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Memorable connections

Matt Pais

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Chin finds innovative ways to establish relationships and lets the business blossom from there.

During this unusual time of crisis in the world, it may be hard for advisors to get organized in terms of contacting their clients, especially if they have a lot of them. How can anyone possibly connect with large numbers in meaningful ways?

For Selena Tonielle Chin, that’s a problem that’s already been solved. The nine-year MDRT member from Kingston, Jamaica, has long grouped her contacts in efficient ways on both her phone and laptop (in case one device gets destroyed). That way, if Chin — who handles life insurance, health insurance and investments for more than 5,000 clients — wants to connect with all of her firefighter clients in Kingston, for example, she can easily access their contact information and send out a text or WhatsApp message relevant to the community.

That allowed her to recently send a note saying, “Guys, I know you are on the front line, representing your state, and we appreciate what you do. Just please be safe and remember you also have a family back at home.” That has also opened conversations with clients so Chin can, for example, reassure them that their policy covers them if they are diagnosed with COVID-19.

As this unpredictable crisis has settled in, Chin has also made sure to reinforce the importance of not making drastic, emotionally driven decisions to cancel policies. She notes that Jamaica, a very tourism-focused country, has been hit particularly hard due to many losing their jobs as vacationing has ceased. When a chef at a popular hotel called Chin to say she would struggle to keep up with her insurance payments after losing her job, Chin assured her that an investment she had through Chin’s office would help her navigate the storm.

“When I heard the relief in her voice that I could be there to help her, I knew I retained a client for years because I was there when she needed me,” Chin said.

These types of connections are a strength for Chin — who also works with a lot of nurses and hotel staff — and her approach of storing contacts’ location and employment information helps her know who she is talking to when someone calls. “I don’t want a client to call me and I’m saying, ‘Who is this? Matt from where?’” she said. “Clients don’t respond well to that. If you can call and I say, ‘Hi, Matt, how are you doing?’ it gives the client the feeling that you care.”

In fact, Chin thrives on making the most out of opportunities to establish herself emotionally with prospects she describes as “vibe sensitive” — people who have disposable income to afford the products and services she offers and pay attention to more than just the figures. And that includes the way the advisor makes them feel.

So when Chin found out a client participated on a dance team with other young professionals, she asked if the group ever took a break. (It does, after an hour for dancers to drink water and catch their breath.) Chin arrived during the break and loudly declared, “OK, I’m here for my dancing lesson!” Everyone burst out laughing, and when Chin later got the contact information for the class members from her client, every single one remembered her, and most set up an appointment.

“People do things with people who they feel nice around,” Chin said. “When I go into a space, I find a way to stand out and use it to my advantage for relationships, not for a sale.”

That has also led her to finance ice cream and cones for a school that couldn’t afford amenities, leading to every single teacher becoming Chin’s client. It’s led her to provide the food for a party for a fire station. When someone says, “We’re getting free food?” someone else can clarify, “No, it’s not free; Selena paid for it.”

To make herself known in large groups, she hires friends to wear matching shirts representing Team Selena to help distribute free items and establish herself among the crowd. She also donates trophies to schools, fire stations or other organizations that are looking to recognize employees but don’t have the means to fund the awards themselves. “I’ll buy the awards,” Chin says, “You just have to let me know who should get them.”

It doesn’t cost Chin very much, but when she calls the prospect she meets in that situation, there’s no question if they’ll remember the woman on stage who helped get them recognized.

Contact: Selena Tonielle Chin


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