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Business Tips & Tricks for Navigating These Unprecedented Times

As most of our world starts working from home and practicing this new social-distancing measure, business can get a bit tricky. We want to be courteous to everyone in this time, yet we still have services to offer our clients. I work in the financial industry and these are some of the things that we’ve been doing to continue scheduling meetings.

  1. Phone appointments – Offer a phone appointment in lieu of the standard and now taboo face-to-face appointment.
  2. Video chats – Some people still like to see each other face-to-face and programs like Zoom are great for that.
  3. Webinars – WebEx is a great service professionals are using to offer webinars to people about how their services are helping their clients during these times.
  4. Being respectful – We do understand that certain regions and industries in our country are in different phases of this lockdown and although some areas have been super receptive to these new virtual meetings we do realize they may not be best for some regions and/or industries.

The one thing I do know for certain is that the financial industry has to keep going. Financial advisors have clients who may need them now more than ever. Perhaps just a refresh on their portfolio, or some reassurances to keeping their portfolio the same, and some may be looking at investment vehicles that will strengthen their portfolio at this time. Plus, you’ll always have savvy clients who are buying low hoping to reap the rewards when the economy bounces back.

We are still busy and helping all of our clients in the industry so if you are a financial professional and need some help scheduling phone appointments, video chats or webinars please feel free to give us a call at 515.309.2838 or shoot us an email at

Regardless of your situation now is the best time to take advantage of time with your family. Play games, enjoy each others company and now for a lot of people it’s become ‘Bring Your Kid To Work Day’ every day, put those kids to work. 😊

Continue to smile, laugh and love. We’ll get through this together!

Motivation Tuesday!

Okay, so I realize it’s typically Motivation Monday, but I post my blog on Tuesday’s and let’s face it – we could use some motivation every day! And especially with the time change, some of us are struggling a little bit more than others with our motivation this week.

At times we all struggle with motivation. We have great intentions, but at times we need a little boost. Where do we get our motivation? Maybe it’s from attending a conference, reading an article or seeing something on TV but that motivation quickly fades, and we are back to our old habits.

So how do we stay motivated? Look at the list of fun ways to stay motivated below.

*Create goals and post them. I am a goal setter and I love to write down my goals in notebooks or on sticky notes and post them. They may be business goals, income goals, fitness goals, home goals, travel goals… you get the picture. I not only like to post my goals where I can see them I like to post photos of what I’m working towards as well. You could tack up a photo of your dream home, dream vacation, dream office, dream life … whatever you dream, post it where you can see it daily.

*Create a reward system. I’ll be honest – my reward system is quite hilarious because even though it does force me to work harder I don’t always reward myself with what I intended. For instance, years ago I created some income goals and once I reached them my reward was to hire a cleaning lady. I decided when I reached my goal, I should probably make even more money before I hire cleaning lady, so I did it again. It’s been 10 years and I’ve reached 4 major income goals and have never hired a cleaning lady. Somehow this bizarre reward that I never give myself is still working for me! I do sprinkle in a booked massage or facial now and then, but my big goal of hiring a cleaning lady … I’ve just never pulled the trigger. Maybe this year will be the year!

*Have fun! Stay motivated by scheduling some fun in each day – I guess you can view this as a reward for working hard but when you have something to look forward to it does make a person more productive. Schedule lunch with a friend, schedule a massage, stop by DQ for your favorite cool treat, listen to your favorite podcast – whatever it is – do it! Don’t get stuck in a cycle of wake, work, eat, sleep, repeat. Schedule some fun in every day – even if its only 5 minutes of fun – it’ll be worth it.

*Get an accountability partner. If you can’t stay motivated on your own no matter what you try, find someone who will motivate you. Depending on where you live it may be difficult to find like-minded people, or someone interested in trading motivational banter, so you may need to network to find just the right person. If you can find someone to talk to and bounce ideas off of to stay motivated it can go a long way.

*Join a group. You may find a local group or online group that helps motivate you and keep you on your toes. There are a lot of very ambitious people out there willing to help others. They often meet monthly or weekly and sometimes meetings include a meal. Whatever it is – research the group and make sure it’s a good fit for you.

*Hire a business or life coach. If you are super serious about achieving all the goals in your life and know you need more help than what’s listed above – consider hiring a business coach or life coach. There are many great ones out there that love helping people achieve their dreams. Ask a friend, a lot of people use business or life coach and many have had incredible results.

Whatever you decide to do, just do it! A great friend of mine and I were talking the other day and she was talking about going back to school for a new career. Of course, we discussed the fact that once you are married, have kids and are nearing 40 – going back to school isn’t exactly ideal. But she made a comment that has really stuck with me. She said, “The time is going to pass anyway.”

That is such a great way to look at it! You can do what you want today and in two years be exactly where you wanted to be OR you can sit back, do nothing and in two years be in the exact same situation you are today. The time is going to pass anyway. Ultimately the choice is yours! How do you want to live your life?

Danae Branson is the Founder of Elite Scheduling Services. Elite specializes in appointment setting services for financial professionals.


Get Uncomfortable

Successful people are risk takers and successful people know that the key to continued growth and success is to get uncomfortable. Getting uncomfortable keeps you sharp, it keeps you in tune with what your clients want and it forces you to always bring your “A” game. When you feel like your success has grown stagnant take a step back and consider if maybe you’ve just gotten too comfortable with your career? Or with your business?

When it comes to growing your business is there something you’ve always wanted to do but you’ve been hesitant because you just aren’t sure of yourself? Is there something that you know would skyrocket your business to the top but it’s risky or outside of your realm of comfort? If your sales have plateaued and you desire to continue to grow your sales then get uncomfortable. Take a deep breath, form a plan and stick to it. Don’t chicken out.

Set your goals. Write them down. Follow them. Continue to tell yourself that real growth only happens when you get uncomfortable. It’s time to push yourself, see what you’re made of and move forward. We all have times in our lives where we are just comfortable and that’s okay. Some people grow a business and are content when it plateaus. They just coast along keeping it at the same level and they are happy. And others of us are blessed (or cursed, whichever way you look at it) with the desire to always want more. To want to achieve more. To keep on going. We are those people that need to get uncomfortable.

So is getting uncomfortable for you? Take a moment and think about your career/business. Where are you in it? Is it enough for you? Do you want more? Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, heck where do you see yourself this year? If you want more, need more, desire more – then keep climbing my friend. Make a pact with yourself right now that you are going to spend more time this year getting uncomfortable and you will be amazed at what you can do.

Danae Branson is the founder of Elite Scheduling Services offering virtual appointment setting, marketing and administrative services to professionals in the financial industry. You can learn more at


Is It Time to Hire A Scheduling Assistant?

Most of the time when an external wholesaler or financial advisor call me to hire a scheduling assistant, they needed an assistant yesterday. Their busy day-to-day lives have proven that they need some help and one of the first things my target market does is outsource the scheduling.

So how do you know if it’s time to hire someone to take over your scheduling? If you answer, Yes to any of the questions below, you are ready to hire a scheduler.

  1. Are you overwhelmed with sales meetings, travel and paperwork so you struggle to find time to schedule appointments?
  2. Are you stuck in a vicious cycle of scheduling appointments to meet prospects, then after you’ve had your meetings you have to take time to schedule again to avoid a bare calendar?
  3. Do you absolutely dread scheduling appointments?
  4. Would you rather spend your time in front of clients/prospects rather than on the phone scheduling?
  5. Are you eager to build consistency with your meetings?

Once you’ve determined you need to hire a scheduling assistant what are best practices when working with an assistant. Assuming you hire an experienced scheduler, who is also a great personality fit for your business, below are best practices to follow:

  1. Provide list of contacts. Lists are great either in the form of an Excel document or access to a CRM database where they can pull contact information.*Please make sure lists have good contact information including name, phone number, address & if you’d like your scheduler to email, she’ll need email addresses.

  2. Access to a calendar.  For face-to-face appointment setting it helps if there are regular rotations or loops in the territory and the calendar is planned out at least two to three months in advance. If the scheduler knows when you’ll be in a certain area on future dates this gives them the opportunity to schedule more appointments. Also be sure to block out time for your vacations, national sales meetings and other appointments as soon as you can so your scheduler knows when you are not available. For phone appointment setting the loops and zones aren’t as important – just be sure your calendar is up to date with dates and times you are available for the phone appointments.

  3. Provide your expectations. What does your ideal day look like? Will you see/visit with potential clients Monday – Friday, or are Friday afternoons office days? What are your preferred times for appointments? Will you see/visit with potential clients from 8:00 -5:00 or do you prefer to start your appointments at 9:00 and end by 4:00? Do you do lunch meetings, breakfast meetings or happy hours or do you prefer not to buy meals and drinks? How many meetings would you like set each day? How long do you like to block out on your calendar for each appointment? How often would you like reports and what do you want on them?

    1. (Example: I want to have five meetings per day on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  Don’t schedule appointments before 10am on Mondays or after 12:00 p.m. on Fridays.  Leave at least 1 hour between appointments and 1 hour for each appointment. The earliest I’ll see someone T-F is 7:30 a.m. breakfast and the latest on M-TH is 5:00 p.m. happy hour. Please send a report each Monday for the previous week that includes number of dials, number of contacts and number of appointments set for that week, etc.)


  1. Communication, Communication, Communication – Communication with your scheduling assistant is key.  It is important that everyone knows what their responsibilities are and what is expected of them.  Think of your scheduler as a member of your team. The more the scheduler knows about your territory, your expectations and your calendar, the better.


  1. Provide a hook. Your scheduler will need a script or general bullet points and anything else that will be beneficial to her in setting appointments. Do you have a hot new product or service? Is your product doing really well or does your service provide a much needed solution to a growing problem? Your scheduler will know what information she needs to be successful.


At the end of the day if you need a good scheduling assistant, please feel free to email me at or give me a call at 515.309.2838. I’m happy to help!

Increase Sales in the 4th Quarter

The fourth quarter is here and you know what that means? Quickly scramble to try to fill your calendar with as many appointments as possible to make as many sales as possible.

Well, how do you do that?

*Create a plan. Decide what you need to do in the 4th quarter and divide that out by month/week/day. I like to put my goals in my calendar, so I see them every day.

*Be consistent and persistent. This is key to stay the course. You want to continue to meet and exceed your goals and then celebrate at the end of the year. Work hard – play hard … it’s a good mantra!

*Put yourself in your client’s shoes. If you were a client or prospective client, why would you want to see you? What do you have to offer? How can you serve others? What exciting information do you have to share? Why is there urgency in setting the meeting to take place before the end of the year?

These are all very important questions to ask yourself and will help you generate more appointments.

*Offer alternative ways to connect. People get very busy over the holidays and if you want to connect you may have to offer a phone appointment, lunch, breakfast, coffee, happy hour, or meet them somewhere they need to be. Do they need to run to the mall to do some shopping? If so meet them there. What about the coffee shop right next to the grocery store, dry cleaners or any other errand they may have to run after or before your meeting. Make your appointment with them as convenient and time effective as possible.

*Bring them/send them something useful. Tell your prospect or client that you have something for them and would like to stop by to drop it off and chat for about 10 minutes. Around the holiday season useful things could be a ham or turkey, cookies, chocolates, poinsettias, a bottle of wine or champagne, or if you want to get super creative give them stamps that they can use for their holiday cards, gift tags, wrapping paper, ribbon or a fun family game that they can use at any gathering. Think about what you would love someone to give you around the holidays no matter how practical it may be.

*Hire a virtual assistant. The holidays are a busy time for you included! A virtual assistant can make calls and get the appointments on the calendar, she can assist you with your expense reports, gift giving, holiday cards and so much more! Hire a virtual assistant so your sole focus can be on sales and spending time with family. Plus, a virtual assistant can help you get a jump start on the new year. So while you are both working hard to finish up the 4th quarter, you can celebrate the holidays knowing that you’ve got a great start to the new year, too!

Good luck this quarter! Let the fun begin. 🙂

For more information on our virtual assistant/scheduling services, please visit or shoot me an email at

Manage A Busy Summer Schedule AND Grow Your Business!

Summer is here and it’s a crazy, busy time of year. The kids are out of school, summer vacations are in full swing and everyone has ball games, golf outings, beach days, family reunions and more! It’s a time to enjoy the beautiful weather and take that vacation so you can come back to the office renewed and ready to move mountains. Did you know that summer can also be a great time to grow your business?

With everything else going on don’t just put your business on autopilot to get through the summer. Take advantage of the tips and tricks below to make the summer of 2019 your best summer yet!

*Get organized! Take a few hours and get organized for the entire summer, yes it’s possible! Get your schedule on your calendar for the next three months! Carve out some time in your schedule and get it done.

*Prioritize! Now that your calendar is booked solid with everything BUT work, prioritize. Do you really need to do EVERYTHING you have on your calendar? What are the most important things? Leave those and either put the rest as optional or better yet, forget the rest.

*Outsource! Summer is a great time to start outsourcing some of your time consuming tasks. Most people don’t realize that there are several things they do that can be outsourced. The beauty of working with a highly skilled virtual assistant is they will help you manage your days and weeks. They will help take a lot off your plate. They are NOT another thing to manage, they will tell you what they need to be successful and they will keep you on task. Get more done this summer by hiring a virtual assistant that can do the dirty work while you take more time for yourself doing what you love whether that’s growing your business or a day at the beach or on the golf course! *** If you need help setting appointments this time of year – a skilled professional will know all the tricks to maximizing appointments in the summer months.

*Take a day off! I recently read in Inc. magazine that 42% of American workers do NOT take their vacation days! Everyone needs to take days off to relax the mind, body and soul, these days are extremely important if you want to continue to succeed. Your mind and body need rest. I am so relaxed when I’m on vacation that I typically come up with some of my best ideas. Take a journal with you on your vacation and write what comes to mind. This way you won’t stress about forgetting your great ideas and you can truly relax. You don’t have to take a week-long trip somewhere, you just need to get away from work for a few days. Working vacations don’t count – many employers are starting to frown upon those anymore.

*Just do it! You know that thing you’ve been planning and researching and finding every reason in the book why not to pull the trigger? May it’s learning a new language, or taking a trip overseas, perhaps you want to go sky diving or plant a vegetable garden. Whatever it is – just do it! Many people waste time just hem-hawing around and never really do anything about it. There comes a time when you just need to pull the trigger. Why not now?

*Have fun with marketing! People are in better moods in the summer – they might get your humor so try that fun marketing campaign you’ve been wanting to try. Summer opens people up to wanting to try new things so why not your product or service, get out there and make it happen!

*Throw an event!
If you need something fun for a client appreciation event and a way to advertise your business, have a fun open house, beach day, golf outing, clam bake or outdoor BBQ. You can always have live music, family games and drawings for cool stuff. Everyone loves free entertainment in the summer!

I hope you enjoy your summer this year and grow your business! You can do both!


How Can I Help You?

Have you ever walked into a sales meeting and the first thing the salesperson did was talk about him or herself and how they could help you and you sat there thinking … Wow, I don’t need this. This isn’t even close to what I was expecting to hear from him/her. This has happened to me several times so as a salesperson I started getting into the habit of starting my sales pitches by asking my clients and potential clients, How can I help you?

Sales shouldn’t be about telling someone how you can help them, it should be about asking how you can help them. When you truly listen to your clients needs you are building trust. You are showing them that you genuinely care about them and want to help them. I admit, I’m human and a few times I’ve fallen back into the old habit of assuming I know how to help someone and almost every time I end up in some awkward conversation because the prospect and I end talking about two different things. When I ask someone how I can help them, they can tell me what they need and I can intelligently articulate how I can help them. Remember the old saying, When you assume you make an *ss out of you and me.

Now perhaps you can only help them with a few of their needs but the needs they have that aren’t in your wheelhouse can always be handled my someone else. Have a list of referrals ready to give to those clients or potentials clients. You might find that you are always able to help your clients with A, B & C, but many of them have a common problem, D, that isn’t something you handle. Find great people that can help them with D and refer them on.

For example, I work with a lot of external wholesalers who call on financial advisors. And I know that a lot of financial advisors need help setting appointments, finding good lead sources, processing paperwork, staying organized, etc. As a wholesaler you might know of a service or services that you can refer to your prospects and clients. At the end of the day being a salesperson is about helping others. Of course, we all need to make money but what drives you? Is it the money alone or is it being helpful and the money?

I think the most successful salespeople genuinely care about helping their clients. Doesn’t it feel great to make someone else’s life a bit easier? To help someone else grow their business? To help someone else find a solution to their needs?

I worked for a MDRT advisor years ago that always said he never planned on retiring because he was having too much fun helping his clients. That man was one of the most successful advisors I’ve ever come across in my twenty years in the industry and I truly believe it was his desire to help and educate his clients about building their wealth that greatly contributed to his success. He always asked how he could help them and then he did just that, if they needed a lawyer – he’d refer a lawyer, if they needed a CPA – he’d refer a CPA. He didn’t just help them with the wealth building part, he helped them with anything they needed. Heck, I think sometimes they’d even ask things like, “Do you know a good painter, I need my house painted.” Or “Where could I get a good deal on a new car?” He built solid relationships with his clients, got to know them and helped them in several facets of their lives.

The next time you are sitting in front of a client or prospect at a sales meeting ask them how you can help them. You might be surprised at how fast you can grow a business by asking that question first! And when your clients love you and want to work with you, ask for referrals! People are happy to spread the word about their great experiences.

So … how can I help you?


Danae Branson is the founder of Elite Scheduling Services, a premier scheduling service in the financial industry. You can find more information about Elite’s services at or by emailing Danae at



Generate Leads with LinkedIn Optimization

I’ve written blog posts about LinkedIn before. I’ve built a company by using LinkedIn. When I started my virtual assistant company in 2009, I chose LinkedIn as my go-to social media platform for networking and marketing. Why? Because my niche market was external wholesalers, financial advisors and other professionals in the financial services industry. Almost all my prospects had a LinkedIn profile. Also, LinkedIn was easy to use and easy to manage.

Fast forward ten years and I still used LinkedIn as my number one social media platform. I’ve built some amazing relationship on LinkedIn and have learned over the years the best ways to use it to build a business.

But now I’m ready to step it up a notch and so I am now working on optimizing my LinkedIn profile. There are several things that go into a LinkedIn profile and the algorithm LinkedIn uses to suggest connections for you. Although, I was doing a great job before – I want to do an even better job.

Things I’ve recently learned about LinkedIn.

  1. As a business owner, you should have a business page, a personal profile and showcase pages.
  2. To maximize your appeal, you should have enough information about you, your products and/or services on your LinkedIn profile to entice someone to want to do business with you without having to check out your website.
  3. You should include a handful of recommendations/testimonials and give recommendations to others.
  4. Make sure you have enough images on your profile such as a cover image, image of yourself, images next to your experience, etc.

If you are interested in working with us to have your profile optimized please feel free to reach out to me at My profile is being optimized as we speak so stay tuned for more information on this service.

If you are a professional marketing to other professionals, consider making LinkedIn a bigger part of your networking efforts. I spend about 30 minutes a day on LinkedIn and it does take time to build a solid network but it’s worth it! Here’s how it’s worked for me.

Start with your profile. I admit, I need a better picture of myself (It’s on my To Do list), a good professional photo is a must. It still amazes me the people who went to the trouble of creating a LinkedIn page and then never added a photo. I don’t know about you, but I’m hesitant to connect with someone whose profile picture is a white silhouette of a person on a gray background. A professional photo is best but depending on your field you may be able to do just as much networking with a more casual one.

Complete as much as the profile as possible. Before someone will connect with you they want to look at your page to be able to see where you live, where you work, what your past work experiences are, where you went to college, etc. The more you include the better. Someone may connect with you for the simple fact that they notice you went to the same college, or live in the same city, or are both a part of the same group or organization. You never know what might attract more connections, so fill it all out.

Start connecting. This is the way I look at it … I reach out to people who I can help, not people who can help me. There has to be something in it for my connections. Why would they be interested in connecting with me? What problem do they have that I can solve? I only reach out to a very specific group of people. I’m not just willy-nilly connecting with everyone on LinkedIn.

As far as connecting there are a few ways to do it. You can either send a request to connect with someone, you can send a note to request a connection or you can go through a mutual connection to connect with someone. I’ve sent invites and notes, but I’ve never requested a connection through a mutual connection.

When it comes to deciding on whether to send an invite or a note I suggest this: When you are just starting out and building your network – send notes. If you are requesting connections that have very few mutual connections with you – send a note. If you are requesting connections from people that have a lot of mutual connections, like say 20 or more – send an invite.

When someone requests a connection with me, I personally look to see how many connections we have in common. If we have a ton of connections in common, I’ll connect with them. If we don’t have many connections in common than I would like to see a note as to why I should connect with this person.

Send a personal note to your connections. Once someone has connected with you, send them a personal note introducing yourself. You want to make it clear who you are, what you do and how you can help them or how they can help you. Maybe they have a product or service, you are interested in. I have found that I get a great response from person notes. Don’t bcc everyone into a mass email.

Be active. One way to maximize your visibility is to post relevant material to your business. Post articles, blog posts, images … anything that can create a buzz about your business and how you help others. Part of optimizing a profile is having a social media calendar and a list of articles to post – we can help you with this!

Also, by joining groups in your target market you can post your relevant materials in those groups as well to gain more visibility.

In my 30 minutes a day on LinkedIn I first send personal messages to everyone who has connected with me since the day before. Then I go to the People You May Know list and try to connect with as many people as I can for the remainder of that time.

Once per week I do post a blog on my profile as well as in five groups that I’m in. The blog posts drive traffic to my LinkedIn site and often to my website. I probably will be increasing my posts on LinkedIn through my optimization.

I hope you’ve found this article helpful and will spend a few minutes today updating your LinkedIn profile, joining a few groups and creating a LinkedIn calendar to help keep you spend a few minutes each day building your network. After a few weeks you will notice an increase in your visibility. I didn’t grow my almost 5,000 connections overnight. If you are interested in increasing your connection at a faster rate I recommend optimizing your profile.

In the past 10 years, I’ve only ever gotten business through either LinkedIn, word-of-mouth referrals and people finding me on a Google search. I don’t have an advertising budget and it’s been wonderful.

More about me:

I am the Founder of Elite Scheduling Services. We offer appointment setting, marketing and administrative services to professionals in the financial industry. You can find more information about me and my company at I will be adding a lead generation section to my website soon!





Undervalued Lead Generation Strategies

Cold calling isn’t dead, but let’s be honest, who loves cold calling? Other than the amazing scheduling assistants on my team who prospect for specific clients, I haven’t met a business professional that loves cold calling. Here are some other great ways to generate leads!

  1. LinkedIn – LinkedIn is great for business-to-business relationships. When you keep a consistent schedule of connecting with your target market and sharing valuable posts to help them in their business you can build quite a following on the platform. There are business pages, profile pages, showcase pages and so much more you can take advantage of to help grow your business through LinkedIn. Stay tuned for next weeks post on maximizing your LinkedIn profile.
  2. Word of Mouth – When you offer value to your clients and they are happy, they are more than happy to share their good fortune with their colleagues. Create a reputation that allows your clients to share with your prospects and ask for referrals – a referral is the greatest complement a client can give you!
  3. Dinner/Lunch Seminars – Seminars are a great way to get in front of a group of people that you can help. If you want high quality clients, offer a high-quality meal. When these are done right you should have a great return on investment.
  4. Educational Workshops – Create a stellar workshop around a popular topic or pain point for you prospects and get them to come listen to you present without a meal. This is still a great way to get in front of a group of people and a lot of people are more likely to come to a group meeting versus a one-on-one appointment the first time meeting you.
  5. Lead Funnels – Depending on your target market using Facebook and Google Ads have become a great way to generate leads that just show up in your inbox. Lead funnels can be complex and to ensure a great return on your investment it’s advised you hire a professional who knows what they are doing.
  6. Snail Mail – Yes, that’s right – send your prospects a good old-fashioned letter or marketing piece. In case you haven’t noticed, you probably don’t get much mail anymore. I know I don’t – so I read every piece I receive. I’ve decided to hire local professionals based on the mail I’ve received from them. Now that junk mail is on the decline, mail just seems so much more personal. I get maybe 5 pieces of mail per day compared to hundreds of emails.

I am the founder of Elite Scheduling Services and we provide external wholesalers, financial advisors and other professionals in the financial industry with administrative, marketing and appointment setting services. You can learn more about me and my services at My website will be updated soon to reflect our LinkedIn profile and lead optimization services along with our lead funnel services.

How to Create a Sales Funnel

There are a lot of ways to create sales funnels using so many different platforms – Facebook, Google Ads, LinkedIn, Click Funnels, Active Campaign, etc. The most important thing with sales funnels is to follow the steps below to maximize it’s potential.

According to Business Know How here’s how to go about creating a sales funnel to drive sales for your business:

Step 1: Identify Your Prospects

The first step in the sales process is identifying prospects. The goal is to drive interested parties into the wide end of your sales funnel so that you can qualify them as good prospects or identify them as “unwanted residue.”

First, begin by defining your ideal customer. It helps if you draw a sketch.

Create a questionnaire for yourself that identifies the problems your ideal customer has. For instance, if you are financial advisor, you may have a questionnaire that looks something like this:

  1. Do you need help with your financial planning?
  2. Do you expect big changes coming like a home purchase, retirement or kids in college?
  3. Are you currently working with a financial advisor?
  4. Are you happy with your current financial situation?

You’ll have to come up with your own list of qualifying questions. You’re not going to share this questionnaire with anyone; it’s merely for your planning benefit. The goal here is to figure out your ideal customer’s needs and desires.

Step 2: Qualify Your Prospects

Just because a person fits into your ideal customer demographic doesn’t mean that they are necessarily an ideal customer. Maybe Bob and Jane would like to retire but they have zero money. They certainly wouldn’t be in your prospect range if that is the case.

Therefore, you’ll need a way to qualify your prospects after you’ve identified them, and after you’ve driven them into your sales funnel.

Qualifying prospects is not difficult. You can take surveys or conduct polls, you can start conversations and get people to talking so that they reveal their needs and desires, or you can create a product that appeals to your ideal customer then promote it to the right audience. Those who qualify will bite while those who don’t, won’t.

Step 3: Apply Sales Funnel Fundamentals

Your sales funnel consists of the means you use to drive prospects and potential customers to your business and close the sale. Online, you might have a blog that you write to every day. You promote your blog on social media to draw attention to your business. After you get prospects to your blog, you entice them with an offer in order to get their e-mail addresses. You then send out periodic e-mail messages to get those prospects interested in a product you want them to buy.

Some marketers go so far as to segment their prospects. They can then market specific products to those segments.

Step 4: Establish Your Sales Funnel

The best way to set your sales funnel is to plan it backwards. If you are trying to get an appointment, for instance, you have to find the people willing to meet with you for the benefits you’re offering. But very few people are going to meet with you unless they know they can trust you. So, you have to slowly build up some trust.

That means you need to offer a video or guide of some sort to entice them to learn more about what you can offer then. You’ll need to create that product, but what needs to happen before you do that?

Walk yourself through the sales process backward. At each step in the process, ask yourself, “What is my prospect likely to do before they trust me enough to take this action?” Then ask yourself, “What do I need to do to drive my prospect to that decision?”

A typical backward plan for a sales process looks like this:

  1. Flagship offer (the appointment)
  2. Mid-range offer (a financial planning guide)
  3. Intro product (a video)
  4. Free informational piece (teaser)
  5. E-mail opt-in campaign
  6. Blog conversation
  7. Social media interaction

Offline, it might look more like this:

  1. Appointment
  2. Planning guide
  3. Video
  4. Receives monthly brochure
  5. Gets on mailing list
  6. Checks out website
  7. Meet at networking event

The key is to understand what your customer wants and what you have to do to deliver those benefits. To get to the initial stage in your sales process, you have to think backward from the point you want your customer to end up. That’s how you create your sales funnel.

These sales funnels sound complicated, but they work! I know a lot of people these sales funnels and most of them work so well those people start building sales funnels for other people.

If you are interested in learning more about sales funnels and how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to email me at

I am the Founder of Elite Scheduling Services. We offer scheduling, administrative and marketing services to professionals in the financial industry.

Danae Branson