In 2006, my managing partner asked me to develop an effective orphan management program. But instead of focusing on yet another orphan program which has been historically perceived negatively by the financial representatives, we decided to create an Agency Client Marketing Program. Our goal was to help the firm stay in touch with over 8,000 clients and open up new sales opportunities for our participating financial representatives, especially among clients who had not been contacted in years.
An opportunity to market to clients
To begin developing a successful program, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of our client base. We found that one insurer’s long term care insurance sales were 80% of the firm’s client base, with only 20% in life insurance or multiple product sales. Most clients were 65 or older. And, because many of the clients were sold just one product, primarily LTCI, many had not been called for years.
This was viewed as a great opportunity for our firm to tell clients what we offer in terms of broader financial solutions in retirement, estate conservation and charitable giving. The biggest challenge would be to create a process of cultivating these clients, which would add value to the financial representatives in the firm and result in successful sales opportunities.
To start, we selected the experienced financial reps with Series 6 licenses who wanted access to these clients, who knew how to conduct a proper fact-finder, and who focused on a needs-based sales approach. We also created a step-by-step process for them to follow, which started with their signed commitment to the program. The firm mailed an introductory marketing letter to the client list. Then, we asked reps to follow up by conducting client surveys.
The survey approach is very effective with clients because the representative is focusing on their financial concerns and issues in the phone call or meeting, not on making a sale. The entire tone and process is less threatening to the client and more of a way to build a relationship.
Client marketing in action
One 9-year financial representative with the firm who has found success with this program noted that the organized approach has allowed him to grow his life business by contacting both life insurance and LTCI ‘orphan’ clients. About 60% of his new life cases now come from this source.
His approach is very low key as he positions himself as a helpful resource versus making a sale. After he gets his list of clients who received the firm’s marketing letter, he makes his calls. He first introduces himself and asks if their policy is still meeting the needs for which it was originally purchased. He asks if he can set up an appointment to review their current coverage, to answer questions and to learn more about their financial concerns.