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The most innovative sales ideas of 2016: 71-80

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Editor’s Note: This is the third in a ten-part series identifying the best sales techniques for 2016. To view the rest of the series, click here.

80. Let referring professionals and satisfied clients sell you to others.

“Our practice focuses on collaboration and education of women in transition — for example, women who have undergone a spouse’s death or divorce. On several occasions, I handed a few of Kathleen Rehl’s books to an accountant and an attorney with a note about her work. They passed along these books to women clients who would read them, call me and become my clients.

Also, we once invited 20 existing clients to bring their adult daughters or friends to dinner as our guests. So these people, 20 of whom we didn’t know, heard Kathleen Rehl speak. Afterward, half of them became clients of ours. Once you start working with these very vulnerable clients, they will literally drive new clients to your office.”

— John Finn, Principal, Finn & Rodriguez Wealth Management

79. Be clear about your advertising goals.

“Tell the reader exactly what you want him to do — the action you want him to take. Don’t be shy. You won’t appear ‘pushy.’ Most important, you won’t repeat the classical sales error of failing to ask for action — to ask for that order.” 

— Andrew Byrne, insurance marketing product manager with Playboy Enterprises Inc., in the March 6, 1982, issue of National Underwriter Life & Health

78. Are you doing the best you can?

“The question I ask myself like almost every day is, ‘Am I doing the most important thing I could be doing?’ … Unless I feel like I’m working on the most important problem that I can help with, then I’m not going to feel good about how I’m spending my time.” 

— Mark Zuckerberg, chairman, CEO, chief executive, Facebook 

77. Become a center of influence.

Focus your prospecting efforts on a very specific niche market that interests you. Identify a Center of Influence appropriate for the niche and consult them for their advice.  People that are asked for their advice are flattered to have been asked, they are generally more than happy to give it because everyone wants to think they’re an expert at something, and they feel invested in wanting the advice they give to work.

Ask the question like this:  “Mrs. Smith, Do you have a few minutes to give me some advice?” Assuming that she says yes: “I’d really like to expand my financial services practice with more successful (insert niche description) just like you. Do you think that’s a good idea?” If yes: “If you were me, how would you do it?” 

The listen and let them architect your lead generation strategy. Under no circumstances should you bring up the word referral. You also shouldn’t care if the person that you ask advice of is a client. If there’s radio silence for a bit that’s ok.

Give them time to think. The more thoughtful their advice the better it will be for you. Even if it turns out that they don’t think you should focus on the niche you originally had in mind, they may well raise some really valuable points that could save you a lot of time and energy.   

It’s probably the most effective marketing technique I’ve used and some of the most successful advisors I’ve ever met built their practices using it. Almost every advisor out there asks for referrals. Very few ask for advice.  It’s a differentiator and a game changer.

— Rebecca True, President / Sr. Financial Advisor, True Financial Advisorsa True, President / Sr. Financial Advisor, True Financial Advisors

76. Know who your clients AREN’T.

The best financial advisors (and insurance agents) know exactly who their clients are … and aren’t. This sounds obvious, but isn’t easy. Oftentimes, we see advisors make exceptions to their Ideal Client Type. This can end badly. The most successful advisors have the courage to avoid (and cull) potential clients who do not fit … and remain laser-focused on finding clients who do. 

— Ray Sclafani, president and founder of ClientWise


75. Know the power of a strong team.

“All companies of any size have to continue to push to make sure you get the right leaders, the right team, the right people to be fast acting and fast moving in the marketplace. We’ve got great leaders, and we continue to attract and promote great new leaders.” 

Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft; owner of the L.A. Clippers 

74. Relationship selling is more important than ever.

“You know you are running a modern sales team when selling feels more like the relationship between a doctor and a patient and less like a relationship between a salesperson and a prospect. When you go in to see your doctor and she asks you about your symptoms, you tell her the truth. You trust that she can diagnose your problem and prescribe the right medication. When she says, ‘This is what you have. Take these pills,’ you don’t say, ‘Let me think about it’ or ‘Can I get 20 percent off?’ You take the medication. It’s no longer about interrupting, pitching and closing. It is about listening, diagnosing and prescribing.”

Mark Roberge, SVP sales and services at HubSpot

73. Use content marketing as the driver.

Establish your authority in your chosen area of expertise. The most successful marketers today tend to be part marketer and part publisher. They generate an ongoing stream of high-quality content to demonstrate their expertise. Ultimately, you’re building a leadership position for your practice as a trusted resource in specific topics.

— David Marshall B. Finley, a wealth management marketing and sales professional

72. Connect with existing clients.

“The most important marketing aspect of your business should be efforts that connect you with your existing clients. After all, referrals, client retention and repeat sales are all a result of satisfied customers.

It is surprising, however, that many agents and advisors have no mechanism in place to foster their relationships and maintain a connection with existing clients.  Agents will find themselves so busy looking for and closing the “next one” that they will ignore the ones they already have … sometimes to the point of losing that client. 

We advise and assist agents to put systems in place that keep the agent in front of their existing database with unique content that actually educates the reader. Content that the reader would then be willing to read and share on a weekly basis. Then, implement methods of distributing that content which make it easy for your audience to access it.  Most commonly, this is accomplished via a well-managed blog, email, and various social media platforms.” 

— Greg Preite, CEO of The Digital Advisor

71. Implement a client reward program.

“Everyone wants to be rewarded for their loyalty. Why do you think every major company and business today rewards their loyal clientele for their business? Americans have grown accustomed to working with certain brands and stores because they know they’re appreciated for their expenditures.

Create a rewards program. In fact, I recently pioneered a rewards program for agents to use with their clients that provides discounts on thousands of retailers across the country. The clients save money on their routine shopping trips and the tool they use is branded to the agent, so in the end it maintains a positive awareness of the agent’s business in the loyal customer’s mind.”

— Ray Kathawa, Marketing consultant at M&O Marketing

Check out 2016′s best sales and marketing ideas 81 – 90 here and for all 2016 ideas, go here.

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