With the changes that have taken place both in the financial services industry as well as the greater, global economy, the editorial staff at Senior Market Advisor was interested to see what kind of responses we would receive with this year’s 100 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas feature. We believe this year’s list is our best yet and hope that it will help your practice thrive.
Our 100 Best list is 100 percent reader-generated and offers insight into how you’re addressing the financial meltdown and what strategies you’re putting into play. One thing that stood out on the list is the way advisors are embracing new technology and social media to drive new business. In addition, look for this logo to learn ideas from speakers at this year’s Senior Market Advisor Expo. Read on. Enjoy. Succeed.
1. MINE THE GOLD. Market to your existing clients and other prospects who have already shown interest in what you do. From discussions with dozens of advisors, most are sitting on a goldmine of opportunity that they are either ignoring or only attempting half-heartedly.
Pat Strubbe, Worklessandmakemore.com
2. Build upon proven relationships. Fifty percent of your new business should come from prospects that you initially met within the last three to six months. Just check in with a call, a direct mail piece, an article of interest or anything that reinforces that you’re still thinking of them.
Michael Stewart, Bullvalleyfinancial.com
3. Workshops. I’ve arranged a presentation that talks about what’s really happening in the economy and markets. And it’s connected me to my clients and prospects.
Michael Stewart, Bullvalleyfinancial.com
4. Keep it simple. Keep your presentation simple and short. Get agreement in three areas: 1) safety first; 2) reasonable rate of return; and 3) keep it simple.
John Conyers, Conyers and Associates
5. Seminars. I use seminars to meet with many people at the same time for what becomes the first appointment. Make sure that you are making the seminar a positive experience in every way. This starts from when they call for the reservation to the day they come into the office.
6. Search engine optimization. Using SEO has been successful in having my Web sites consistently come up in the top slots on Google for my area. More and more people who come to my seminars are also checking me out on the Internet before their appointments.
7. Mentors. Find a mentor and do split casework to learn the ropes of your target market. Fifty percent of something is better than 100 percent of nothing.
Brad Williams, Askbradwilliams.com
8. Get the church bells ringing. Visit churches to inquire about how you can help them set up seminars with their congregation.
Ernesto O. Ward, Sr., Jireh Insurance Agency
9. Phone time. Don’t do the bulk of your prospecting during prime business hours. Instead, never underestimate the value of leaving voice mail messages at night. These will be the very first messages that your prospect will hear in the morning, thereby increasing the odds of them placing a returned call.
10. Know Your Customers. Take the time to ask questions so that you can match the right products to the right customers. If you waste time showing them products in which they have no interest, you will lose their attention and urge to buy. Adrian Miller, Adrianmiller.com
11. Honor the client. Client-centered events and client milestone events are great ways to build your relationship.
Christopher K. Abts, Cornerstoneretirement.com
12. Take the initiative. Always schedule annual client reviews and have an agenda prepared ahead of time.
John Graziano, Ffpinc.com
13. Dinner time. Take your best clients out to dinner with their spouses and your own spouse. Once the clients and spouses meet in this type of setting, it takes the relationship to a new and more personal level.
14. Build alliances. Contact centers of influence (CPAs and attorneys, for instance) more regularly and make more time to see them in person, especially after the tax season. Stuart J. Pastrich, CFP, CFGLI.com
15. Joint workshops. Develop joint educational workshops with other organizations such as hearing aid specialists, in-home nonmedical organizations, funeral pre-planners, etc.
16. Direct mail. Direct mail response letters are still effective to begin from scratch.
Wm. Steve Wright, Wrightlegacygroup.com
17. Free needs analysis. I offer one and show clients how to efficently plan for the future and protect their income if something should happen.
18. The multicultural niche. I worked on finding my niche and decided it was important to address the Hispanic community. I request marketing material from my carriers in Spanish and I deal with the Spanish-language representative from my carriers to assist me with with new ideas.
19. The power of business cards. Give everyone you talk to a business card and let them know what you do.
James Smith, Meetjamessmith.com
20. The lifeblood. I make it a habit to follow up with my clients every three to six months just to touch base and see if they know anyone else who may benefit from the type of relationship that I have with them.
21. Direct response mailers. If you have the budget, I would highly recommend doing direct response mailers. When I started my career, I didn’t have any extra money and I printed some fliers and simply went door-to-door. As much as I would not do that now, if I hadn’t done it, I wouldn’t even be in the business!
Anthony A. Saccaro, Seniorbenefits.info
23. Emotional marketing. I’ve been using this to get prospects. Gear your marketing pieces from the emotional point of view, not simply targeting products.
Carlene Damba, Damba Financial Services
24. The honest approach. Think about fair and direct communication, and focus on the client’s best interest. Avoid the temptation to sell product to bump the bottom line. Michael Masiello, Mmasiello.com
25. The well-heeled. Identify an affluent niche of prospects and send focus group and seminar invites and get them on a mailing list for newsletters. Then keep dripping on them about ideas and further meetings until they rise to the top as an appointment and client.
26. What’s up, doc? Doctors are particularly interested in protecting their assets from lawsuits. So target them with marketing pieces specifically tailored to solving that problem, and it will attract requests for information on asset protection.
Gerald W. Nannen, CLU, ChFC, Senior Financial Advisors, Inc.
27. Ask for introductions, not referrals. Provide all clients with an “introduction kit” consisting of your personal brochure, newsletter and business card, plus a postage-paid envelope and blank note, so the client can write a note on your behalf.
John Graziano, Ffpinc.com
28. The safe product. Offer this advice: “Think of life insurance as a backup for a retirement pension plan. What other product can indemnify if you live too long, die too soon or become disabled along the way?”
Tom Doncaster, CLU, CWM, Tomdoncaster.com
29. Flyer networking. I’ve always networked with P&C agents, accountants and lawyers. They take a flyer explaining annuity rates and send them out to 10 of their customers. About half call back and schedule an appointment.
30. Work the phones. To any new person just starting out, work the phones 20 hours per week. And with your first commissions, buy direct mail leads for health, life and LTC. Have a continued lead purchase program for the first 2-5 years you’re in business.
Charles H. Baldwin, Bcfinance.com
31. Social networking. Use Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn to check people out, and regularly write on other people’s blogs using key word phrases.
Joanne Black, Nomorecoldcalling.com
32. Talk, talk talk. Talk to everyone. Don’t assume that people know what you do. Get the word out.
Ken Scopp, Myhealthins.com
33. Tried-and-true. One-on-one dinner appointments, networking and referrals through friends and relatives have all worked for me. Victor Hallman, Hallman Financial Services
34. Referrals, referrals, referrals. I ask for them in my newsletter, my monthly economic update and during my monthly conference calls. But that’s not enough. I also have a referral kit for my best clients to give to their friends, family and colleagues.
35. Target your workshop: My latest is titled: “We are in a recession … now what?” People are scared and they want information that is relevant. The workshop is a town meeting-style discussion about past recessions and bear markets, the current problems and what we can expect in the coming months.
36. There isn’t one idea, and that’s the point. I would tell any new advisor to use a variety of marketing channels: direct mail, networking, seminars, joining local organizations, radio, etc. The important thing is to use many different channels and use them consistently. Stephen Vachon, Investorscapital.com
37. Develop a franchise. Never bend the truth to obtain a quick sale and never forget the last customer that purchased a product from you. Develop a franchise with the customer and they will reward you for your persistence.
Randy Boldt, Gomedico.com
38. Special events. We just had one–”A Night at the Opera.” We rented a tour bus, had box dinners and took about 50 people to go see “Phantom of the Opera.” In order to participate, clients had to bring a friend.
Dan Ohlwiler, Sterlingfa.com
39. Experience matters. Being in the same line of work for a number of years will create a track record that can help build client confidence. Steve Curry, Gilfordsecurities.com
40. Community leader. Get involved in your community. Join clubs and non-profit organizations. Get your name out so when people have a need, they will think of you.
Sarah Delk, Sdelk.com
41. Open the communication channel. When calling someone, greet them pleasantly and develop a good icebreaker to the conversation. Also, always call in advance before you arrive, to confirm that appointment and that you are on your way.
Mervyn Syljuberget, Merv’s Health Insurance and Financial Services
42. Don’t oversell. Never be in a position where you have to “undo” a previous statement that may come back to haunt you.
Bill Ring, Financialdignityllc.com
43. Lessons to live by
- Learn to become an honest and very good salesman or saleswoman.
- Learn to listen with your eyes and let the prospect tell you what he/she needs.
- Be prepared and ask for help.
- Be yourself — always. It’s a lot easier.
- “Nothing happens until a sale is made.” That includes fee salespeople.
David A. Brunn, Deadbolt Insurance Advisory
44. Cost efficiency. Seminar marketing is a very effective way to generate sales and though it has a diminishing rate of return, it still beats most, if not all, other methods in terms of actual cost/sale.
Christopher Richter, Seniortaxadvisorygroup.com
45. Educate yourself. Staying current with what new products are available that can help your clients is important. It’s equally important to know how new legislative or tax changes may impact them, and then broadcast that message.
Mark Synder, Markjsnyder.com
46. The Internet. It works for our agency 24/7/365, providing a steady stream of leads and sales opportunities. It’s proven to be the best sales and marketing tool I have found in over 25 years in the industry. So we’ve concentrated on increasing the functionality of our Web site, refining our online marketing strategies and enhancing our online presence.
Merle Silver, CSA, ACA, Msilverandassociates.com
47. Network marketing groups. They are great: You build real relationships that will last a lifetime. You may not get much business up front, but once you establish yourself as the insurance guru, everyone from that group will ask you questions and send you business.
Karl Schuckert, 123FG.com
48. Drip marketing. We are staying with a “drip” campaign with our clients. Clients are thirsty for information during these tough economic times.