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Ideas to enhance your client relationships

Michael DePilla

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Members share ideas for working with clients and prospects.
 
Deep Roots

Deep Roots

When it comes to wine-making, the sturdiest vines tend to produce the best-tasting grapes. These vines have roots that are well-entrenched deep below the surface of the soil. The fewer nutrients found at the top, the deeper the roots dig to find the source of nutrition needed. They dig and dig until they find the life source that feeds the juicy grapes hanging above it all.

The same is true when it comes to discovering our prospects’ core values within the interview process — the things they really care about, find of most importance, what they sincerely want to make reality. Your objective is to go far beyond the surface and dive deep toward their life source.

— Stephen Kagawa, FSS, LUTCF, Monrovia, California, 25-year member

Wong Quote

I don’t ask for referrals; instead, I position myself to clients as a family advisor. I let clients know that I’m here to serve not only them, but their family and close friends as well.

— Delia Hui Wong, Singapore, 7-year member

Conversation Topics

Conversation Topics

When it comes to marketing, it’s not about what you want to talk about, it’s what the prospect wants to hear about. As a result, in the past year we talked a lot about digital currencies and cryptocurrencies.

It’s not that we necessarily believed in that as an investment strategy, but we understood the trend that people wanted to learn more about it. Since we were the ones providing that information and starting that conversation, we were also the ones they opened up to with financial questions in other areas of concern, which led to more and more business.

— Ali Hashemian, CFP, MBA, Los Angeles, California, 6-year member

Question your clients

Question your clients

When you sense doubt in your clients, ask questions. “Why do you feel that way? Why do you feel like life insurance is bad?” Then let them talk, while you sit back and listen. The more they talk, they might realize the justification doesn’t make sense.

— Joseph Spinelli, FICF, LUTCF, Tallahassee, Florida, 8-year member

Seminar marketing

Seminar marketing

The majority of my clients come through a seminar marketing system. I teach a class about retirement planning at colleges and adult education centers in the area.

The class is made up of four sessions. During the first session, I hand out a homework packet and have the students complete a section each week. In week four, they bring the completed homework packet and their financial documents to class and schedule an individual meeting in my office.

During the individual meeting, I determine whether I would like them as a client and what their financial planning fee will be.

— Mark D. Olson, CFP, MSFS, Somerville, New Jersey, 19-year member

On someone’s first day working with us, we give them a sheet to fill out asking what their favorite stores are, their favorite restaurants, things they like to do, places they like to travel, etc. Then we’ll set team goals, and if the team hits the goal, we’ll use one of their items as a reward.

— John R. Benton Jr., CLTC, Warren, New Jersey, 14-year member

Clarify your value

Clarify your value

Develop a method for communicating the details of the value you bring; don’t give a general laundry list of all the things you do. And don’t hand them a preprinted brochure; people dislike being sold. They want to come to their own conclusion.

Choose the three main things you do. Explain why you do them and why they should be important to the prospects or clients. Then ask a key question: “Do you have any questions about our value?”

This is one of the best referral tools I have ever seen. It allows current clients to really remember your value, and then they can intelligently share what you do when they refer you.

— Maribeth Kuzmeski, Ph.D., 2018 Annual Meeting speaker

The time to call

The time to call

I call each of my clients after the semiannual statements have gone out to discuss their performance. At this time, I find out what has been happening with the client and their family during the past six months. This keeps me up to date on their needs, and I generate quite a bit of business from these calls. I do this with all clients, no matter how small or large their account is.

— Heather M. Courneya, CLU, CH.F.C., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 19-year member

Make it measurable

Make it measurable

All your goals should be measurable. If you can’t measure it, it’s not a good goal. Even for “feeling” goals, define exactly what situations need to occur to produce that feeling. That way, you can definitely tell whether or not you hit the target, and you can measure your progress along the way.

— Max Bolka, 2018 Annual Meeting speaker

What your staff likes

What your staff likes

On someone’s first day working with us, we give them a sheet to fill out asking what their favorite stores are, their favorite restaurants, things they like to do, places they like to travel, etc. Then we’ll set team goals, and if the team hits the goal, we’ll use one of their items as a reward.

— John R. Benton Jr., CLTC Warren, New Jersey, 14-year member

Like an airbag

Like an airbag

I tell clients, “A portion of your income has to be set aside to protect yourself. This is non-negotiable. If you drive a car, having an airbag is non-negotiable. You can’t buy a car and request that the airbag is removed to lower the cost of the car. In the same way, setting aside a portion of your monthly income for insurance is non-negotiable.”

— Subhas V. Nathan, Singapore, 14-year member

Problem first, solution later

Problem first, solution later

I have found that people don’t care about the solutions until they know they have a problem. If you sell the solutions too soon, you are most likely going to lose the prospect. But if you sell the problem, then they will want your solutions. Educating them before you show solutions is a proven process, and it has the highest probability of success.

— Guy E. Baker, MSFS, CFP, Irvine, California, 48-year member and 2010 MDRT President

 

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