You’ve got four appointments today. One is with pre-retiree who wants to roll some of his investments into a fixed annuity. Another is with a young couple shopping for life insurance. And the third is with an elderly woman interested in Medicare insurance. Three appointments, three completely different situations. That means different products, different cross-sell opportunities, and different stories and anecdotes to tell during your presentation. That’s a lot to remember and, therefore, a lot more chances to make a mistake.
What if you could spend the majority of your time offering solutions for people with similar needs? Could you become more efficient and offer more value to your clients by being an expert at dealing with specific situations?
By engaging in a practice called Precision Marketing, you can identify the ideal clients and situations for you and go about systematically targeting prospects who fit that criteria.
Precision Marketing Will Help You:
The more you work with a certain type of client, the more efficient your practice will be. If every situation looks pretty much the same, your stories, your examples, your presentations, your understanding of certain situations become almost second nature. You become masterful at helping a certain type of person.
This is also how you define yourself as a specialist. By being an expert, you will give your clients an experience that will make them more likely to refer you to others. When you get involved in cases that are outside your specialty, you risk wasting time and making mistakes that could actually cost you cases.
So look at your top 10 clients in terms of revenue and search for similarities among them. Are they married? What solutions do they need? How old are they? How did you meet them? Look for similarities you can use to create a composite profile of your idea client. This will help you identify the core situations and products you feel most confident working with.
Now, it could take years of highly targeted networking and marketing to get to a point where most of the people you deal with fit your ideal. Most agents are not in a position to turn away business simply because it doesn’t fit their profile. But you should strive for it anyway.
How do you find people who fit your profile? Really, the only good way to find people who fit your ideal client profile is through people you already know who fit the profile. In other words, through referrals and networking.
There have been countless articles written on the subject of referrals — how to ask for them and how to get more of them — but really it comes down to two main principles: 1) You have to ask for referrals; 2) You have to be systematic about how you ask. The rest really comes down to your style and the types of clients you’re working with.
Up-sell and Cross-sell to foster loyalty. A study by LIMRA showed that the more products you sell someone, the longer they will stay with you. The study showed a 35% retention rate over five years for clients who bought one product, a 56% retention rate for clients who bought two products and a 92% rate for those who bought three products!
How does this apply to referrals? The longer someone is with you, the more they will grow to trust you. And the more they trust you, the more likely they will be to refer you.
Referrals can’t just be happy little accidents. You need develop a system for when and how you ask for referrals. Do you offer incentives? Do you ask during annual policy reviews? Do you ask on a customer satisfaction survey? Decide on a referral system you and your clients can be comfortable with.
Strive for Introductions over Referrals. Get a formal, in-person introduction from the referrer if you can. Or send a branding brochure with an approach letter to the prospect, then call to follow up. Calling out of the blue could put them on the defensive.
Add Value Relentlessly. Constantly be looking for ways to add value to your relationships. Send articles they might be interested in, recommend authors, share ideas, host dinners, send cards. Not only will these things make them like you more, but they will keep you top of mind. So when the time comes to refer, your name will be the first one they think of.
Building a marketing strategy based on referrals is not easy, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Take the time to identify your ideal client today and you’ll be one step closer to running that coveted referral-based practice.