October 1, 2015 by Courtney Redfern
Your brand is a verbal and visual expression of your business. It serves as a shorthand to communicate with clients, increases awareness of your firm and creates a memorable distinction between you and other financial professionals.
Some of the most well-known companies in the world owe much of their success to building strong brands. Each has accomplished this by using a combination of branding techniques to consistently define who they are and what value they can provide to their customers. As an insurance professional, you can use some of these same branding techniques to strengthen everything from the look of your business cards to how clients are greeted in your office.
To help you get started defining your business’ unique purpose and identity, we’ve compiled our best branding techniques for financial professionals into a new guide, Building your financial professional brand. Using this guide, you can assess where your brand currently stands and how you can make it stronger with some key steps and innovative branding resources.
Define your business’ identity by downloading the guide here.
November 19, 2014 by Courtney Redfern
Even if you haven’t taken the time to crunch the numbers, you probably know that it costs less to keep your existing clients than it costs to acquire new ones. An existing client base is the backbone of any business and maintaining it is one key to prolonged success. But what is it that turns a valued client into a stranger?
The erosion of most client bases can be broken down as follows1:
- 1 percent will die
- 3 percent will move out of the area
- 5 percent will be lured away by other sales people
- 9 percent will be lured away by lower prices
- 14 percent will leave due to unresolved complaints
- 68 percent will leave due to indifference
From these numbers, it’s apparent that a perceived lack of attention can be the greatest motivating factor for clients to move on. But it’s also clear that retaining a majority of your current client base is not out of your hands or budget. Simply fostering a one-on-one level of personal interaction is sometimes all you need for clients to stay interested in your services.
To foster personal interaction, you need to learn more about your clients and then begin providing information and solutions directly suited to their needs and interests. Two effective means to accomplish this are through client surveys and profiles.
A well-crafted client survey can provide you with valuable feedback about you and your firm’s performance. Plus, your clients will be flattered that you took the time to seek out their opinion. For tips on how to get started creating your own survey, download a sample here.
As an additional exercise, you can also start creating profiles that fit your existing client base. Begin by accessing a client profile template here. In each profile, you’ll list demographic information, identify current challenges, and acknowledge future wants. Take some time to draft three to six client profiles, this can help you provide a more personalized experience to specific client groups.
By creating client profiles and soliciting customer feedback you can begin to identify your customers’ pain points and send them relevant information such as webinar or meeting invites on relevant topics—not just what you want to sell them. And, ultimately, you’ll be able to avoid alienating your clients by engaging them with the right message at the right time.
1Burke, Jack. “Nurturing Client Relationships.” Complete Markets. 30 April 2013. Web. 4 November 2014. http://completemarkets.com/Article/article-post/406/Nurturing-Client-Relationships/
August 15, 2013 by Courtney Redfern
More than likely, you spend a great deal of time preparing for client meetings. You research your client’s existing situation. You create proposals to help provide solutions for potential pain points. And you follow up with your clients to make sure they are happy with the solution.
While your client meeting may be the most important interaction you have with your client, it’s not the only one. In other words, your client will have several interactions with you and your business before they even attend a one-on-one meeting.
As you can see in the diagram below, you interact with your client in several ways.
In my last blog post, I posed the question, “What’s your client’s experience?” But now I’d like to ask, “Do you deliver a consistent client experience?”
Have you put the same time and energy into your other client interactions, also known as touch points, to make sure they are just as deliberate and as well planned as your client meeting?
Take a few minutes and step into your client’s shoes. To get started, download our tips for consistent consumer touchpoints.
July 25, 2013 by Courtney Redfern
When was the last time you thought of your interaction with a business as an experience? Most of us don’t—until we have a bad one.
When my husband and I purchased a new camper, we sought out a loan with the lowest interest rate. As a result, we have a new relationship with a bank we have not done business with in the past.
Five days before my first payment was due, I received a letter from the bank confirming my loan total and monthly payment amount. Instead of providing the payment book originally promised, I received a web address to make an online payment.
Slightly irritated, I went straight to my computer to make the payment. After searching the home page, I finally found a blue button to gain “instant access” to online banking. I was immediately asked for my account number, which I had not received.
Little by little, my account access was becoming less instant. I called the 800 number on the letter. After weaving through the automated phone system twice, waiting on hold for a total of six minutes, and talking to two representatives, I finally received my account number. I never expected a company to make it so difficult to pay them.
Now, obviously this experience has frustrated me. I will not recommend this new bank or seek out another loan with them, because they did not make it easy for me to do business with them. They may have a better rate, but they did not deliver on the customer experience.
What are your clients’ experiences? Do you make it easy for them to do business with you? Have you actually stopped to ask your clients how you are doing?
If not, this is a great time to solicit their feedback. It can be as simple as sending a short survey. A well-crafted client survey can provide you with valuable feedback about you and your firm. It can also help you increase client retention, strengthen relationships, capture testimonials, and gain new referrals.
Plus, your clients will be flattered that you took the time to seek out their opinion and provide them with a more meaningful experience.
Download our survey tips here to help you create your own client survey.
May 16, 2013 by Courtney Redfern
Even if you haven’t taken the time to crunch the numbers, you probably know that it costs less to keep your existing clients than to acquire new ones. This is why most business owners are looking for ways to generate additional business from their existing database.
How can you do that?
Connect with them. Learn about them. Discover their challenges and help provide solutions.
To get the ball rolling, you need to learn more about your clients. Start by creating 3-6 profiles that fit your existing client base. Because you work with different types of clients, you’ll want to group them by similar traits, qualities, and motivations. This can help you provide a more personalized experience according to their needs.
In each profile, you’ll list demographic information, identify current challenges, and acknowledge future wants. By participating in this exercise, you’ll get more familiar with your clients and start to think about their current struggles. You’ll also discover potential solutions you can offer to clients. And, ultimately, you’ll be able to provide your clients with the right message at the right time.
In the sample profile, you learn more about Joe through his traits and characteristics. You can also think about his pain points and connect them with possible solutions.
Start creating your own client profiles. Access a client profile template here.
February 21, 2013 by Courtney Redfern
In last month’s Step-by-Step blog, you learned 10 direct mail ideas that you can use to increase the likelihood that your audience will open your letter. But, how do you create a well-written personal letter that can keep your reader’s attention after they have opened your letter?
For most, this may not be an easy question to answer. While we all learn the basic fundamentals of writing in the early stages of learning, putting pen to paper and executing a well-written letter may be a daunting task for some.
To create an effective letter, you must be able to:
- Immediately capture your reader’s attention,
- Speak to the reader about their particular interests,
- Keep your audience reading, and
- Call your reader into action.
You can craft a letter that does all of this using our guide to effective letters. Simply, download Writing Effective Letters for step-by-step suggestions that can help you boost your writing skills. Next month I’ll go more in-depth on the AIDA formula you’ll see on the tip sheet.
January 29, 2013 by Courtney Redfern
If your clients are anything like you, they’re more than likely getting bombarded with emails on a daily basis – emails that they delete. If your current marketing plan relies largely on online marketing, you may want to consider adding direct mail to your marketing mix.
According to the 2012 Response Rate Report released by the Direct Marketing Association, mail campaigns elicit better overall response than online campaigns.1 So, how can you add direct mail to your existing marketing efforts?
Download 10 Direct Mail Ideas to learn tips to pique your audience’s curiosity and urge them to read your message.
Using these tips for your next direct mail campaign can help increase the likelihood that your letter will get opened and read by your audience. And that’s the first step to getting a response.
1Marketing Charts, Direct Mail Tops Email for Response Rates; Cost Per Lead Similar, June 15, 2012.
November 8, 2012 by Courtney Redfern
Marketing can be one of the best ways to get in front of prospects that may not be familiar with you or your business. To get the most from your marketing efforts, it’s important to understand the different types you can use. With marketing, you’re trying to get the right message to the right audience at the right time. Two main forms of outbound marketing include advertising and direct marketing. Whereas advertising builds brand awareness, direct marketing seeks to elicit an immediate response from your target audience through a specific “call to action.” A call to action is important because it tells your audience what you want them to do next. It urges them to do something right now and moves them further into the sales cycle. For example: “Call now for a no obligation review.” And that’s one step closer to becoming a client and building a relationship based on the value you offer.
The DIRECT acronym can help you define and focus your direct marketing efforts. Check out the Be Direct in Six Simple Steps tip sheet, and you’ll get a bonus step!