90. Reward good customers.
Offering perks to good customers is a great way to foster loyalty and retention. By setting up systems to reward customers that pay their bills on time, or take part in social media surveys, you can show your customers that you’re just as invested in them as they are in you.
— Justin Brown
89. Earn referrals organically.
To gain referrals from existing clients, you must first get them comfortable enough to divulge intimate details about their family and business dynamics. Then, provide good service and simply ask them for referrals. Emphasize that the work you do is private, that no one will know of your work unless they choose to tell others, and that you hope they will tell as many people as possible because that’s how your business grows. It’s almost an organic approach to making sure that everybody you encounter knows of the additional resources that you have here in the company, and are comfortable sharing that with their centers of influence, their neighbors and their family members.
— Philip Harriman
88. Commit to doing workshops for at least a year.
If you choose your audience wisely, workshops can be a fruitful avenue to attract prospects and clients. Don’t send invitations out to the general public – unless you want to be a star on the plate-licker circuit where the only people who show up are those looking for a free meal. Instead, target a very specific market, say pre-retirees who work for your local utility company and phone company. Never mention products during a workshop; the purpose should be purely education. Other tips:
- Schedule for either a Tuesday or Thursday, starting between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
- Talk for no more than an hour, then serve dinner
- Keep the attendee list to around 20–25
- Get your presentation compliance-approved
— Marc Silverman
87. Bring up collaborative consumption.
Compared to other everyday purchases, insurance is totally counterintuitive. Or is it? One thing to emphasize in client conversations is that an insurance product doesn’t work unless many people buy it. Think about it. Your toaster would still work if you were the only one who ever bought it. Insurance can’t work without a large pool of people participating. And here’s the good news: collaborative consumption (i.e. the “sharing economy”) is now fashionable. People are sharing homes, cars, lawnmowers and all kinds of things instead of owning them outright. New businesses (AirBnB, Redbox, ZipCar) are being built on this model. Ironically, insurance is the original sharing model. If consumers see insurance as a one-to-many relationship vs. a one-to-one relationship with an insurance company, it could change attitudes, behaviors and respect for the category. Emphasizing this difference can do a lot to influence client perceptions.
— Maria Ferrante-Schepis
Image: AP Photo / Mark Lennihan
86. Communicate during a crisis.
Regularly communicating to clients and prospects provides reassurance during troubled times. Communication can take a variety of forms, such as phone calls, emails, newsletters, market commentaries, webinars, conference calls, videos and events. Even if your clients and prospects aren’t actively engaged in any of these marketing activities, your consistent outreach will remind them that you’re there when they need you.
In addition to communicating with your clients on a regular basis, you need to have systems in place to quickly reach out to clients and prospects if there’s a financial emergency. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do your CRM and email marketing systems contain current email addresses for all your clients and prospects?
- Do you have an email template ready to go so that you can send an e-blast within a few hours of a major event (a stock market crash, natural disaster or firm emergency)?
- Could you produce a conference call or webcast within days — or even hours — of an economic catastrophe?
- Is someone in your office trained on and responsible for executing these duties?
Being prepared to quickly communicate with panicky clients and prospects can help ease fears following an economic disaster. And it may also position you to pick up new clients who are in distress and are looking for guidance.
— Kristen Luke
85. Identify all the resources.
There are many family trusts active and most all provide for life insurance and annuity purchases by the trustee(s). Prospects should be asked about the availability of this source of funding for needed products.
— Floyd Guest
84. Use YouTube to grow your business.
We’ve all seen the stats that VIDEO is what people want to see. They are so prevalent that at some point you have probably thought about making your own videos to post on YouTube and embed on your website. Here’s a tip: Don’t wing it in front of the camera. Since most of us probably lack the charisma to get in front of a camera and just dazzle the audience without fumbling our words, it is recommended that you carefully plan out your video. What do I mean by creating a plan? Write a script! I know, it’s easier said than done, but writing a script will help you create structure around what you are trying to accomplish with the video and ensure that you are achieving your goal. Next, submit your script to compliance. This may expedite the process of review after you shoot the video and minimize the risk of having to re-shoot or edit the video due to future compliance changes.
— Todd Greider
83. Resolve to keep moving.
Momentum is what moves mountains, not just the first push. Instead of resolving to chart a whole new course, perhaps all you need is to take the next step from where you are right now. Instead of deciding you need something new and magical and hopeful in your life, maybe you need to do what you already know you should be doing: shuffling along, moving forward, refusing to stop.
The key to success is to maintain your momentum. Getting started — building up enough power and planning and potential to break past the barriers holding you back — is the hardest part of getting to where you want to be. But when you’re already moving, it’s much easier to change course, to adapt, to prioritize. Because you have momentum. And it’s momentum that can propel you toward your goals.
So, stop resolving and just keep moving. Stop flailing wildly in the dark for a magical elixir and just do the unglamorous job of grinding out what needs to be done each day. After all, if you keep moving toward your goals — taking the steps you can take each day — eventually you will arrive.
— Dan Waldschmidt
82. Develop and build your own marketing database.
Building a database with email addresses and relevant information about former, current and prospective clients is absolutely essential. It allows you to communicate with them, reminding past customers of all you have to offer; strengthening the confidence of current clients; and encouraging prospective clients to move toward a sale.
If you’re just getting started, create a database of all the people you know who might be interested in hearing from you: friends, family members, former business associates – everyone. Your communications should not be sales pitches; rather, offer valuable, helpful information relevant to your field.
Keep your database growing by offering content on your website that includes a “call to action” – an invitation for visitors to share their contact information in exchange for something that benefits them. That might include free reports available as downloads, how-to videos or subscriptions to your blog posts. If you’re an author, you can provide a free chapter or two of your book.
— Marsha Friedman
81. Become a blogger.
The first step in becoming a blogger is to decide on — or refine — your target audience. Defining the readers whom you seek is a powerful step for your blog as well as for your business. If you try to appeal to all readers, your blog posts will appeal to none because they’ll be too generic. In contrast, if you narrow your target, for example, to owners of small manufacturing companies in the Midwest who are grappling with how to treat everyone fairly in their succession planning, your readers will feel that you’re speaking directly to them. Sure, you’ll lose some readers, but the ones whom you attract will feel strongly about your content, especially if you identify one of their pressing problems — such as succession planning — and offer solutions for it.
— Susan B. Weiner