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100 best sales & marketing ideas: 71-80

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80. Create a solid fact-finder.  

Is fact-finding the medicine to cure all your sales ills? Not really, but it is a wonder drug that can put an ailing practice back on the road to recovery. If you know what a prospect’s feelings are, you know what they want, and prospects only buy products that help them get what they want. A strong fact-finder should allow you to: determine the client’s needs, design a tailor-made solution, take the guesswork out of the solution, identify objections before they come up, prepare the close in advance, identify the prospect’s dominant buying motive, make policies lapse-proof and replacement-proof, pave the way for repeat sales, set the stage for referrals, and build trust and loyalty.

— Bruce E. Dickes


79. Be direct.

Simply interview the client or potential client and conduct a needs analysis, then determine the best possible product to accomplish their goals.

— Percy D. Butler


78. Learn from the best.

No one is born a salesperson. Acquiring effective sales skills requires an investment of your time and money. Since it is an acquired skill, it is also perishable over time if it is not continually used, refined and practiced. Find a sales program or sales course to learn and understand the sales process. Better yet, look for opportunities to learn from those within our industry that are performing at the top. There are many opportunities to learn from these successful businesses.

— Bruce Carlton


77. Sell online.

Agents are trading in their briefcases and face-to-face meetings for a laptop and a website. Successful Internet life insurance agents are marketers first and foremost, and salesmen secondly. Here’s what that looks like: Instead of prospecting friends and family, attending networking events, hosting seminars and cold calling, Internet life insurance agents are focusing their time on learning different marketing techniques, analyzing data, and optimizing campaigns. The goal is to make the consumer come to the agent, not the other way around. I believe that if agents from 30 years ago — or even 10 years ago — were to look at Internet life insurance agents today, they would think we have it easy. We have so many different avenues in which we can prospect online. We are able to find niches online and penetrate them via content marketing, email marketing, social media, media buying, pay per click advertisements and many other avenues.  Through these inbound marketing techniques, we’re able to get prospects to come to us. We no longer have to approach our friends and family for sales and pitch our products. We have the ability to create websites and generate leads all while meeting our client’s preference of buying insurance online.

—Jeff Root


76. Develop a content marketing plan.

A good plan starts with an editorial mission statement. The first thing to do is figure out the why behind your content. Why is your content interesting or important to your customers? What’s the editorial mission? Once you’ve established what information you should be providing, do a visual content audit. Print out your content and blog posts, your social media posts, put it all out on a table and get your marketing team to engage in it. Is it helpful? Is it interesting? Is it targeted to the people you’re trying to reach? Finally, expect content marketing to deliver measurable results. Is your content driving sales or saving costs? Is your content making your customers happier, thus helping with retention? At the end of the day, you’ve got to make sure you’re driving sales.

—Joe Pulizzi


75. Become more persuasive.

If public speaking is a problem for you, join Toastmasters. Then make dozens or hundreds of speeches. Give talks before civic clubs. Talk at church. Volunteer to teach Personal Finance 101 at high schools or local colleges. If I were going to choose a topic today, I might choose Social Security. Become an expert in it. Call the president or program chair of an out-of-the-way Rotary Club. Offer to be a back-up speaker in case someone cancels.  Round up family and friends.  Practice, practice, practice. Now do it. Stay out in the suburbs or even the country for a while. When you are ready, ask one of your club presidents to recommend you to the leaders of some of the bigger clubs. Record your speeches. If you cringe, guess what? So does your audience. If needed, hire a speech coach. 

Bill Good


74. Craft a killer elevator pitch.

Shorter is better — most business professionals should target 30 seconds for their pitch as opposed to 60. A great elevator pitch is more difficult than you might think and requires refinement and rehearsal. Here’s what I recommend: make it short and simple; minimize jargon; if you focus on a niche (such as group benefits, transportation, construction or PLI), mention this; if you serve a specific geographical area, note it; highlight your two or three differentiators (what really sets you apart from your competition); be enthusiastic.

Alan Blume


73. Give away freebies.

One of the fundamental truths of life is that people love free stuff. The more affluent they are, the more they love it. The perks don’t have to be expensive; they can even be free. In fact, you don’t even have to give free stuff yourself; you can just help your clients to get free stuff.  Consider providing identify theft protection to your clients, helping them arrange a platinum American Express card, giving subscriptions to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance or even distributing casino rewards cards. There are a million different perks your clients will appreciate. Why does any of this work? Here’s my theory: The financial services you provide to your clients — while enabling their happy retirements, health care, children’s and grandchildren’s futures, etc. — are what they are paying for. At least, that’s how they see it. Perks are unexpected extras: they’re what they’ll tell their friends about, who, of course, will want those free perks, too.

— Angie Herbers


72. Use social media to establish trust.

Share relevant information with boomers via social media, giving free information on timely topics that are of interest to them. I’ve discovered that many enjoy the information but are more likely to talk to you about their individual circumstances when they see you face-to-face in a social setting. This has been successful for generating new business.

— Kurt Jackson


71. Turn clients into marketers.

The real Marketing Revolution rejects the idea that marketing is something companies do and embraces the view that the business of business is turning customers into marketers. Why do so many customers drive past a half-dozen other coffee shops to get to a Starbucks and then queue up in a slow moving line, all the while talking to people they’ve never seen before as if they’re old friends? Starbucks’ Founder Eric Schmidt offers a clue to why this happens, when he states ever so boldly that the company isn’t in the business of selling coffee. In fact, he goes so far as to say that there are plenty of places to get good coffee in Seattle (and elsewhere, we assume). It’s clear that Starbucks is at a different place. Each of the company’s 170,000-plus employees worldwide has the mission of turning Starbucks’ customers into marketers for the company. This happens when there’s consistency between customer expectation and customer experience. There’s no mistaking the fact that it works, since the number of stores keeps growing, as does Starbucks’ annual revenue.

— John Graham


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