In the article “Top Secrets of Top Producers,” I gave you three of the four keys to creating a winning edge in your practice. Now I want to give you the fourth: Average producers believe that once they have made a sale the process is over; top producers sell to sell again.
Top producers understand that once they have made the first sale, it is truly just the beginning of the relationship-building process that can lead to many repeat sales. You see, an amateur simply wants to make a sale, but a pro wants to create a client.
Develop a system
To turn “a sale” into a client for life, you need to have a system in place. I would like to share the system my good friend and MDRT member Bill Dowell uses with his customers to begin the client-development process. He calls it red-carpet service.
1. The first thing Bill does after closing a sale is send the client a personal, handwritten thank-you on a note card. He used to send a boilerplate, typewritten letter and got a nice response to that, but he gets a warmer response from his handwritten note.
2. During the first week, his office sends the client a staff services letter. This letter introduces the office’s customer service representative, describes the services she performs and the hours she works. Next, the letter introduces the marketing assistant; he’s responsible for anything involving the client-development process. Then, the letter introduces the trader. This in-house employee makes policy changes and subaccount changes within mutual funds and variable accounts.
3. At the beginning of the next week, the customer service rep sends the client a service letter. She lets the customer know the services she provides and hours she works. The letter goes on to assure the client that this way he gets the best possible service, allowing my friend, Bill, to do what he does best—meet with clients.
4. The client then get weekly status calls. The service rep calls him every week while the policy is in the underwriting process and keeps him abreast of any changes that may be going on during the underwriting or the account transfer process.
5. At the beginning of the third week, the client receives a logo gift with the name of the firm on it, with the hope that he will wear the shirt or hat around his affluent friends.
6. Once the policy is approved or the account is transferred, the client receives an account-approval letter. That letter gives him the toll-free number and web address of the underlying mutual fund carrier or life insurance company and the web address and office number of its office so, the letter informs him of four different ways to check his account values.
7. After the account-approval letter has been sent, the client receives a call from Bill to touch base and schedule the delivery of the policy. He makes sure there are no errors in the policy, and can also teach the client how to read his statement and get his values via the internet or telephone.
8. Staff then schedules the first quarter review for a client with investments, or in the case of life insurance, assures the client of an annual review. During this process, Bill’s office continues its regular firm mailings.
With red-carpet service you will find the client is extremely happy with the purchase he has made and is willing to give you referrals. These easy-to-implement steps will help you sell to sell again. You may not be interested in implementing all the steps of red-carpet service, but can you imagine competing with someone who has?
For the first three secrets to a winning edge, read “Top Secrets of Top Producers.”
This is an excerpt from a speech given at the 2005 MDRT Annual Meeting. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Andrew S. Martin, CLU, ChFC, president of First Protective, in Birmingham, Ala., is a Birmingham AIFA member and a four-year member of MDRT. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.