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What works for Kevin

January 23, 2014 by

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 ”

 
Kevin-KlugName: Kevin G. Klug

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.

 

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Travis Redfern

Travis Redfern is a Relationship Manager for Brokers International. He works closely with key producers to help identify products and services that they can use to grow their businesses. Travis has been with Brokers International since 2002. In his spare time, he enjoys hunting, golfing, team roping, time with friends and family and escaping to his “man cave” to watch football. ADR-1263

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Putting pen to paper for your brand

January 16, 2014 by

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.

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Rebecca Prescott

Rebecca Prescott joined Brokers International in March 2013 as a Marketing Project Manager. Before joining Brokers, she worked extensively on branding and product marketing. She also has a strong writing and graphic design background. Rebecca loves branding, grammar, swatchbooks, live music and her family and friends.

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5 steps to fix a leaky sales funnel

January 10, 2014 by

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.

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Kristine Garrett

Kristine Garrett joined Brokers International in 2012 as a Marketing Project Manager. She brought with her a strong background in sales and marketing that she uses to write helpful blog tips and marketing ideas to grow your business. Kristine shares a hobby farm near Panora with her husband, farm critters and beautiful bulldogs. 11854-1/30/13

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Grow your business by partnering with a CPA

December 19, 2013 by

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.

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Travis Redfern

Travis Redfern is a Relationship Manager for Brokers International. He works closely with key producers to help identify products and services that they can use to grow their businesses. Travis has been with Brokers International since 2002. In his spare time, he enjoys hunting, golfing, team roping, time with friends and family and escaping to his “man cave” to watch football. ADR-1263

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The sales funnel explained

November 19, 2013 by

Our 1962 Ford F-100 truck sat neglected in the driveway for years. This summer, after some major elbow grease, my husband got it running and gave it a new coat of paint. When we were finally ready to take it for a spin, it wouldn’t start. Hoping it was just out of gas (the gauge didn’t work), we found a gas can and tried to carefully pour gas into the tank. But without a funnel, it spilled down the side of the freshly painted exterior and very little made it into the tank.

It’s like that with sales. Without considering your buyers’ journey through the sales cycle, many of your prospects may not make it to the intended destination—a sale. They spill out of the funnel before ever really getting to know your business.

To avoid losing prospects along their journey, let’s take a closer look at the sales funnel and the customer buying process.

A funnel is a tool designed to catch and direct a downward flow. The sales funnel does the same thing—catches prospects through engagement and brand awareness; and directs them toward a final sale. This path is not always linear. Prospects will enter the sales funnel in different spots and some will leak out of the funnel before reaching the end. But, the sales funnel provides a path as you plan recruitment, retention and nurturing campaigns.

Let’s take a closer look at the sales funnel and customer buying process.

The sales funnel is often used to describe the overall sales and marketing process. It can also be used to explain the customer buying process (their journey through the sales cycle).  According to Eloqua,1 a leading provider of marketing automation and revenue management software, there are five steps in the customer buying cycle.

  • Interest
  • Learn
  • Evaluate
  • Justify
  • Purchase

At each of these stages, you communicate with the consumer in a different way. For example, if someone has just learned about your company, you won’t immediately ask them to buy a product. Conversely, when they are ready to buy, you should not be giving a company introduction. Tailoring your message to fit buyers’ interests will ideally prevent your target audience from “opting-out.”

Click here to download an infographic that outlines your buyer’s behavior in each stage.

It takes some elbow grease to successfully move prospects down a sales funnel—especially ones you may have neglected for a while. But, don’t give up. Watch for my next blog with tips for utilizing a drip marketing campaign to get you up and running.

 

1 Eloqua. “EloquaU Power Hour: Lead Nurturing.” Topliners. Eloqua, May 2011. Web. 18 Oct 2013. <http://topliners.eloqua.com/docs/DOC-1512>.

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Kristine Garrett

Kristine Garrett joined Brokers International in 2012 as a Marketing Project Manager. She brought with her a strong background in sales and marketing that she uses to write helpful blog tips and marketing ideas to grow your business. Kristine shares a hobby farm near Panora with her husband, farm critters and beautiful bulldogs. 11854-1/30/13

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Does your broker dealer give you freedom to serve your clients?

November 5, 2013 by

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.

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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.

Kyle Pieper

Kyle Pieper is the Manager of Business Development for Brokers Financial. He joined the firm in March of 2013. Kyle is responsible for recruiting new advisors and representatives to the firm. He also assists with marketing and partner relationships. He has six years of insurance and investment-related experience as both an advisor and internal sales. When not at work he can be found on a golf course, hunting or in the gym. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Brokers International Financial Services, LLC, Member SIPC, Panora, IA. Brokers International Financial Services, LLC and Brokers International, Ltd are affiliated companies.

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5 simple tips for projecting a professional image online

October 16, 2013 by

Recently a financial professional told me he lost a potential client because his company’s social network accounts didn’t have consistent messaging. It certainly made him take notice.

Even if you don’t realize it, a lot of your clients and prospects (or their children) are researching you and your company online before meeting with you. Ensure you have consistent, well-branded messaging now, so you can establish a foundation of trust and credibility before you ever talk to prospects.

If you wouldn’t discuss certain topics with your clients and prospects in person, you shouldn’t do it online either. First impressions are lasting impressions, and trust is something you need to establish immediately if you don’t want to lose a relationship.

Follow these five simple tips to ensure you’re projecting a professional image on your social networks:

  • Know what social network accounts you have in place. Delete accounts you don’t update. Provide a consistent brand message on your active accounts. It’s important to monitor your active accounts to ensure all information listed is current and accurate. They also need to respond to anyone trying to reach you through those channels.
  • Do not share personal opinions or jokes about potentially controversial topics: politics, religion, etc. Don’t offend clients or discourage prospects from using your services because you have conflicting views. Keep your content positive, educational and helpful.
  • Use professional photos and graphics. Present yourself online in the same way you would present yourself to clients in person. Wear business attire in your profile photos. Use web-quality graphics and images.
  • Write a clear, concise company description. Take the time to write a description that includes a list of services, relevant background information, and your contact information. Be sure to use the same description in your entire online marketing presence— website, social networks, brochures, etc.
  • Triple check grammar and spelling. Spell-check is wonderful, but it doesn’t catch everything. If you’re unsure about your own grammatical skills, entrust this task to someone who possess these skills. Grammatical errors could cause your prospects to second-guess your attention to detail.

Projecting a professional image can help you provide your clients with a consistent, positive experience.   For more tips on creating a consistent client experience, read our post, “Consumer Touchpoints.”

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Five customer loyalty tips

October 1, 2013 by

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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>.

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Kristine Garrett

Kristine Garrett joined Brokers International in 2012 as a Marketing Project Manager. She brought with her a strong background in sales and marketing that she uses to write helpful blog tips and marketing ideas to grow your business. Kristine shares a hobby farm near Panora with her husband, farm critters and beautiful bulldogs. 11854-1/30/13

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What’s your fiduciary responsibility?

September 26, 2013 by

The concept of fiduciary duty has received a lot of attention from financial publications, like Investment News, lately, due to the effort of the U.S. Department of Labor to set stricter standards on professionals providing advice on retirement plans.1

So it brings up a good question. What is the difference between fiduciary and suitability, and how do they affect you?

A fiduciary is a person or company that has the power and obligation to act for another under circumstances which require total trust, good faith, and honesty.2 FINRA suitability Rule 2111(a) states in part that a member or an associated person must have a reasonable basis to believe that a recommended transaction or investment strategy involving a security or securities is suitable for the customer, based on the information obtained through the reasonable diligence of the member or associated person to ascertain the customer’s investment profile.3

It’s a lot to understand, which is why you can download this informational graphic to see detailed differences between the two.

So why does this all matter?

Recently, it has been questioned whether there should be a separate fiduciary standard—implemented by the Labor Department—for financial professionals selling individual retirement accounts, as outlined in the Investment News article. And so what has commonly been a standard for those selling securities-related products is now under consideration for other financial and insurance professionals.

In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission is considering increasing the standards it imposes on broker dealers,4 which then might work its way to other areas of the financial services and insurance industries. This all comes under the guise of the 2010 Dodd- Frank Act Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, regulations developed after the economic collapse that began in 2008.

Unfortunately, there’s no crystal ball to say what, for sure, will be the fate for professionals working in insurance, retirement planning or financial planning. In an ideal world, the rules for financial professionals would be streamlined by the various regulatory bodies, and the expectations laid out in Dodd-Frank would be clearer.

In the meantime, go ahead and take a look at the infographic provided in this blog. And don’t be surprised if you see another blog post as the regulations change. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give me a call at 877.886.1939 or send me an email (mbott@brokersifs.com).

 

1 Investment News “Fiduciary duty boosts revenue, not compliance costs: FPC” July 8, 2013.

2 http://www.nolo.com/dictionary/fiduciary-term.html

3 http://finra.complinet.com/en/display/display_main.html?rbid=2403&record_id=14960.

4 Investment News “White says SEC is moving on fiduciary but other rules to come first” July 30, 2013.

 

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Kyle Pieper

Kyle Pieper is the Manager of Business Development for Brokers Financial. He joined the firm in March of 2013. Kyle is responsible for recruiting new advisors and representatives to the firm. He also assists with marketing and partner relationships. He has six years of insurance and investment-related experience as both an advisor and internal sales. When not at work he can be found on a golf course, hunting or in the gym. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Brokers International Financial Services, LLC, Member SIPC, Panora, IA. Brokers International Financial Services, LLC and Brokers International, Ltd are affiliated companies.

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