, can’t they learn the service? Where are those people?
- Approach-according the buyer persona mode! For example: if you want to attract more woman, have more woman doing the recruiting. People buy from people, and from people like them.
Here’s one thing that was probably assumed, and likely the most dangerous assumption they could make, is that their sales profile and their customer persona modes are aligned. If they’re not, that’s a disaster waiting to happen. Like ‘a-strong-independent-female-trying-to-buy-a-car-from-a-macho-chauvinistic-sales-man-who-only-asks-where-her-husband-is’ kind of disaster.