There are some people you hope never call. When the pandemic lockdown began, I was due for my annual physical. I got the blood test done. My doctor called shortly afterward. “Just got your bloodwork. I wanted to talk with you about it.”
My heart was in my mouth! He never calls. This must be bad! It turned out they were postponing physicals. He was calling to tell me my blood test was fine.
Many people don’t look forward to hearing from their insurance agent for a different reason: They assume you are selling something.
You can change the dynamic. Get them looking forward to communication from you. Here are 10 ways to reach out to clients.
Thanks for the referral. The principle seems so obvious. If you reward the desired behavior, people will do it more often. You respect client confidentiality; however, thanking someone for sending a friend in your direction should be fine.
You know how it happened: “My neighbor asked if I knew a good insurance agent. I told her to give you a call. Her name is ...” You call afterward and thank them for sending their friend your way. You might let that new client know you will be calling the referrer to thank them, while of course maintaining confidentiality. You will just say “We spoke” or “We met.” In this case, if the referring client tells their friend: “I heard you met. How did it go?” they will know you didn’t divulge details.
Learn something new. An advisor in New York remarked that some clients say: “You only call when you want me to do something.” He advises changing the frequency and content of the contacts. You might send an email with an article talking about college savings accounts for grandchildren. They have grandkids, yet they never brought up a college account. You anticipated their interest. They start to realize when they hear from you, they will know more than they did previously.
Like that? Buy more. People like investments that perform as expected. The stock market can be unpredictable. Insurance offers protection, peace of mind and often a guaranteed income. During volatile periods, they may suddenly realize they like the products they bought from you better than investments they bought elsewhere. Don’t wait for them to call and tell you. Call them. Ask if they are interested in adding to what they have.
Rates are changing. They like a product they own. They are considering buying more but haven’t gotten around to calling you. Imagine their disappointment if, when they called, you said: “Sorry, the rate changed last month.” It’s a reason to initiate a call: “I don’t know if you had any interest in adding to (product), but I wanted to tell you rates are going down in two weeks. Money added before that date will qualify for the old, higher rate.”
The e-newsletter. I’ve seen this done with a simple email. I’ve seen it done with a formal e-newsletter too. It’s a weekly contact from the advisor putting world and economic events into simple language. When your client listens to TV news, they don’t know what to believe. I find myself looking forward to the communications I receive that put events in context. Your firm might have a formal e-newsletter you can brand with your own name and photo.
How current events affect you. You want your client to be happy to hear from you? Imagine if, during a volatile time in the stock market, you called to let them know their original principal in the insurance product is guaranteed. Imagine telling them their product earns interest at (X) rate regardless of where world interest rates go or what the stock market does. They would be thrilled to hear this aspect of their life is stable.
The new tax law changes. You aren’t an accountant. You don’t dispense tax advice. When the government puts new tax laws in place, you might let them know how it might (or might not) affect their retirement savings. Can they contribute more? Withdraw without a penalty? Delay mandatory withdrawals? They were probably thinking, Does this affect me? It shows you are on the case.
What the firm is saying about the economy. Your firm likely has a strategist. If not, your marketing partners do. Your client is watching the stock market go up and down. They are wondering, What will happen next? They don’t think of you as providing the answers because you are their insurance agent. You can share what your firm or marketing partners are thinking. It gives them added perspective.
The periodic review. Do you think it’s necessary? Your products don’t jump up and down like the stock market. My insurance agent calls or meets with me annually to review our products and coverage. Sometimes he is able to save us money. It lets us know we are valued clients.
Taking a personal interest. You’ve done this since the start of the pandemic earlier this year. You called to see if they are all right. Is everyone in their house healthy? Do they have everything they need? You shared information about your own family. You called a couple of weeks later to check in. You updated them on your situation at home. You are letting them know you care about them as real people. They aren’t just a client or a number on a page. By initiating the call, you are also letting them know they should not hesitate to call you.
None of these calls are made with the primary intent of asking for business, with the exception of “Like that? Buy more.” All of these calls have the potential to bring you more business. The client might say: “I’m glad you called. I’ve been meaning to call you.” It might plant an idea in their mind. All of these reasons for calling show you value the relationship. They are an important client. Everyone wants to hear that.