Bank Reps Dilemma: Too Many New Clients

By Marcella De Simone

A broker working through a bank might have too much of a good thing, says Doug Jackson.

There are so many new clients to work with every day that a broker might find it difficult to go back and thoroughly service her existing clients, says Jackson, president of Irvine, Calif.-based Duer Financial Corporation.

“One of the plagues of being a bank broker is theres tremendous opportunity every day,” he says. “The challenge of meeting everyday business makes it harder to go back and profile and develop and expand ones existing customer base. Its easier to make new clients.”

Brokers who want to optimize the income potential from their existing clients might consider forgoing new clients or paring down the territory with which they work, Jackson says.

Even with these amendments, brokers can “still make a good living and meet sales expectations,” he says.

To develop ones existing book, Jackson advises brokers to schedule a client consultation, review his portfolio and, if his investments have decreased in value, encourage him to expand his account based on dollar-cost averaging.

“Or they may be able to add to a fixed contract,” Jackson says. “Or market conditions might necessitate diversification.”

Brokers can also look into rep-friendly software and online customer relationship management tools that help brokers maintain a rapport with clients and better understand their needs, he says.

Brokers who work through a bank “have an enormous asset with its customer base in the industry in which we work,” he says. “Brokers need to leverage those assets to increase business.”

Paul Costello, state manager for First Unions Atlantic region, securities, says the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank recognized the value of offering its customers investment advice years ago. Part of its strategy for servicing existing clients well has been to add to its ranks of advisors through the acquisition of other banks. The advisors they have acquired have an average of five years experience, he says.

Another part of First Unions strategy is to keep its advisors well informed.

“The Intranet available to our financial advisors offers many pages of investment information on the market right at their fingertips,” Costello says.

It offers them financial allocation tools that have helped enhance not only the quality of financial services to the banks clients but also its revenue, because, he says, “financial advisors are not missing anything.”

First Union makes available to its advisors a team of individuals to help with portfolio reviews, wealth management services and estate planning for existing as well as new clientele, Costello says. “The combination of all these things generates more revenue to the bottom line.”

Marc Vosen, executive vice president, FistMerit Investment Services, Akron, Ohio, says the best way to increase income from existing clients is to call them.

Every broker should organize his books into three categories: “best, better and one-time” buyers, he says. Then he should call those clients who he knows will work with him again, not necessarily to sell them more products or have them invest more money, but to keep them updated on their account.

“Eighty percent of your business comes from 20% of your customers, so if youre going to call anyone, call the same 20% every month,” Vosen says. “Even if youre just telling them that everything is OK, you will uncover oodles of opportunity. They might tell you they got a pay raise. The customers arent going to call you.

“Having a systematic process for calling customers on a regular basis to update them with their account or taking another opportunity to offer them more goods and services, it just works.”


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, October 22, 2001. Copyright 2001 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.


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