When it comes to prospecting for new clients, agents and brokers need a plan to find and attract not only new customers, but great clients who will bring value to the business. Agents and brokers who do a good job prospecting can not only substantially increase their customer base, but they can also grow annuity sales considerably.
According to Wink in an article that first appeared in NAFA, there are five steps to successful prospecting for ideal new annuity clients. Following these steps will help agents and brokers create a profile of the ideal client, determine their own value to existing clients and ultimately reach out to other individuals who may help grow the business.
1. Identify and clarify
Begin by sorting through your existing customer base and identifying the clients you’d like to have more of, those you feel like you provide the best service and whom you provide the most value. Then, write down the specific quantitative features—such as net worth, assets, income, occupation, age, location and family circumstances—and qualitative features—such as personality, retirement and future outlook, lifestyle and attitude toward professional advice—to characterize these top clients. When you look at the common features of your top clients, you can create a profile of your ideal client and can begin to formulate a plan to add clients with similar characteristics to your customer base.
2. Begin the conversation
Gathering feedback from your best clients is an excellent way to hone your prospecting strategy. Ask these top clients why they chose you and how your advice has benefitted them. Be sure to tell each client how much you enjoy working with him or her and how much you appreciate their business. Use this opportunity to ensure that you’re on track and see if there’s anything more you could do to better serve his or her needs, and then brainstorm how to reach out to similar people, asking if the client has suggestions on friends or family who could benefit from your help.
3. Determine your value
Start the interview by asking the client how your partnership has helped him or her. Ask questions like “How would you rate your experience with me?” and “Were there any issues you had before you came to my office that we’ve alleviated?” Ask if your current plan has minimized financial concerns, or if there’s anything you can do to help the client feel more financially secure. Gathering this information can help you gain a deeper understanding of how your advice is perceived by clients.
4. Ask for referrals
Word-of-mouth is the most effective way to advertise – and for agents and brokers, it’s also the very best way to attract new clients. A recommendation from a top client’s family member or trusted friend is invaluable.
Don’t hesitate to ask your satisfied clients for referrals. Ask focused questions like, “Do you know anyone from your social circle who is nearing retirement and has shown concern about maintaining the same lifestyle, or wants to have assets to pass on to loved ones?”
5. Move to the introduction
If you get referrals that match your ideal client profile, ask your client to arrange an introduction. Even when approaching a referred individual, cold calling is rarely as effective as being connected through a personal introduction.
Editor’s Note: 5 Steps to Prospecting for Ideal Annuity Clients is the first in a multi-part series intended to help advisors and brokers optimize their sales process and grow their businesses.