Posts Tagged ‘Referrals’
Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
via Dan Richards, ClientInsights.ca
It all started with a simple request that, as it turned out, was not so simple. The resulting encounter with a 29 year old account manager at a leading bank provides important lessons for advisors around:
- Communicating your focus on customer needs
– Checking for satisfaction
– Letting clients know you’re open for business
– Following up
– The right incentives for your team
A simple request
Given a growing amount of business south of the border, earlier this year I decided to open a US dollar bank account to make deposits and write cheques. Even though I’ve banked at this branch for many years, I was told that I had to sit down with an account manager to do this … and was introduced to a young woman who appeared to be in her late 20s or early 30s, let’s call her Mary Smith.
“Mr. Richards, we have several different plans for US dollar accounts” Mary began. “To ensure that I open the right one for you, how many deposits and cheques are you likely to make in the average month and what kind of balance do you expect to maintain in the account.”
The paperwork wasn’t onerous and we were through in about 5 minutes. And that’s where it got interesting.
What else can I help you with?
After I’d finished signing all the forms, Mary said:
“Mr. Richards, is there anything else can I help you with, perhaps a line of credit or we could check to see if you can reduce your bank fees by switching to a different type of account?”
And then she did what everyone should do after asking that kind of question, she sat back and waited for me to respond … after a couple of seconds I had no choice but to fill the vacuum.
“Thanks for the suggestion, Mary” I said “ and I may take you up on your offer to look at my bank account at some point down the road, but I have an appointment in 10 minutes I have to head off to.”
The “net promoter question” in action
“That’s not a problem at all” was the answer. “Do you have two quick minutes just to touch on a couple of final things?”
When I answered yes, Mary went on:
“You may get a follow-up call about our appointment today, with seven or eight questions. The most important question is one that asks if you’d feel comfortable recommending me to a friend on a scale from 0 to 10. It’s important to note that 10, the top score, doesn’t mean I was perfect, just that I fully met your needs. And I hope that based on our conversation, if you do get that call you’ll feel comfortable giving me a 10.”
Again, she paused and waited for my response. There was no way I could turn Mary down. And indeed, if I’d gotten that follow-up call, I would have given her a 10 just on her interest and enthusiasm alone.
As an aside, this bank uses something called the “net promoter question” to measure satisfaction. I’ve written in the past about this as the best vehicle to measure satisfaction and loyalty. Used by organizations like Apple, Schwab and American Express, it asks: From 0 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend this individual to a friend or colleague?
Start with the 9’s and 10’s (the promoters), subtract the scores from 0 to 6 (the detractors) and you get a “net promoter score” that is highly predictive of satisfaction and loyalty; indeed, several leading banks now use this to help determine their frontline staff’s bonus.
That conversation with Mary actually crystallized my thinking on the positive job she’d done. The key of course is that she communicated real concern and interest; we’ve all had similar requests from service departments at auto dealers and muffler shops, if I get a request for a 10 after getting ho-hum, indifferent service, it’s not going to turn a 6 into a 10, in fact it may even reduce it to a 5.
“I’d like to give you two cards”
Then Mary finished with one last request: “I’d like to give you two of my business cards” she said handing me two cards. “I hope you’ll use the first card to put my information into your contact management system should there be anything you want to discuss in future. And the reason that I’m giving you the second card is in case you have a friend or family member who is having problems or needs some help on any aspect of their banking needs.”
So there you have it – no muss, no fuss, no pressure – but she’d planted the seed should I be talking to anyone who’s run into a roadblock at their bank.
Mary’s impressive performance didn’t end there, though. When I got back to my office, there was an email thanking me for taking the time to meet with her. And about four weeks later I got a voicemail from Mary reminding me that anytime I’d like to review my existing account, simply to let her know.
What does it take to get that kind of motivation?
I was intrigued and impressed by our interaction. I called Mary and explained that I’ve worked in the industry for many years (In the small world category, it turns out that one of her colleagues had a copy of my book Getting Clients Keeping Clients, with its prominent green cover.) I asked Mary how long she’d been with the bank and, without getting into too many details, a bit about how she’s compensated.
It turns out that Mary had started working in the branch during her third year of university and after four years had successfully applied for a position as account manager, a role that she’s been in for three years. Mary was quite forthright about her compensation: Her base is $44,000 but if she hits all her targets for sales and customer satisfaction she can make another $10,000. She said that it’s unlikely that she’s going to get all of that bonus, but had earned $5,000 last year and is aiming to earn $7,500 this year.
This also provides a lesson on the power of the right variable incentives. This isn’t to suggest that money is the only thing that matters, far from it – if people don’t like their job and the people they work with, it’s unlikely that the prospect of a $10,000 bonus will get them excited. But if the folks on your team fundamentally enjoy what they do, this demonstrates the power of well-targeted incentives, structured so people feel that earning that bonus is within their control.
It also reminds us that we can learn from everyone we deal with – from the positive attitude of the staff at Starbucks to the curiosity and enthusiasm of young folks just starting in the business. And Indeed many of us could take lessons from that 29 year old account manager about customer focus, checking for satisfaction, planting the seed for referrals and disciplined follow-up.
If you’re interested in reading more about how to apply the net promoter question to your business, click here.
Copyright © ClientInsights.ca
Tags: Appointment, Bank Fees, Business South, Dollar Accounts, Dollar Bank, Encounter, Incentives, Leading Bank, Mary Smith, Mr Richards, Net Promoter, Paperwork, Referrals, Satisfaction, Simple Request, South Of The Border, Suggestion, Vacuum, Young Woman
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Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
At some point, most advisors have been told that they should concentrate their efforts on attracting clients in a defined niche. There are three reasons for this:
• You’ll build unique expertise in this group’s needs; as a “specialist” in its challenges, you’ll be able to deliver outstanding value that generalists can’t match.
• Depending on the group, you can build credibility and profile by being interviewed in industry publications, writing articles and speaking at their industry events.
• By focusing on a defined niche, you become the “safe choice” within that group and will see many more referrals as a result
Today’s article on how to find your perfect niche is a follow-up to “From 0 to 100 clients in 18 months,” a guest article last month by U.S. industry expert Katherine Vessenes, which described how she attracted over 100 clients, each of whom paid an annual planning fee of $1200 or more.
Vessenes’ advice on finding your perfect niche is below; to read the first article on how she went from 0 to 100 fee-paying clients, click here:
The Perfect Niche: By Katherine Vessenes, JD, CFP®, RFC
When people ask me how did you manage to bring on over 100 new clients in 18 months, in a brand new market, I tell them there were a lot of factors—but close to the top of the list is finding the perfect niche.
In working with multimillion-dollar advisors I noticed most of them had clearly defined niches. They knew who their ideal client was and they had a marketing plan that worked for their perfect prospect. Another thing became apparent to me early on—only two of the many multi-million dollar advisors we have assisted, had thoughtfully and systematically pursued their niche in a business-like manner!
Here is what I mean—only two advisors took the time and energy to think about a niche that would be a good fit, and then went about testing the market to see if it would work. One of them (I’ll call him Ted from Seattle) actually tested three different niches. Two were complete bombs until he settled on the one that still works for him 25 years later.
All the other advisors just fell into their niches. Lucky for them, they were in the right place at the right time for their target group. They started working with employees of the local utility company, professors at the U, or Boeing employees and one good experience led to another—pretty soon a good portion of their new business came from referrals in their niche.
I too, tested out a number of different niches and learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work:
What didn’t work for us or lessons from the trenches:
Clients who are too far from us in social class, culture, education and self-confidence.
One of the niches we experimented with involved members of a local Evangelical church in the Midwest. The church is huge and if the niche worked, it would have kept us busy indefinitely. We even had a Biblically responsible mutual fund that we thought would appeal to this group.
Even though my own spiritual beliefs were not too far from this group, I was much different in the other categories: with my law degree and CFP, I had much more education than the prospects did. In fact, I didn’t even know another woman out of the thousands of attendees of this church who had a doctorate degree. I didn’t hang out with this group socially and once you’ve been legal counsel to a former US president and you’ve started your own business, you don’t lack in the self-confidence department, either. Or maybe it was just my sassy Texas heritage leaking through.
Don’t get me wrong. These were all kind, lovely people. In fact you would probably want your children marrying them. There was just one problem—they were so far from my personality, background and character, we just never jelled.
So you can imagine how maddening it was for me to watch some of the women refuse to make any decisions about their money, unless their husbands gave them the nod of approval. (Inside I am thinking: “Honey you can do this. You are smart and educated! This is the reason we got the vote. It is your money—you can make the decisions!”)
Eventually it became clear to me that my big Texas personality was just too much for the laid-back Midwest woman. No matter how much I tried to “pull it in” I was never going to fit in with this group. Short of moving back to Austin, I had to admit this niche was not a good fit, cut my losses and move on.
Today we look for clients who do fit with our social class, culture, education and self-confidence. They are not fabulously wealthy. In fact, they made their money the same way we did—by getting a good education and then working hard.
All of our clients have doctorate degrees. They actually like that I have a lot of education—it means something to them and they are not intimidated by it. They recognize that they may be very smart in their area of expertise, but they know little about finances and they appreciate our experience and depth of knowledge.
We also seem to fit socially. Many of them will ask me to meet them for social events and I have made some deep friendships in a state where previous to opening the office here, I only knew two people: my daughter and son-in-law.
Older clients, approaching retirement
Yes, I know this is heresy and many people love this as a niche—I am just saying it didn’t work for us. The reason most advisors like this market is this is where the money is—these folks have accumulated more wealth, so it works out great for a business model that is based on AUM.
Older clients who are pre-retirement didn’t work for us for a couple of reasons: first, because our market is highly educated, many prospects in this category already had their own advisors and weren’t in enough pain to switch to a new one. Secondly, they had no intention of changing their lifestyle so they could save the money they needed for retirement. Typically they were in houses that were too expensive for them, had high amounts of debt, or were spending a fortune putting kids through schools they couldn’t afford. In fact, most had so messed up their finances, there wasn’t enough time for me to fix them between now and their retirement date.
We found we work well with younger clients who are just moving into their careers. Yes, this may seem like heresy, too, because I was taught when I started in the business it was important to find clients who were between 10 years younger and 10 years older than the advisor. Although I refuse to put my birth certificate up on line, many of these clients are younger than me, a lot younger.
This actually works out great—they have lots of problems and lots of pain. That means there are many ways we can help them and they are very grateful. It also means we can help them set up a good savings strategy now that will benefit them for their entire life. I feel like we are making a difference in every case.
A few of our clients have asked me how long I will be working as an advisor—I tell them the truth—I will be doing this until I am 95—they will be retired long before me. The reason is, this is so much more fun than retirement, I can’t imagine quitting.
Folks who couldn’t save
Another niche we experimented with was college funding—we looked for parents who wanted a cost effective way to put their kids through school. Yes, this is another niche that works great for some advisors—but it didn’t for us.
One of the things we found was this group, even in the most affluent suburbs, was really struggling financially. They weren’t saving for retirement and they certainly didn’t have any money for college funding. We did some fabulous and time consuming college funding plans—helped these guys get more financial aid, changed a lot of lives and didn’t make any money. At least some students will finish college with a lot less debt—which makes me feel better about the work we did.
Our ideal client likes to live on less than they make. In fact many of our two-earner households live on one salary and bank the rest. We find the younger the client, the more likely they will be good savers. They are not wealthy now, but if they continue with our plan, they will be.
What did work for us: The Water Cooler effect at work
We found it was imperative that our clients not only worked for the same company, but they were physically situated in the same building. Being in the same building turned out to be a far bigger factor than I first realized. I think this group eats together in the lunchroom every day and hang out in between meetings. Eventually they must run out of things to talk about—and that’s when our name comes up.
This is one of the key factors I encourage advisors to consider when selecting a new niche. This worked much better for us than college funding—because even though that niche had all the students attending the same school, the parents (our prospects) worked for countless different companies. In general, the parents didn’t hang out together. If they did hang out, they didn’t spend enough time for the conversation to turn to finances. I surmised that it takes time and trust for people to start talking about your services.
Another advantage of having them work for the same company is it saves us a lot of time in getting up to speed on different benefit plans. I can now rattle off the matching limits and disability plans of the biggest employers in our niche. We have so many clients there, this information comes naturally and saves us from having to reinvent the wheel with each new client. It makes us look like the experts we are—because we know their plans backwards and forwards.
One last comment about the pronunciation of the word “niche”. Being from Texas, loving big hair and lots of bling, I don’t use the frou-frou pronunciation I hear from my more educated friends around the country. They pronounce the word: NEESH.
I much prefer NITCH—because it rhymes with itch and that is what we are trying to do for our clients—find the itch and then scratch it for them.
Katherine Vessenes, JD, CFP®, RFC, is one of the top Practice Management consultants for financial advisors. The creator of the No-Sell Sale®, she is considered the country’s leading practice management consultant on building a multimillion-dollar business (Dearborn) and the country’s best known authority on the legal and ethical issues of financial advisors (Bloomberg). She has her own practice where she follows the advice she gives other advisors. She can be reached at: 952−401−1045, www.vestmentadvisors.com or email@example.com
© 2013 Katherine Vessenes. Permission to reprint required.
Tags: Advice, Cfp, Challenges, Credibility, Generalists, Guest Article, Industry Expert, Industry Publications, Jd, Katherine Vessenes, Marketing Plan, Match, Multimillion Dollar, Niche, Niches, People, Profile, Referrals, Rfc, Water Cooler
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Thursday, February 14th, 2013
With the first month of 2013 behind us, many of those resolutions at the beginning of January relating to diet, weight or exercise are distant memories. That’s why this might be an opportune time to consider a new resolution for 2013 relating to your business – and that’s to make this the year that you get really serious about bringing new clients on board.
I was reminded of this by two different conversations last fall from two different branch managers frustrated by the lack of prospecting activity among the advisors in their branches. There was a consistent theme to their comments: While the large majority of advisors do a reasonably good job of communicating with existing clients, other than hoping for referrals from their client base, most advisors in their branches displayed little emphasis on prospecting activity and on attracting new clients.
In conversations with advisors, there are four primary reasons for the lack of prospecting focus: loss of confidence, lack of priority, no clear prospecting plan and failure to establish a prospecting routine. Let’s talk about what you can do in 2013 to address each of these.
When talking to potential clients, you need to believe that prospects would be better off working with you than where they are now or with other advisors. But for prospects to believe that, first you have feel that way.
I’ve talked to advisors who lack that fundamental conviction and are questioning the value they provide to their clients. I recently spoke with an advisor who feels that over the past fifteen years she’s let clients down, as tough markets have meant that plans that clients had back then have had to be adjusted downwards, with retirements postponed, holidays deferred and lifestyles scaled back.
The first necessary condition to be develop prospecting momentum is to have the gut feeling that prospects would be fortunate to work with you. If you don’t have that confidence, then you’re unlikely to be successful in developing prospecting momentum. Something that helped one advisor was adding an agenda item to his Monday morning team meetings, in which someone shares an experience from the previous week where a client thanked them for the job they’d done or the difference they’d made. Alternatively, they select a plan update they’ve reviewed the week before and talk about the how the client is better off as a result of the decisions that were made.
When most advisors entered the business, prospecting was a survival issue — if you weren’t successful in attracting new clients, your career in the industry would be a short one. This is a stark contrast to today’s mindset — while most advisors know they should prospect, many see this as a “nice to do” activity rather than a critical issue for the health of their businesses.
Tags: Branch Managers, Breakthrough Year, Confidence, Consistent Theme, Conversations, Conviction, Distant Memories, Fifteen Years, Good Job, Gut Feeling, Lifestyles, Momentum, Necessary Condition, New Resolution, Opportune Time, Priority, Prospects, Referrals, Resolutions, Retirements
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Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
by Stephen Wershing, The Client Driven Practice
Financial advisors work hard to develop a value proposition that will get the attention of prospective clients. Focusing on how well your slogan or elevator speech attracts attention, though, can backfire.
How you describe yourself, whether it be verbally or through a brochure or your website, is one of the key elements in promoting your brand. It needs to be effective in prompting questions or conversation about what your practice has to offer. Ideally, it will capture the interests of prospective clients in your niche. And it will do nothing for people outside that target market. If that value proposition is well-crafted it will actually turn people away from your practice if they are not in your niche.
I was reminded of this by Eric Schwartz, CEO of Cambridge Investment Research, in a talk he gave a couple months ago. We suspect it may have been said by legendary marketing guru Al Ries. The only direct reference I can find is by William Arruda, but if you have not read anything by Ries on branding it is worth your time.
Many financial advisors I work with are challenged when narrowing their message. The whole point, they believe, is to attract new clients. Why say something that may turn away most of the people you talk to? But the desire to say something that everyone finds attractive hurts your brand because it takes the emphasis off of what is special about what you have to offer a particular group of people.
Brands that attract the right clients and generate referrals build a reputation. Fuzzy, general, unfocused branding messages are not memorable. An effective brand will help you build a reputation that will assist people in remembering you when the right situation comes along.
Let’s say you target veterinarians. You have developed an expertise in the financial challenge of running an animal hospital. You understand how to value a veterinary practice and are familiar with the terms and limitations of succession agreements when those practices get sold. Your brand – what people say about you – would emphasize that unique knowledge. So when you describe the value of what you do, you would talk about that expertise. If the person you were talking to was not a veterinarian, they would probably have no interest at all in discussing it further.
And that’s okay. Because if a veterinarian 10 years from selling his practice talks to you and the advisor who talks about his “special relationship with his clients” and another who talks about her “sophisticated investment management strategy”, who do you think will win the client?
Branding is not about attracting the most clients, it is about attracting the right clients. Get comfortable with describing your practice in a way that most of the population will have no interest in. Then you can focus on building a reputation that your ideal prospects will have a lot of interest in.
Tags: Al Ries, Animal Hospital, Brochure, Driven Practice, Elevator Speech, Financial Advisors, Financial Challenge, Guru Al Ries, Investment Research, Niche, Promoting Your Brand, Prospective Clients, Referrals, Reputation, Slogan, Succession, Target Market, Value Proposition, Veterinarians, Veterinary Practice, William Arruda
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Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
by Norm Trainor, The Covenant Group
Some of the most valuable business prospects are already your clients. Because you have already succeeded in converting existing clients, a major portion of the marketing process has been completed. It allows you to build upon your past successes and the fact that the existing clients are already familiar with your work.
Get information on past actions for future success
To get insight into how you can do that, however, you must undergo periodic reviews. As I explained in a recent presentation at the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors’ Annual Conference (NAIFA), this is a six-step process and should be part of a regular follow-up schedule that you maintain for each of your clients.
Explain to your clients that you like to conduct periodic reviews, and send an invitation between two and four weeks ahead of when you would like to meet. Call them to establish a concrete date and time, and then send a meeting agenda a week before this date. Sharing an outline for the meeting will make it a more constructive discussion for you and the client and will allow both of you to organize your thoughts ahead of time. Telephone once again to confirm that your client received the agenda and ask if there are any questions he or she would like to ask ahead of time or that should be covered in more detail during the meeting. Anthony Lam delves deeper into the simple steps you can take before a meeting here.
When you meet with the client, you can ask for feedback on your performance and for suggestions of how you can provide added value. This is a great opportunity to have your clients reaffirm their satisfaction with your service and confidence in your abilities. The meeting will be a primer not only for securing future sales — it can also be a great transition as you ask for referrals and introductions. At that point, describe who your ideal prospect is, and guide the client through a few questions to help him or her identify potential leads. Now the client will be primed for you to ask for a personal introduction (a much more effective tactic than cold-calling referrals).
In both the introduction-request and review processes, following up with your client is essential. Let him or her know how it goes with the prospects they identified. Similarly, contact clients with whom you conduct reviews to A) thank them for their time and feedback, and B) let them know what course of action you plan to take as a result of their critiques and/or suggestions.
As founder, president and CEO of The Covenant Group, Norm Trainor is often seen as the face of the company and its leading financial advisor training programs. He has penned several best-selling books, articles and other works with entrepreneurs and financial advisors to show them how they can become more valuable to their clients, boost productivity and, ultimately, achieve the success they desire.
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Tags: Anthony Lam, Business Prospects, Confidence, Covenant Group, Future Sales, Insight, Insurance, Introductions, Invitation, Marketing Process, Meeting Agenda, National Association Of Insurance And Financial Advisors, Norm Trainor, Referrals, Satisfaction, Simple Steps, Six Step, Successes, Time Telephone, Transition
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Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
by Stephen Wershing, The Client Drive Practice
I spend a lot of time coaching advisors on how to attract referrals. Let me take a minute and discuss what to do when you receive one.
- Contact them promptly. It should be obvious and go without saying, but you would be surprised that some advisors receive a name and number from a client and put off contacting them. Your client probably mentioned you because their friend expressed a challenge they were dealing with right now. Don’t waste time. Make that phone call a priority.
- Ask what they need. When you reach the referral, after introducing yourself and referencing the client who recommended you, find out what’s on their mind. Give them an opportunity to describe what problem they have and what kind of solution they look for. Put the spotlight on them.
- Lead with your value proposition. Once the referral has described their challenge, give them your elevator pitch. You should be in the habit of starting every conversation about your practice with it.
- Compare their need to your unique skill. If things go well, and the referral was sent to you because of the special solution or expertise you represent, it will be clear to the referral that what you do answers the problem they just described.
- Set the appointment. Don’t waste time on the phone doing fact gathering or presenting. If you have successfully connected their need to your special skill, the next step is to get together.
- Send your client a thank you note. Express your gratitude for their vote of confidence. Your client takes the risk by sending a friend to you – honor it. Update them on the status of your conversation without breaching confidences. Let your client know that you spoke to the person that they sent and you have scheduled an appointment, or didn’t. Send them a thank you regardless of whether the referral went anywhere or not. My preference is to hand write a card and send by mail. People don’t do that very often anymore, so it is much more special than an e-mail. Do it the same day you speak with the referral.
- Next time you see the client who sent you the referral, ask about the circumstances that led to it. It leads your client to relive the situation, and makes it more likely they will make another referral in the same situation. Knowing what the client said will give you valuable information about what the client values and how to teach other clients to do the same. It gives you a chance to confirm that they understand your value proposition and teaches you how they describe it. It enables you to discover a new trigger phrases that prompted your client to refer.
Receiving referrals is more than an opportunity to bring in a new client. It is an opportunity to reward a referror with gratitude. It is an opportunity to learn more about when clients refer, which helps you attract more. It reinforces your differentiator, and drives it further into the clients brain. And all of this helps lead to more referrals.
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Tags: Appointment, Contact, Elevator Pitch, Express, Gratitude, Habit, Lot, Mail, Opportunity, People, Phone Call, Preference, Priority, Referral, Referrals, Risk, Spotlight, Value Proposition, Vote Of Confidence, Waste Time
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Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
by Shauna Trainor, The Covenant Group
Marketing your organization has many interconnected components. The advertisements you place in print publications must carry a similar message to those you display online as well as the blog posts, newspaper columns or newsletters you write. In this marketing mix, we sometimes forget about one of the most powerful channels: Word of mouth.
Recommendations, referrals, and introductions from the clients you currently serve can significantly impact your circles of influence. Because referred prospects are typically in the same social or financial groups as your existing clients, the practice of gaining introductions can elevate your access to your ideal client. It may also shorten the lead vetting process, as those making the referral are familiar with your areas of expertise and services.
Have you incorporated a referral process into your marketing strategy? How do you use your client capital to gain access to desirable prospects?
Cold calling may result in a few sales leads, but it is a time-intensive process and can be less effective than asking current clients to supply names of or even make introductions to the kind of people you want to attract. In order to boost the number of prospects you put into the marketing pipeline, create a standard process that you and your employees can follow when asking to be introduced to ideal clients.
At The Covenant Group, we encourage entrepreneurs to not only guide clients through the referral process, but request personal introductions. Referrals can sometimes be passive. The way you deliver service will impact your ability to secure personal introductions, rather than referrals of names to add to a cold-calling list. When a client actually introduces you to an acquaintance or business associate, whether by email, letter or in person, it is further affirmation of that person’s trust in your abilities, and can assist in closing the sales cycle with a new prospect.
In client meetings, discuss how they feel about your services. Ask them to affirm their confidence in you and describe the value that they see in the relationship. Then outline your ideal clients (this helps the person you are talking to think about high-quality prospects) and ask him or her a few questions to jog memory of people who may fit this profile. As they start to think of potential referrals, you can ask for an introduction. Arrange a meeting that will make it easy for the client to introduce you. Afterward, be sure to thank the client and keep him or her up-to-date about how the meeting and new relationship progresses.
Shauna Trainor is The Covenant Group’s Marketing Manager. She focuses on The Covenant Group’s own marketing strategy and also helps entrepreneurs through financial advisor training to leverage social media and other technology to spread the word about their services and practices and build relationships.
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Tags: Acquaintance, Advertisements, Affirmation, Business Associate, Circles, Cold Calling, Covenant Group, Financial Groups, Marketing Organization, Marketing Strategy, New Prospect, Personal Introductions, Pipeline, Print Publications, Prospects, Referral Marketing, Referrals, Sales Leads, Shauna, Word Of Mouth
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Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
by Dan Richards, ClientInsights.ca
Research shows that only 25% of clients are truly “engaged” as opposed to merely satisfied – and those engaged clients are not only the most loyal and satisfied but also provide almost all referrals.
Today’s article by Julie Littlechild of Advisor Impact lays out an Engagement Roadmap, outlining the specific steps to turn client satisfaction into engagement. It focuses on four specific steps that are highly correlated with engaged clients:
1. Seek structured feedback
2. Ensure you have the right client fit
3. Create deeper connections
4. Take the lead in helping clients manage their financial lives
Click to read the full article:
Wednesday, October 17th, 2012
by Stephen Wershing, Client Driven Practice
This will be the first of a series of posts on sessions from this year’s FPA Experience, held last week in San Antonio, TX.
Julie Littlechild, author of several studies on client attitudes and referral behaviors including Anatomy of the Referral, presented “Cracking The Referral Code” including new data soon to be released in this year’s update of Anatomy. In this program Littlechild explains that to seriously drive referrals we need to get away from the “cult of satisfaction” and to look more deeply at what drives client loyalty.
In her studies, she sorts clients into one of four categories from Disgruntled to Engaged. It is important to understand the drivers that lead clients into each of the groups because, while overall satisfaction ratings are not widely distributed, all referrals come from the Engaged group. There is a lot of behavior that client satisfaction simply cannot explain. Advisors fail to attract referrals because they have several mistaken assumptions about client satisfaction:
· Satisfaction is loyalty
· If I focus on satisfaction referrals will follow
· Clients refer because they want to help my business grow
Focusing on satisfaction is a dead end because it is too broad. Engaged clients, hence referral sources, require a closer connection. They require a partnership with the advisor. And partnership arises from several aspects of the relationship including:
· Shared values
· Going beyond the portfolio
· Involving family
· Giving clients a voice
The feeling of partnership can be enhanced by focusing on clients that have shared values. While this is obvious it is often overlooked. It is a big component of “fit.” While Littlechild found that 89% of advisors say fit is important, only 23% have actually incorporated it into their client acceptance processes.
Giving the client a voice is very important as well. Littlechild’s most current data show that 64% of clients believe that an opportunity to provide feedback is critical.
She finds that we can capture much more of the “low hanging fruit” of referrals by paying closer attention to those activities that build partnership with clients. The payoff, of course, can be substantial. The study revealed that 67% of clients would make a referral if they heard a friend describe a challenge they believe their advisor could address, even if that friend did not explicitly ask to be referred.
Look more deeply at your relationship with clients. Go beyond satisfaction and you can start generating the referrals you hope for.
I will discuss fit in my next post, reporting on Tom Reimer’s presentation on that topic.
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Tags: Anatomy, Attitudes, Client Acceptance, Client Loyalty, Client Satisfaction, Closer Connection, Cult, Driven Practice, Fpa, Involving Family, Julie Littlechild, Mistaken Assumptions, Partnership, Referral Code, Referral Sources, Referrals, San Antonio Tx, Satisfaction Ratings, Sessions, Sorts
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