“The issue of marketing has been so overlooked by the industry it really blows your mind,” said Robert Krumroy, CLU, ChFC, in an educational session here at the Society of Financial Service Professionals annual meeting.
“We’ve got companies who spend millions to launch a product, but nothing to launch an agent,” he said.
Krumroy, who is president of Identity Branding, Inc., Greensboro, N.C., explained that agents today are taught to “hunt and kill,” or prospect and sell–but they are taught nothing on marketing. “The greatest challenge is not selling, not prospecting, it’s marketing,” he said.
He explained that many agents he has encountered–even those who are very successful–have no idea where their sales will come from 6 months down the road.
Developing a good local market attraction will relieve agents from having to constantly prospect for new clients, he said.
“Marketing is not about getting you closer to a client, it’s about getting a client closer to you,” he said.
Krumroy said there are 3 components to brand marketing, the first one being that you must have a name-specific prospect database. This is different than just coming up with a list of 100-200 potential prospects you might be able to call on, he said.
One way to build your prospect database, he said, is to visit your local chamber of commerce and obtain a list of members in your community. Contacting these members electronically with periodic e-mail newsletters will help brand you as a valuable source of financial information.
“Build your commonality,” he said. As a member of the same community, you have something in common with all these people, he said.
Another example he used was a strategy of teaming up with other local businesses to sponsor a wine tasting, or a cigar sampling, or some other type of event. Organizing joint events with other local businesses will place you among a community of people you can build commonality with, he said.
Many times these other merchants will provide their services at no charge, just to brand their own business throughout the community–just as you are doing, he said.
Krumroy explained that another way to help build your name-specific database of prospects is to sponsor a Child ID day, inviting everyone in your community with children.
“There are over 1.1 million children missing every year,” he said. “Get a photo, a fingerprint, and a laminated card for every child and parent.”
This provides a great public service to the parents in the community, and Krumroy noted that these parents may eventually be interested in doing some college planning down the road. Get them on your list and send them some college planning material.