Develop Tools For Selling, Up-Selling And Cross-Selling

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Are you looking for leads in all the right places? There are many cost-effective ways for you to promote your products in your community. Trying fresh ideas and testing them is the best approach to finding new and creative ways to sell.

A few low cost ideas for lead generation can be found in Figure 1.

But before choosing an approach you need to review a few of the basics to support the execution of a successful marketing plan. On average, potential customers need to see an ad three times before they notice it and take action. Placing your ad in three consecutive publications is a good approach. Dont let more than one month pass between ad placements.

Get right to the point when developing your sales and marketing tools. Whether you are selling price, features, service or peace of mind be sure to emphasis that in your marketing pieces. Simple messages and good creative ideas are critical to develop prospects from your marketing tools. When doing direct mail, try to get the phone number and make follow-up calls. Re-enforcement is key. People like choices, so provide more than one way for them to respondby e-mail, telephone or mail.

When attending local events provide something free that people value, like cholesterol or blood pressure checks. If you have a booth at an event, this will increase the traffic you may not have gotten otherwise. You can use this as an opportunity to start building your lead bank.

Building a local brand. What sets you apart from all the other companies like yours in town? Do you have a brand in the community? Your brand is the identity of your organization, so make sure it is presenting the company image you want to project. A well-branded company will increase public awareness of the products and services you offer.

Branding also will provide a higher level of consistency and continuity in your advertising and marketing. The increased awareness will make your company and its product(s) stand out from others, making it easier for people to buy products and services from you.

When developing your brand, think past the logo and colors and create an image that your customers will recognize you for. Develop an image that conveys a message about what your company stands for, like selling peace of mind, friendly service or financial planning expertise. Take the time to road test your brand with a few clients and colleagues to assess its effectiveness. It doesnt matter what size your company is, you are never too small to develop a brand. If you want or need direction, there are a variety of good books, Web sites and companies out there to get you started.

Re-servicing your existing clients. Did you know, on average, it is five times more expensive to get a new customer than to keep and continue selling to an existing customer? Re-servicing existing customers is an area that most agents underestimate. This is like throwing money out the door. Existing customers already have bought and believe in the products you offer. There are several easy ways to maintain and develop active relationships with your clients:

FeedbackCreate your own survey after the sale to find out how well you did your job and how well the carrier you represent did. Dont forget your carrier is a reflection of you and you need to understand how that is affecting your client relationship.

NewslettersCreate a tool that provides pertinent information and is easy to read. Be realistic and publish quarterly or twice a year. A monthly publication takes a lot of time and thought and distracts you from selling. Your insurance carrier(s) may have one that you can put your name on or hire a company to do it for you. After establishing your format for the newsletter you need to deliver content that is informative and enjoyable to read. Here are a few ideas for newsletter content: educational articles, a message from you, testimonials, product highlights, community happenings, health tips and something fun and differentuse your imagination. Create a consistent format that is full of short articles and use color and pictures to bring the newsletter to life.

Birthday, holiday and anniversary cardsThis is an inexpensive and thoughtful way to make contact with a client. Everyone loves to get cards on special occasions and good old-fashioned mail is nice to get in this day and age.

Annual follow-up callsPlan this around their policy anniversary and call to confirm that the address, phone and other pertinent information is current. Also, you can take this time to learn about new family circumstances, a new home or baby, for example. This may lead to a new sale. It is also a good time to ask for referrals.

Dont forget to create a client database to allow you to better manage your existing and potential client information. Todays software packages make this quick and easy. Many software packages offer follow-up reminder features that make it easy to stay on top of your client needs and opportunities.

Effective communication tools and relationship building are the key factors to making the first sale, up-selling or cross-selling. Take the time to plan for future sales now. Start with developing a strong, recognized brand, advertise, and build long-term relationships with your clients. You can achieve success by taking the time to outline and implement a marketing plan. A little planning and small investment will go a long way to building a successful business.

is the marketing leader for Tactegy Consulting Group, Indianapolis, Ind. She can be reached at maura@tactegygroup.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, November 7, 2003. Copyright 2003 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.