There are only two things that your clients will want to hear from you in 2010: They want to know how you can save them money, and they want to know how you can make them money — and that’s it.

After a brutal 18 months, consumers have become increasingly frugal. Knowing this, it’s crucial that when you reach out to your clients, your message conveys your understanding of their situation. Luckily, you’re perfectly poised to deliver this strategic marketing message of saving money/making money for your clients, and it won’t even put a dent in your marketing budget.

How can you save me money?
It’s a safe bet that each of your clients (even the relatively financially stable) is still concerned with saving money these days. The good news is that by grasping this, you can avoid a lot of wasted time and money on marketing efforts that just won’t resonate. Instead, build a marketing message that will hit the mark this year — namely, how you’re going to save them money.

Consider that a recent study conducted by InTouch Corporation showed that appointment-setting ratios increased substantially when the words “savings” or “discount” were emphasized in calls to agents’ clients. During the time of the study, 20 percent of calls resulted in appointments set when offering only a policy review, versus 33 percent when the call emphasized saving the client money during a policy review.

This means you’ll need to spend time reviewing all of your clients’ policies to look for redundancies, inefficiencies, and non-necessary coverages, and to make sure you’re able to save clients as much money as possible while still keeping them safe from risk. Moreover, identify clients that use multi-line carriers to determine how you can save them money by writing multiple policies for them.

It’s important to note that, although saving money for your client may not help your immediate cash flow, the business model under which you operate is based on long-term retention rates. Even a slight dip in your retention rate will reverberate over the next 5 years and impact your profitability. The practice of aligning yourself with money saving strategies which prevent client defection is brilliant in times like these.

How can you make me money?
The second question your clients will have for you, after you offer to help them save money, will be, “How can you make me money?” As an insurance agent, your primary role in this economy is helping your clients save money, but don’t forget that your clients are also very much looking to make money. To that end, although the initial focus of your call should be on arranging a meeting or policy review to discuss money-saving options, you should also be prepared with opportunities to help them earn money.

Once your clients know that you’ll be presenting them with ways that they can save money during the meeting you’ve arranged, you can offer them a free financial review, as well. Whether you offer financial products on your own or with the help of a financial specialist, reiterate that you’re a resource they can use to actually make money during the recession. Let them know that this review can take place immediately following their policy review, and that this is a no-obligation, no-charge consultation.

Next, consider the financial products you sell, either independently or with the help of a financial specialist. Are any of them performing particularly well despite the still-sluggish economy? If you don’t feel confident in any particular products, call in a financial specialist whom you trust to review your clients’ portfolio and make recommendations on products that can make them money.

It’s very important that this free consultation is presented as a “soft sell.” Even though your clients are interested in making money, they still may be reluctant to invest in products that require a sizable upfront payment. Case in point, during the same study mentioned earlier, when the calls being made offered only new products to clients, the appointment set ratio was a meager 8 percent. So don’t push too hard, but do encourage your clients to at least consider any products that you can offer that will make them money, even if the return on their investment takes time.

The message is clear. In these trying fiscal times, it’s vital to have a strategic marketing message designed to offer solutions to your clients’ two specific questions. By creating and delivering this message, complete with answers to their questions, you’ll find that the time you put into this cost-effective and timely marketing message will be an valuable investment in your own business.

Brenda Rhodes is the CEO of InTouch Corporation, a CRM and insurance review appointment-setting service company. She can be reached at 408-458-4300 or at brhodes@in-touchcorp.com.