Aviva’s outbound calling tips for advisers
Making contact by phone
Outbound calling is natural; making phone calls is a very easy way to stay in touch with clients.
Outbound calling is very similar to running a direct mail campaign. But there is a distinct difference between making calls to people who are in some way prepared to hear from you, and have agreed to pro-active contact, and ‘cold calling’ – about which the FCA and the PRA have strict rules.
In addition to the rules on distance communications set out in the FCA source books, the Information Commissioners Office (ico) also set out rules and guidance that need to be followed.
Although you’re likely to have a recurring diary, for annual reviews and making contact about renewal of policies, it’s easy to lose touch with clients over time. However, the fact that you’ve not spoken to someone for a while is a good reason to make contact – and simply ask how things are going, and whether you could catch up with them. It’s also an idea to schedule a call for around eight weeks after you’ve helped a client put a product into place: it’s a good opportunity to double-check they’ve received expected paperwork.
Make a call plan
It’s important to plan your outbound calling logically. Schedule an initial call (which may result in leaving a short message), identify some free time in which you can book appointments before you start making calls – and have an appropriate short message prepared, in case you talk to an answering machine. It is considered unprofessional to hang up without leaving a message, which includes at least your name, your contact phone number and a brief explanation as to why you were calling.
Time it carefully
Unlike post, which can be read at leisure, you have to think carefully about when you make an outbound call. The timing can have a significant effect on the responses you’ll get.
For example, if you want to talk with clients who are aged 20 to 40, and employed, it's unlikely you’ll find them at home during the day. Calls just after six or seven in the evening may be more productive. In the same vein, if you’d like to talk to key personnel in a business, you need to think about busy times – such as first thing on a Monday morning – and call at an appropriate time.
Think about what you want to say
Being confident, and having a few prepared responses and answers to likely questions can help you construct a more relevant ‘script – a framework around which to have a conversation. Jotting down a few notes may help; you could even ‘tick them off’ as you run through the important points of your call. These suggestions may help:
- Who am I talking to?
- Why am I calling?
- What would I like them to do next – arrange a meeting?
- What must I make sure they know (fees, times)?
- Have I confirmed dates and is there anything they’ve asked me to prepare?
Our outbound calling tips for financial advisers:
- Prepare yourself to make those calls. Choose a quiet environment where you won’t be disturbed, and jot down some reminders on a notepad. Have a pen to hand, and your diary.
- Accept that a ‘no thank you’ is possible, and treat it as a positive response. Even if the result is simply a cleaner database, it’s been a productive exercise.
- Be confident, calm, and professional. A smile helps, as does a ‘natural’ conversation. People can tell if you’re not being sincere, or you’re reading from a script.
- Get a result, and make a note of it. As before, the result may be a note to the effect of ‘don’t call again’ – but it could equally be an appointment, a need to send out information, or simply call back.
- Be polite, and follow up with the action you’ve promised, when you’ve promised. If you say that you’ll call back, or send literature by email or through the post – do so.
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