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13 ideas to increase your business


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Sending birthday cakes, sharing a hobby and other ways to connect with clients and prospects.
Here is a way to overcome call reluctance: actually pay yourself cash for making calls. Think of it like a reward you have earned —instantly. First, go to your bank and obtain $100 bills or whatever denomination will get your juices flowing. Second, go to your happy place and start making your calls. For every live conversation, pay yourself one of the bills. You have to earn the money, otherwise it rolls over or you give it away. (You make the rules; however, they cannot be broken.) It works even better if you do this with a buddy to hold each other accountable. Third, enjoy the reward! This psychologically reinforces the positive behavior.
John F. Nichols, MSM, CLU, Chicago, Illinois, 17-year member

During the fact-finding session with clients, don’t forget to ask them about their charitable interests and if they are involved with a nonprofit organization. As an MDRT member, you can sponsor charities by applying for a grant from the MDRT Foundation. Wouldn’t it be great if you could sponsor a charity one of your clients is involved with?
Ana Sofia Rodriguez, MBA Panama City, Panama, 12-year member

Take a moment to clearly and thoroughly define who your ideal client would be. Once you can fully articulate who this is, start thinking about other professionals who would also do business with this same ideal client. Plan on meeting with these other professionals to see how you can help each other get in front of more of these ideal clients.
Joe Thomas, AIF, Birmingham, Alabama, 5-year member

I tell clients, “I’m not here to make you money; I’m here to provide a solution to preserve your money.”
Michael Yen Pon Wan, FChFP, Hong Kong, 16-year member

To find new ways to connect with clients, try to develop a hobby that will enable you to:
  1. Find new friends, who could turn into prospects.
  2. Have something to share with your clients as a talking point, giving you a reason to make contact. My hobby is photography — I am able to share the pictures I take with my clients in a very unassuming and unthreatening fashion. This helps keep me in my clients’ minds so if there is a need for anything in relation to their finances, I am the first person they think of.
Caroline Kheng, ChFC, Singapore, 19-year member

I generally average 20 death claims in a year, and I have dealt with many of those clients for more than 30 years. I have always felt that if I worked with these clients to ensure their families will be taken care of upon their death, then I want to ensure I am there to take care of their families. Also, after 30 years, these people become more than just clients; they become friends. Thus it is my practice to try to attend most funerals and celebration-of-life events. I feel it helps the widows to know I am there to take care of them. Their families see me, and I get a chance to meet those I have not had the opportunity to meet in the past. It is also a chance for me to say goodbye to someone who I worked with for a long time and pay my respects.
Beth Lachance Hesson, CFP, CLU Midhurst, Ontario, Canada, 23-year member

I talk to my clients about fiscal planning and saving using an analogy of weightlifting. No one walks into the gym and throws 400 pounds on the bar and bench presses it. You might have to start with the bar or a few smaller weights, and those are going to hurt for a while. But soon it doesn’t hurt, and then you don’t feel it at all. That’s when you add more weight to the bar. In our case, you can do it through automatic retirement withdrawals or monthly/quarterly premium payments. That saving will hurt at first, but when it doesn’t, add more. That way, in 10 years, you will look back and you won’t believe how much money you have saved.
Brendan Clune Walsh, Detroit, Michigan, 6-year member

I use the long plane ride home from the Annual Meeting to plan how I’ll implement what I’ve learned. When I get home, I do my planning in early July for the business when the ideas are still fresh in my head.
Dominique Schuh Gympie, Queensland, Australia, 5-year member

After closing a sale with a new client, I give them another business card and say, “I gave you my business card the first time we met — that one is for you, and this one is for your family. I haven’t met them and they haven’t met me. Please give them this card and tell them to give me a call if anything happens to you.” This makes the clients happy and could lead to a new sale with family members down the line.
Sherry Lee Ong, Manila, Philippines, 6-year member

I send birthday cakes to almost all clients. I’ve found that clients not only enjoy receiving the cake, it reinforces the feeling that I care about them. There’s tiering — so if a client pays a higher premium, their cake is nicer. I customize each cake with “Happy birthday (name) from Tim and your Philam Life company.” Clients unfailingly share this online with social media, which creates more visibility for us. Some clients look forward to the cake each year, to the point where their families say, “I don’t need to buy a cake for the birthday; Tim will send one.”
Timothie Williamson Sy Bacolod, Philippines, 5-year member

A lot of banks advertise gifts for opening an account; however, when you go to open up the account, they make all sorts of stipulations of what you have to do. You have to open the account. You have to set up automatic deposits and you have to wait a couple of months before you get the freebie.

We decided to send that kind of gift to high-net-worth individuals, but with no strings attached. We simply included a letter saying we’d love to meet them, but there is no obligation to purchase a policy or even schedule a meeting.

They get to keep the gift regardless. Invariably, most people we send this to are very curious and give us a meeting anyway, and from those meetings, we get quite a few sales.

Elli Schochet, CFP Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 18-year member

I never hold annual reviews for clients anymore, and it has been transformative to my business. In its place, I now have an annual planning meeting. If you review a client, it automatically sets up the idea that you are reviewing what has already happened. You can’t do anything about that. By contrast, in an annual planning meeting, we’re now having an actionable, forward-looking meeting. It’s made an unbelievable difference.
Jeremy Mark Wellington, Dip PFS, Dip CII Truro, England, 6-year member

When talking with millennials, I reference their parents. I ask if their parents are still working or retired. If a millennial says, “My parents are still working,” I ask, “When you’re in your 60s, do you want to still work like that?” Or, if their parents are done working, I ask, “Don’t you want to be like them and enjoy retirement?”
Ysabel Victoria Obediencia Benitez Makati, Philippines, 4-year member


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