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.
November 12, 2013 by Rebecca Prescott
Branding and brand development is an ongoing process.
No successful company—or one of its corresponding brands—has experienced continued success by resting on its laurels. Branding, like selling, is an evolving process.
A cohesive and comprehensive look is important for a successful brand. It is reflected in a logo, a set of colors, and the basic words that go along with your advertising and promotion.
If you have this part nailed down, great! But if you’re wondering how to pull these elements together, here are a few tips to consider before moving forward. In this installment, the focus is on logo and color.
Unless you have a degree in visual arts or graphic design, paired with an incredible threshold for constructive criticism, hire a graphic designer to create your logo and color scheme. Why? A graphic designer has the software and skill set to serve as an independent, objective voice in the creation of your look.
A good designer will take the time to talk to you about your business, your clients and the competition. You should expect to receive three to five options to mull over and tweak before settling on a final design. This designer also should provide you with a color and a black and white version of your logo (in .JPG and .EPS formats), as well as a set of colors that you can use with your logo.
You can do some homework before you meet with the graphic designer. Look at the logos and color schemes of your competitor and your industry. (For example, financial organizations love blue, because to them it represents stability, trust and loyalty.) It’s up to you to decide what you want to communicate to your customers. A designer will help you communicate that message.
Need some inspiration? Take note of the brands or products that you respect. What do they look like? What colors do they use? What do their ads looks like? Then think about how you could apply the same concepts to your brand.
A logo and color palette are the first pieces of the look. In my next blog, I’ll talk about how to develop a tagline and some basic written pieces that can be used side-by-side.
If you’d like to read the previous entries in our branding series, click here.
November 5, 2013 by Kyle Pieper
I love to ask questions.
It’s a natural part of building relationships. Asking questions is the fastest way for me to get to know you. It also helps me find out what financial professionals are looking for in their business.
In building relationships with financial professionals, I’ve heard them say that one of the most important things a broker dealer can do for them is to allow them freedom to sell what they want. There are a couple of different ways that your freedom can be restricted. One tell-tale sign might be that payouts may differ depending on the product. Another, more obvious, is that you’re restricted to proprietary products or a limited product list.
Why does this matter?
Restrictions from a broker dealer may turn into restrictions you have to ultimately place on your clients; meaning you are not able to offer a full scope of solutions.
In the end, who wins: The client, advisor or broker dealer?
If you’re not sure how much freedom you have, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you unclear what you pay for in your current fee arrangement?
- Are you initially told that you don’t have to submit fixed insurance to your broker dealer, but you ultimately have to?
- Does your payout vary depending on the product?
Do you see a pattern in your answers? Click here to download a questionnaire to help you determine if you are getting the support and access to products that best service your clients. If you answer yes to three or more questions, you might want reconsider your current position with your broker dealer.
At the end of the day, your clients’ needs come first. You deserve a broker dealer that supports that goal.
Securities and investment advisory services offered through Brokers International Financial Services, LLC, Panora, Iowa. Member FINRA/SIPC. Brokers International Financial Services is a strategic partner of Brokers International, Ltd.
October 1, 2013 by Kristine Garrett
What is customer loyalty? If you search this question online, you will find many definitions and opinions on how to cultivate it. BusinessDictionary.com defines customer loyalty as the, “Likelihood of previous customers to continue to buy from a specific organization.” How likely are previous customers to return to you for financial services? Do you have a plan to keep them coming back?
There are many ways to foster customer loyalty and most are not new. Here are five of my favorite customer loyalty tips to keep customers coming back.
- Make people happy. I love this quote by Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby, “The single most important thing is to make people happy. If you are making people happy, as a side effect, they will be happy to open up their wallets and pay you.” Enough said.
- Provide superior customer service. Many times I have walked into a business and sworn never to return because of poor service. However, when I experience superior customer service, I become a brand advocate, spread the word and send referrals. Have you ever asked your clients how you are doing? Check out our blog post “What’s your client’s experience?” for tips on soliciting feedback.
- Do more than expected. George S. Patton, considered one of the most successful combat generals in U.S. history,1 said, “Always do more than is required of you.” Take the time to add personal touches: Send hand-written thank you notes, acknowledge birthdays and remember the little things—even if it’s as simple as if they prefer coffee or tea.
- Listen. Principle number seven in Dale Carnegie’s famous book How to Win Friends and Influence People is, “Be a good listener. Encourage other to talk about themselves.” In the financial services industry, this seems especially important. We must understand what clients need (for example, income or legacy planning) before we can propose a solution.
- Keep in touch. Create a client nurturing program to make sure you stay connected with customers on a regular basis. Nurturing not only helps you maintain and build client relationships, but it helps move customers from point A to point B in the buying cycle. To learn more about nurturing, visit our blog post, Nurturing Dos and Don’ts for Sales.
1 “George Patton. biography.” bio. True Story.. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Sep 2013. <http://www.biography.com/people/george-patton-9434904>.
2 Carnegie, Dale. “Golden Book Principles from How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Dale Carnegie Training. Dale Carnegie and Associates, Inc., n.d. Web. 18 Sep 2013. <http://www.dalecarnegie.com/assets/1/7/GoldenBook_English.swf>.