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Finding Prospects and Looking for Gold

By Dave Willis

Our sales ideas this month come from two people who together can boast of many years of experience in the insurance and financial services world. They offer suggestions for attracting prospects and looking for clients in your existing client base.

To attract prospects, use ads wisely.
I’ve been an advisor for 39 years in a small community in rural northern New England. When I started out, I was working with a general agent who had a penchant for using quotable quotes. This must have rubbed off on me, because a couple of years into the business, I started taking quotes and building ads around them.

But they weren’t just ads; they were “advertorials”—ads with content. I’d take a quote and write about how the quote relates to everyday life. For instance, a recent piece leads with, “Life insurance insures not only a life, it insures a way of life as well.” Then I write about people working hard to provide for their families and how important it is to ensure families can continue their way of life, regardless of what comes their way. It was a simple message that pointed to the need for, and the value of different types of protection.

The ads, or mini-columns as some people see them, appear in each issue of our weekly newspaper, which is read by nearly everyone in our town of 6,000, as well as by those in surrounding areas. The single-column piece includes my picture, contact and company information.

I’ve designed the ads to be thought-provoking and to encourage readers to call. And they do work. When clients call, they often mention something they’ve read in the ads—which is proof to me that they are being read and are making an impact.

At a Rotary meeting recently, I learned another thing about the ads—I need to update my too-many-years-old picture. That came to light when the editor was explaining the benefits of newspaper advertising. She said, “If you advertise with us, you’ll never grow old. Just look at Paul’s ads.” The universal and knowing laughter that resulted confirmed what I already knew: People see the ads and remember them.

Paul McGoldrick, CLU, ChFC, M.B.A.
Northeast Planning Associates Inc.
Littleton, N.H.
(Member, NAIFA-New Hampshire)

Look for gold in your backyard.
In my three-dozen years of working in marketing with top producers, I’ve been able to see advisors put into action many good ideas that help them sell more. One area involves prospecting for business within their existing client base. Here are ways advisors can find gold right in their own files.

First, contact your insureds and get an appointment to update their beneficiary designations. It’s a really good service and a chance to get in front of them and look for other needs they might have that insurance and other financial products can address.

Second, most companies have an accelerated death-benefit rider that could be added to a policy at no cost. This is another good reason to contact insureds—discussing how to add this rider to their existing policies. While you’re there, find out what’s going on in their lives and see how you can help.

Third, check your files for clients who have purchased insurance on their children and maintained it over the years. If the child is an adult, talk with the client about letting the child take over the policy. The child can demonstrate responsibility by taking over the policy, which frees up money that might be put to another use. The parents can readdress some of their own needs or, if they are grandparents now, can choose to purchase insurance on their grandchildren the same way they did on their children.

This is almost a natural lead-in into those adult children’s own homes. Meet with them and talk about whatever insurance needs they might have. If you’re a multiline agent, providing property and casualty coverage as well is a natural. Then follow up when they experience life changes—marry, have children, and so on. The trail is almost endless.

Tommy Doolittle, CLU, ChFC
Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co.
Jackson, Miss.
(Member, NAIFA-Jackson)

Dave Willis is a New Hampshire-based business writer and regular contributor to Advisor Today.


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