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Know thy customer

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A concept as old as marketing itself says, “Don’t find customers that are right for your products — find products that are right for your customers.” Agents can respond to the challenge to progress from product-driven marketing to customer-needs-driven strategies that focus on individual relationships by listening to their clients and becoming thoroughly familiar with their needs. The longer a given relationship, the greater the probability that the transaction history will provide valuable insights about matters such as product preferences and what motivates specific financial decisions. Astute agents will convert available data to marketing intelligence and use that intelligence to develop programs that enhance the client’s attachment and loyalty.

If you do not have access to your firm’s database, create your own. Gather valuable data that you can use to improve the effective of your marketing efforts. For example:

  • Profile your best clients. Find out why they keep coming back for more. Focus on their buying process and learn, for example, in what order they purchase various products and services. Find out about unmet needs and concerns that you could address.
  • Contact your inactive accounts. Find out why they’re not doing business with you now. Ask where they are currently doing business and why.
  • Take a closer look at complaints and frequent questions. You will probably uncover a lot of information about clients’ priorities and concerns.

By carefully analyzing all the client data you can access or gather, you will begin to understand not only what each market segment needs, but more importantly, what they want. These insights will give you a solid foundation for some effective customer-centric marketing.

Jay Nagdeman is president of Suasion Resources, Inc. This article is adapted from his new book, The Professional’s Guide to Financial Services Marketing: Bite-Sized Insights for Creating Effective Approaches (Wiley Publishing). For more information, visit


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