Prospecting Through Client Appreciation
For the mature advisor, prospecting and marketing tactics often differ from those of younger or newer producers. Rather than “cold calling” by phone or in person, much of the marketing that takes place revolves around providing value to existing clients. Taking the time to foster deep connections results in a better experience for the individual as well as greater profits and, in turn, cultivates referrals and cross-selling opportunities.
In our business, my partner Kevin Moore and I focus on developing relationships with our existing client base in numerous and unique ways. Most importantly, each client participates in a comprehensive annual review to help assess their current financial situation, set goals and measure success. When clients experience significant life changes, we are able to conduct these reviews more often. An extensive review of assets not only allows clients to clearly see “where they are,” but also provides recommendations for moving forward.
Although every client is valued, it’s important to demonstrate an appreciation for what makes each client unique. Clients who have children are invited to attend local baseball games. Those interested in history or travel are provided a guided tour of the historical district of San Antonio or other nearby points of interest. Clips and articles featuring clients are also tracked and sent, making them feel valued for individual achievements. We also send relevant books or articles when we feel they would be appreciated. Because we recognize their individual interests and needs, clients learn to rely on our expertise and see their advisor as a close friend and confidant.
Transparency is a crucial aspect of one’s business, and we take this to heart when developing our annual financial report, which is similar to business summaries submitted by many large corporations each year. Not only do we share our business success and level of client assets, but also company events, characteristics of our “ideal client,” achievements of our principal advisors, and several business-related and personal photographs.
As an added measure, we put clients in touch with others who have shared interests or experiences. We encourage them to network and help facilitate job referrals. Often these client relationships or successes are featured in our monthly newsletters. Through these efforts, our reach extends outside the office to create a broad community centered on motivation and support.
As advisors, it’s important to educate clients not only about options available to them, but also the economy and financial industry as a whole. An educated client will understand the value of returning to their advisor time and time again. At quarterly recap breakfasts, we discuss various facets of the market and current conditions using graphics and charts. Clients are invited to bring guests and centers of influence—CPAs and attorneys, for example—which allows us to begin relationships with even more potential clients. To ensure we stay abreast on information to share with our clients, we attend events like the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) Annual Meeting and other seminars or work-shops throughout the year. By developing connections with some of the greatest minds in the business, we are able to offer even more beneficial services to our clients.
Throw in a Little Fun
Not all contact with clients should focus on finances. Many companies take steps to demonstrate “client appreciation,” but we go one step further with an annual dinner party—at my home. With no business presentation, this is an opportunity for clients to socialize, let loose and take advantage of the perks that come with loyalty and trust.
Each year, clients receive a birthday post featuring prices, movies, hit songs and history specific to their date of birth, which is signed by every member of our staff and all advisors. Birthday calls are an added touch to remind clients how special they are. And when loved ones pass away, cards are sent and donations made in their honor. All of these efforts is designed to show we care about them on a personal level. Each client is not just an “account” or “policy number,” but important to the success of our business each and every day.
As a company, we strive to provide not only excellent professional planning and service, but also compassionate and personalized interaction with those we serve. I have always remembered this valuable mantra: “If you do what is right and in your clients’ best interests, you will receive all you need in the way of business and compensation.” While most of our efforts cater to existing clients, they foster a climate where referral giving may flourish and, therefore, do the work of prospecting for us. With 27 successful years under my belt, I’ve never been short of grateful.
Sally Munford , CLU, ChFC, MSFS, AIF, is a principal at i*financial, located at 1901 Northwest Military Highway, Suite 222 in San Antonio, Texas. A 24-year MDRT member, Sally has served in many leadership positions with the association and earned three Court of the Table honors.