One parrot advising another parrot. (Credit: Thinkstock)

Happy clients do business. They refer their friends. One way of keeping them happy is letting them know you care about them.

The pandemic might have shifted lots of consumer purchasing from stores to online shopping, but online shopping is an anonymous experience. The websites have no interest in how your clients feel about masks.

You are an insurance professional seeking a long-term relationship by showing your clients you care about them.

(Related: Into the Valley of the Lost Prospects)

The pandemic has changed people’s lives. They likely want to talk about it. Give them the chance.

1. The reason for your call. “It’s been a difficult year and it’s only August! Could anyone have imagined this on New Years Day? I’m calling to catch up and see how you are doing. It’s a personal call, not a business call. We can swap stories.”

2. Has the pandemic touched your family or social circle? It’s more tactful than “Has anyone you know gotten sick?” Stop talking. Listen. Once they are done explaining, you can tell about family or friends who were affected. Remember client confidentiality. If that’s the primary connection, you aren’t mentioning any by name.

3. Do you know what’s happening with school for your children? Some districts are doing virtual classes. Some states are recommending schools open, although this seems to change by the day. Some schools are planning a hybrid of both methods of teaching. Regardless if you have children, you can talk about what’s being done in your area.

4. It’s been the year of the road trip. People got cabin fever after lockdown, but few countries are welcoming American tourists. Fortunately, we live in a big country. There are dozens of places within driving distance (unless you live in Hawaii.) Talk about your vacation. Was it a “stay-cation?”

5. Have you gotten out to restaurants yet? Are they doing indoor dining? It must be difficult to rent a banquet tent or walk along the sidewalk these days. Many restaurants are focusing on outdoor dining. However, many Americans are still uncomfortable about eating out. Talk about your experiences.

6. Has anyone you know had a wedding or graduation party? There are so many rules! There have been virtual parties. Small gatherings too. How did they adapt? You’ve likely seen news stories about how people have partied. You’ve heard about the “right” way and the “wrong” way.

7. Can you believe we have a nationwide coin shortage? Maybe they can’t figure that one out either. A friend in England told me how he went into his bank branch, wearing his mask. He had a jar of coins, which he wanted to deposit, as a good citizen doing his part to ease the coin shortage. They wouldn’t accept them. This must be the first time a masked man walked into a bank remanding the take money!

8. Are you getting used to wearing a mask? It might be a political statement too, but many business are requiring it for entry. No mask, no service. Some state and local governments are mandating it. My wife told me about a shopper lamenting “When you smile, no one can see it.”

9. Are you back in your office or working from home? The economy is gradually reopening. Some people don’t have jobs to return to. Hopefully your client is fine. They might talk about their anxieties about being back in the workplace.

Extra in case you want to swap one out.

10. What was it like the first time you got your hair cut? Was it crowded? Did you need an appointment? Was it longer or shorter than usual? Have prices changed? Share your own story.

There are people who say “I never hear from my advisor.” Others say “she only calls when she wants me to buy something.”

You are showing you care. Keeping the lines of communication open. Having a conversation where you hear the other person’s voice. It’s much more personal than an e-mail or text. They might initiate the call next time. Even better, they might say “I’m glad you called. There’s this product I heard about…”

— Read What Can Insurance Agents Do During Stock Market Declines?on ThinkAdvisor.


Bryce SandersBryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides high-net-worth client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor,” can be found on Amazon.