A benefit-focused marketing approach generates rewards for everyone involved. Clients feel that they have an agent who listens to them and cares about them. At the same time, you are building long-term relationships that will generate increased revenues.

One of the most fundamental business maxims is a cardinal rule in the insurance business: Nobody does business with strangers. Studies show that it is about five times harder to sell a prospect than to sell a client. Therefore, strong relationships provide an excellent foundation for future sales transactions as clients’ needs change and their families and businesses grow.

In addition, cross-selling forges multiple links that reinforce client relationships. Research shows that client retention rates correlate directly to the number of products the client uses. In one study, the average retention rate was 14% for clients who use just one of a firm’s products or services; 56% for those who use two products; and 83% for those using three products from the same firm. Therefore, you can cement client relationships and enhance account profitability by developing focused cross-sell programs targeting vulnerable single-product households. Contact clients periodically to see if there have been any recent events that could impact their coverage needs. Let them know about any new program that relates to their needs or concerns.

Satisfied long-term clients are also much more likely to recommend their agent to friends, family and colleagues, turning into a very cost-effective, de facto sales force for your practice.

Benefit-focused marketing requires a change in focus and some discipline along the way. But the rewards can be significant.

This article is adapted from a new book, The Professional’s Guide to Financial Services Marketing: Bite-Sized Insights for Creating Effective Approaches (Wiley Publishing), by Jay Nagdeman. For more information, visit www.FinancialServicesMarketingBook.com.