Making a good name for yourself and your agency is a top priority for most financial advisors. Whether it’s bringing in new business or maintaining relationships with long-time clients, the quality of your service and the substance of your relationships is of the utmost importance. As someone who works at an online brokerage agency and gets all of my business online, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on how important it is to focus on cultivating a good reputation and meaningful client relationships.
One of my favorite lessons on this subject comes from “the world’s greatest salesman,” Joe Girard. Joe was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as having sold more cars than anyone else in history. He claimed that his success was simply a product of being nice to his customers and offering them a fair price. However, he was also known for taking his customer service a step further by sending handwritten holiday cards to all 13,000 of his customers with the simple but heartfelt message of “I like you” on every one. Joe’s story taught me that if you provide great service and prioritize client relationships, you can and will get to the point where your reputation will precede you.
Build your Reputation to Attract New Clients
Find ways to capitalize on your positive experiences with happy clients and use them to draw business to you. One method that has worked well for my business is asking satisfied clients for feedback, reviews and referrals. Many agents have a hard time asking for reviews, but it can help build your brand reputation to new clients. Prospects will always want to check your reputation on sites like Yelp, Google business pages, and the Better Business Bureau before working with you. When I receive new business, it is most often due to the fact that they’ve read positive reviews about my work and were compelled to reach out.
For most consumers, seeking information about life insurance is triggered by something – they may change jobs, experience the loss of someone close to them, or welcome a new member to the family. Ideally you would want consumers to think of you first when these types of life changes occur, which is why it is critical that you and your agency have a positive reputation. Since insurance should be bought and not sold, you should focus more on being there to help your clients when these triggers occur rather than trying to push products on to them.
Asking for reviews and referrals has become so impactful to my business that it has been integrated into my business model. If you’re an advisor and you’re not asking satisfied customers for reviews, you’re missing a huge opportunity to bolster your reputation and your business. Over time it can easily become a natural, effortless part of your process.
The Importance of Keeping in Touch
Once you have developed the initial client relationship, you must work on fostering it by finding ways to stay top of mind with them. I like to keep in touch with my clients by sending them a newsletter with valuable resources or articles that focus on personal finance and life insurance for the family.
Aim to provide clients with pertinent information that any of them could benefit or learn from reading. I occasionally choose to include some information on what’s going on within our agency so that clients can remain well-informed about our practice and can stay up to date with any changes. Be sure to use a quality over quantity approach with this content as not to inundate your clients or bother them in any way. When done correctly, providing clients with insightful content can add value to your relationship and establish an open line of communication.
Connecting through Financial Education
Educating your clients is a great way to enhance your relationship with them and helps to improve their financial confidence and well-being in the long run. A recent study by the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) found that consumers who have hired a financial advisor feel more confident and have more comprehensive plans for their futures than those who lack financial guidance. Going that extra mile to help your clients feel confident in their finances doesn’t have to be a complicated endeavor. We spend a lot of time trying to think about what to educate the client on, but the best thing to do is simply ask what questions and concerns they have. The client will invariably put it in a way that will give you the best direction on how to help them.
One of the best ways to help educate your clients is by providing them with information that will give them a comprehensive understanding of their policy. Since I work as an independent agent, I provide up-front rates so customers can compare different insurance companies. Sharing literature on all of the products they’re considering so that they can feel more comfortable with their choices is another excellent option. The more you can do to help educate your client, the better your relationship will be. This type of guidance can go a long way in helping to build meaningful, mutually-beneficial relationships with clients.
Without a doubt, becoming a great advisor and building an outstanding reputation for yourself requires a commitment to providing consistently great service in each client interaction. Focusing on client relationships is an investment for the future of your career and your business, and it’s one that will pay off in the short term as well as in the long term. Being friendly, attentive, and accommodating is enough to separate you from the competition and create a good name for yourself. If you can then leverage your reputation as a way to draw in more business, you’ll be reaping the rewards for a long time to come.
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