February 17, 2014 by Travis Redfern
Steve Hudziak is all about the interview. He knows that the best way to figure out a client’s true needs is to respect the science of the interview.
That doesn’t mean that all Steve does is ask questions (even though he asks a lot of questions). But he also pays close attention to body language, and makes sure his reactions match their actions.
And he knows that the sale doesn’t come from the first appointment. It comes from subsequent meetings, and getting to know the person.
Most importantly, he’s built his success on referrals. He’s built a large clientele, and treats them all like family. And that’s why we’ve chosen him for our next installment in our agent interview series.
Firm name: Co-owner, Secure Retirement Solutions, Green Bay, WI
Years in industry: 24
Licenses: Life and health; member of the National Ethics Bureau, Better Business Bureau, and Financial Planning Association.
College: University of Wisconsin, Madison, bachelor’s degree in marketing and finance
1. Why do you choose to work with an independent marketing organization, like Brokers International?
At Brokers International, if you need them, they’ll come to bat for you.
From the first time we sat down with Brokers’ leadership, we knew almost right away that we would be moving our business. [Brokers employees] are more like us. We’re down to earth. We want to be fair to them. They want to be fair to us. We all want to do what’s right.
2. What are the methods that you use to get to know your clients?
If you treat clients sitting across from you like they are your family, and you’ll do anything for them, they’re going to come back to you.
I like to see how they sit in their chairs. We have round tables in our office, because when you have people sitting around, you’re not sitting across someone so there’s not a barrier. You feel like you’re in a family setting.
I always ask open-ended questions. If you wait, and ask the right questions, they tell you a lot of things, because you’re really digging into hot button issues.
I like to use the Sandler Pain Funnel strategy, which really helps me to get to know them.
3. Tell us about a recent interaction with a client where you really felt like you helped them.
A client that I’ll call Jane had just turned 60, and her husband had worked for 36 years at the Georgia Pacific Corporation in Green Bay. He was planning to retire, but got cancer and passed away suddenly. She had no one to help her with the paperwork that accompanied his death. They had made such an impact on me that I continue to work with her.
I will do anything for that lady and her late husband. He was good people. He would have her email us lists of people at Georgia Pacific that needed our help.
I recently met with her and her daughter last week to review her strategies. It was kind of a tear jerker just because I got close to him. And I thought about someone working his tail off for all those years and didn’t get to spend it and enjoy it.
Sometimes you get close like that. She’s already sending me more people. That’s just how we are here—we treat clients like family, like parents sitting across from us.
This material is being provided as a service to you. Please note that the information and opinions included are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by Broker’s International.
February 10, 2014 by Kyle Pieper
January has come and gone, and you should have some questions about how to plan for a successful 2014. Those questions could be:
- What have I done to plan for 2014?
- Do I want to take my business to the next level?
- How do I handle dormant clients?
- What do I do with clients that are time consuming but are generating no revenue?
This blog focuses on the heart of your business—clients. Clients aren’t customers. Customers are a commodity. Clients have a relationship with you, one that goes far beyond an inventory of their accounts.
If you have more customers than clients, you really need to take a step back and evaluate why they are not clients. Dig into your database and identify the people that haven’t done business with you in a while. Ask these questions about them:
- Are you building a relationship?
- Are you truly helping them in a holistic manner?
- What value are you adding to your client’s situation?
- Are you just one of the people they go to for specific financial products?
Now that you’ve asked (and hopefully answered) these questions, you should start to see some opportunities to reconnect with your clients. In the next installment of this blog, I’ll go over some strategies on how to beef up your referral business.
If you need additional ideas, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d be happy to help you dive deeper into your database and grow your business. Call me at 877.886.1939 or email me at email@example.com.
January 30, 2014 by Kristine Garrett
As the definition of the traditional family changes, so does the traditional female role.1 More than ever, women are taking leadership roles in the home, at work and in the marketplace.2
Yet, the financial services industry has been slow to accept women in their new role as chief financial officer of the household.
In my previous blog, “Who bought the kitchen table,” I discussed the failure of the financial services industry to connect with women, and cited the need for effective communication in order to acquire and retain female clients.
The “Women, Money, and Power Study” commissioned by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz) supports these findings, and identified four factors financial professionals must understand before effectively communicating with women.3
The first step is to understand why you should target female clients. The Allianz study gives several reasons:3
- Lack of knowledge: The study discovered 90% of the women respondents feel at least somewhat financially insecure. Help women feel good about their financial decisions in your effort to become a trusted resource.
- Referrals: Women typically have a larger circle of influence than men and tend to give more referrals. By gaining her trust, you may get access to her networking system.
- Loyalty: Acquiring a female client may take more effort initially. But, if you build a relationship with her, she’ll be a loyal customer.
- Women and legacy: To women, legacy is more than wealth transfer. It’s about handing down values, traditions and memories. Take a holistic—not just a financial—approach.
- Impact of Divorce: Many women say that divorce changed their financial outlook. These divorcees may want to handle their money differently and could potentially be good prospects.
- Mortality rates: Women live an average of 5 years longer than men.4 So, not only are women assuming control of more wealth; they will likely be responsible for their wealth longer.
- Small-business ownership: Women-owned businesses have shown rapid growth. This represents an emerging opportunity for financial professionals.
Now that you understand why you should target female clients, we are ready for the next step in effectively communicating with women—understanding how life events influence financial decisions. Watch for my next blog in the series.
1 Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, “The Allianz Women, Money, and Power Study: Empowered and Underserved” (2013) available at http://www.biltd.com/CarrierMaterial/Allianz/ENT-1462-N_FINAL.pdf.
2 FleishmanHillard and Hearst Corporation, “Women, Power & Money: Wave 5″ (2013) available at http://cdn.fleishmanhillard.com/wp-content/uploads/meta/resource-file/2013/women-power-money-white-paper-1374761552.pdf
3 Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, “Help your clients find solutions that fit.” (2012) ENT-324-N
4 National Vital Statistics Reports, Volume 61, Number 3, September 24 2012.
January 23, 2014 by Travis Redfern
I joke around with Kevin that he’s the “great Kevin Klug.”
It’s not only an affectionate nod to his steady production, but also an acknowledgement that he’s great to work with.
Kevin and his colleagues at Secure Retirement Solutions in Green Bay, WI are focused on building long-term business relationships with their clients. And they also take time to develop personal relationships. They are a team of professionals who work to find solutions that are in the best interest of their clients.
That’s why Kevin is the focus of this installment of “What works ”
Firm name: Co-owner, Secure Retirement Solutions, Green Bay, WI
Years in industry: 15
Specialty (if applicable): Retirement/income planning strategies
Licenses: Health and life
College: A.A., Communications, San Antonio College, San Antonio, TX
1) Why did you decide to work with Brokers International?
I’d originally worked with Brokers International for four years. When I left for another opportunity, I found out the grass wasn’t greener on the other side. I grew to miss the one-on-one experience and interactions with the people at Brokers.
You’re not just a number at Brokers. It’s not just about premium. You have a name; a face; a family; you’re a real person. Here, it’s about building relationships. It’s not always about the money.
2) What was a piece of advice that you received early in your career that has stuck with you?
It’s not necessarily a piece of advice, but there are two things that I live by: One, never tell a lie. If you never tell a lie, you don’t have to remember what you told someone. Two, never say something about somebody that you wouldn’t say in front of them.
It’s all about how you treat someone. I try to treat my clients like they are my parents. I want to make sure they’re being taken care of.
3) Tell us about a recent interaction with a client where you really felt like you helped them.
I wholeheartedly believe in helping my clients be proactive in their retirement strategies. I have a case that I talk about, which highlights the importance of looking forward.
I was doing some strategizing with a husband and wife. He had entered early retirement because of the onset of multiple sclerosis. We sat down, and put together a strategy. Shortly thereafter, he died suddenly from a blood clot in his lung, caused by the MS.
Because we had just met, and put together a strategy to protect their income, his wife didn’t have a drop off in their income. She was able to have a level of reassurance about her retirement strategy. My goal is to help people through the good times and the bad.
January 16, 2014 by Rebecca Prescott
Let’s address writing; my favorite part of developing a brand.
I’m a bit of a word bully around the office (and at home). I’ll always edit out the use of ellipses for emphasis. I can’t stand a split infinitive. Jargon makes me verklempt.
I wholeheartedly believe that good writing is an integral part of good advertising, marketing and promotion.
David Ogilvy, legendary advertising executive (called the original “Mad Man”), believed that good writing was key to selling products. He penned a memo to the Ogilvy & Mather staff in 1982 titled “How-To-Write.” Click here to read the 10 tips from his memo.
Ogilvy was no advertising dummy. He helped Dove become a best-selling soap in the United States by promoting that it contained one-quarter moisturizing cream. He also helped companies like Rolls Royce, American Express and Sears.
What does this all mean for you developing your brand?
You may have the best logo, coolest colors and great pitchman for your product. But if your ad, website or brochures are poorly written, you can’t communicate effectively. If you can’t communicate effectively; you can’t sell.
So how do you work on your writing?
- Hire a professional copywriter.
- Read, and follow, Ogilvy’s 10 tips from his memo.
- Read books about writing. (I recommend On Writing Well by William Zinsser.)
- Have someone else read your writing before you publish.
- Read. But don’t just read novels. Read other advertising.
- Write for your audience; not yourself.
It’s one thing to have a tagline that is a grammar bender (Got Milk?). It’s another to have a brochure full of typos, run-ons or completely confusing copy.
Don’t ruin a first impression with bad writing.
January 10, 2014 by Kristine Garrett
Drip…drip…drip…our kitchen sink had a leak. At first I tried to ignore it—then the water bill arrived. So, I booted up the computer and searched for “how to fix a leaky faucet”. According to the search results, I could fix it in 6 easy steps.
Two trips to the hardware store, 3 acetaminophen tablets and 15 steps later, I fixed the leak.
Fixing a leaky sales funnel won’t require a trip to the hardware store. But to alleviate headaches and push your prospects through the sales funnel, you should create a drip campaign.
A drip marketing campaign is when you periodically engage with a prospect or customer through channels such as direct mail, social media, phone calls or email. Drip campaigns typically consist of a sequence of messages sent according to your prospects needs, interests and their stage in the sales funnel.
Here’s how to create a drip campaign.
Step one: Choose a segment. Look at your existing database and determine where your clients fall in the sales funnel. Pick one segment you’d like to start “dripping on” and map out a campaign. For example, if you’d like to start with new workshop attendees, you should map out a welcome campaign.
Step two: Decide on your desired outcome. What do you want the person receiving your communication to do? Do you want them to call you, sign up for a webinar or attend an event? Identify the desired outcome in the initial campaign development phase. It will guide your entire process and allow you to measure your effectiveness.
Step three: Create content. For each stage of the sales funnel, you need to construct communications that are simple, relevant and engaging. For example, if you are putting together a welcome campaign for workshop attendees, send them additional educational materials based on your workshop topic.
Step four: Mix it up. There are many ways to reach out to your clients (email, direct mail, social media, phone calls, etc). Use a variety. Each person responds to information differently and has communication preferences. By mixing up your delivery methods, you have a better chance to reach your target.
Step five: Repeat. Replicate this process until you have relevant content to speak to buyers in each stage of the sales funnel. Soon, you will have enough material that you can drip on clients through the entire process.
This blog is an overview of how drip marketing campaigns can help fix a leaky funnel. Watch for upcoming blogs that will go into each of these steps in detail.
December 19, 2013 by Travis Redfern
You know that you need referrals to grow your client base, and a CPA can help.
A CPA can help grow your business because they provide an inroad to a more reliable referral system. Consider the following factors:
- A CPA’s clientele can include people within your target demographic who may need your services.
- Your clients might need a CPA, but don’t know one they feel comfortable contacting.
- Use your experience and connections to help a CPA expand their client network.
Click here to find out how you can get connected to CPAs in your area through the Brokers International, Ltd. CPA Alliance Program.