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Practice Management > Building Your Business

Keep Your Prospects Close (And Your Clients Closer!)

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If you are like most agents and advisors, you’ve probably discovered that it’s much harder to acquire a new client for your financial services practice than to keep the ones you already have.

After all, unless someone is referred to you by an existing customer, getting a new client means you must start the practice of building and maintaining trust from scratch.

(Related: What to Do When Prospects Go Dark)

Even if you manage to convince a new customer of your competence and trustworthiness, there is still the tendency for clients who don’t have a history with you to push back against your advice, especially at the beginning of the relationship. It makes sense that client retention and prospect nurture should be at the core of all thriving financial services practices.

Studies by several major business schools indicate that financial consultants and agents could increase their incomes up by thousands of dollars by reducing their loss of current clients by as little as 5%.

All financial advisors and insurance agents should consistently reach out to existing clients and maintain a good prospect list “hygiene.” Your client and prospect list needs to be regularly updated. Duplicate data and bounced or inactive email addresses should be removed.

Once your list is clean, you can begin the process of designing effective outreach campaigns.

Some reasons to focus on database marketing are to:

1. Stay top of mind.

Nurturing existing clients can increase retention dramatically. Sending cards on special days, a monthly newsletter or white paper, or even a short phone call will remind your clients to think of you.

2. Reduce the time it takes to close.

Working within your database cuts down on the number of “touches” needed to make a sale. When you reach out to existing clients or prospects who have already met you, read your content, or connected with you on social media, you don’t have to work as hard to get to “Yes!”

3. Gain more quality referrals.

Marketing to existing clients often results in organic referrals.

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When you regularly reach your warm database, you create goodwill that often results in clients telling their friends about you.

So, what is an effective nurture campaign?

You should be consistent. Sporadic, hit-or-miss marketing sends the wrong message about you and your level of concern for your clients. Whether you choose to connect once a week, once a month, or once a quarter, strive for consistency.

1. Educate and inform.

Whether you use electronic or paper newsletters, eBooks, podcast recordings, videos, or drip emails, help your clients get the most from your services and product offerings.

2. Organize events.

Even in the age of COVID-19, it is possible to create meaningful online events to help your prospects and clients feel more connected to you.

3. Help your business owner clients.

If you have business owners and self-employed professional clients, they might struggle right now due to shelter-in-place orders, market downturns, and other issues. Helping these business owners save money and deal with re-opening their companies will position you as a valuable member of their financial team.

You could connect them with local resources, forward useful information, help them get positive reviews, or refer someone you know to their establishment.

4. Send surveys.

Using a service such as Survey Monkey, send short (three to five questions) surveys to the people in your database. Ask for ideas on improving your service to them or for topics for seminars and webinars. Surveys give you a great reason to contact your warm list, and you will gain insights that can help you make your outreach efforts more useful and relevant.

5. Drip emails and video emails.

Extensions on your Chrome or Firefox browser, some of which are free, can help you easily send video emails. There are also subscription services that give you more flexibility and options for customization. Video is a fantastic way to break out of the monotonous email cycle and get more engagement.

The bottom line: Many agents forget that their most valuable source of sales and referrals is usually their existing client base. Establishing a consistent, content-packed drip system will assist financial professionals in “competitor-proofing” your clients and ensuring maximum retention.

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Al MartinezAl Martinez is a retirement planning specialist at America’s Financial Solutions Group.