Perfect Your 'N' In An Age Where Cold Calling Is Dead

What is your "N?" When I set out to become an Investment Advisor in the late 90's, I read a book by Nick Murray entitled, "The Excellent Investment Advisor." One of the things from the book that resonated with me was the calculation of one's 'N.' Your 'N' was the number of people you had to talk to in order to make a sale. The idea was if you tracked your numbers and knew how many sales calls you had to make in order to find success, it would be easier to make those calls. Rejection would not be taken to heart. It would simply be one step closer to a new relationship.

I recorded the results of 13,476 cold calls. I still have the stacks of dash filled sheets of paper to prove it. My 'N' was 41. I had to make 41 cold calls in order to gain an appointment with a prospect. 15.4% of those initial meetings ended up as a client. The average account size was $342,000. My average fee was 1.25%. Working backwards, I was able to determine that every time I made a phone call, regardless of outcome, it added $16 to my business revenue. It made me view picking up the phone differently. If someone said "I'll pay you $16 to make a phone call," would you do it? That's how I changed my mindset, embraced sales calls and built a business.

Of course, making thousands of sales calls still wears you down. It's not easy. So you begin looking for ways to improve your success rate. I was always in search of ways to lower my "N." Experience and training helped me bring it down over time. Lowering it from 41 proved difficult. The majority of those calls weren't conversations. They were "No Answers," "Left Messages" or immediate "Deletions." I was always on the lookout for better lists only to discover there is no golden list. There is no magic formula.

If I were starting out today, I think cold calls would be more difficult. How many people even answer their phone anymore if they don't recognize the number. You can email people but the trick is getting people to read what you've sent. There is still no magic formula. Fortunately, technology can make things easier. These days I talk to people about Life Design Analysis ( LDA software has a very cool feature called Interactive Case Sharing. It allows you to produce a professional looking report that compares various insurance options. You then have the ability to produce a link to that report which you can share with a prospective client. You can embed the link into an email that describes why the report should be of value to them. LDA will then notify you if and when the prospect opens the report. It will even tell you how long they viewed the report and which pages they spent the most time looking at.

I wish we had technology like that in 1999. The "golden list" would evolve, as I only followed up with prospects who showed they had an interest in what I sent them. Far fewer "Deletions" and "No Answers" would lead me to my desired lower 'N.' I'd be able to reach and help the people who needed my service the most, which really was the goal all along. There's just better ways to get there in 2017.

If you want to learn more about case sharing or Life Design Analysis, get in touch!