Getting To The Top Of Your Market
As every successful business person knows, the ultimate goal of any profession is to make a profit. How we achieve that goal, however, defines each of us as a professional, and a person.
Most advisors share the belief that our profession is invaluable to our clients and that their success becomes our success. However, in todays increasingly competitive and automated world, it is becoming harder to meet and connect with the people with whom we want to do business.
Families and business owners are constantly short on time with work and family obligations, consuming weekdays, evenings and weekends. Everyone, too, is overloaded with information and sales pitches: from direct mailers to bothersome evening callers hawking products and services.
Our sales ideas and services are in danger of becoming part of that noise. People now have access to many insurance and investment products through varied distribution methods.
The question then becomes: How are we, as professionals, going to cut through the clutter and sell clients the products they need? How can we create healthy business relationships and be seen as knowledgeable professionals and resourceful providers for our clients and the marketplace?
The answer: We must learn to market for sales. More than ever, we have to define an action plan and process for making ourselves visible to our clients, grab the attention of our prospects and create sales opportunities. Over the past five years, I have worked extensively to accomplish this goal through a variety of ways and opportunities.
Develop A Plan
First, you have to develop a plan. I annually work with my general agent and mentors to identify my best clients and then develop a marketing and public relations budget to gain visibility. You, as an individual producer, must learn the ways in which you can “share the cost” of these marketing initiativesefforts that you may have avoided previously because you deemed them too complicated and expensive.
Look to your general agent, mentors, other centers of influence and even your peers for ways to cooperate on administrative, marketing and emotional support.
Create your message as part of your plan. My goal is to project an image of success and uniqueness. I define myself as a professional who can listen well and offer services to my clients as the services relate to their financial goals and dreams.
When creating a plan, I first identify my top clients and prospects. I mainly work in the individual marketplace with families, successful business owners and professionals who are involved in their communities.
Having three school-aged sons, I realized that my goals were similar to most of my clients: to spend time with my children, especially on the weekend, in activities that bring families together. All of my boys are involved in sports and I have been fortunate enough to coach all of them and their peers.
My involvement in coaching has led to our familys increased connection within our town. Besides being a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, this exposure has allowed me to generate meetings and to answer questions about peoples financial problems and concerns, leading inevitably to business opportunities.
Know Your “Elevator Talk”
To assist prospects who ask for your advice on the baseball field, you have to have your “elevator talk” prepared. By that, I mean you need to explain your profession and how you can help them quickly, effectively and in a non-intimidating fashion.
I talk about my unique planning methodology that helps people make better financial decisions. And I let it be known the people I help are in my peer group. And I tell prospects that I have all the same concerns and problems as they do, from selecting the right mortgage to planning for a comfortable retirement.
Knowing that I am one of their peerssomeone they see often who is committed to my own family and community for the long hauloften breaks the barrier for these prospective clients. They know I understand them and face the same challenges but have the knowledge and resources to help them determine and achieve their financial goals.