5 Steps to Replicate Your Best Annuity Clients
January 21, 2015 by Gregory Bailey
Prospecting for new annuity clients is an important part of the job, but finding ideal clients – the ones you feel most comfortable working with and that create the most value for your business – can be challenging. Consider meeting the challenge head-on by adopting a “replication” strategy that focuses your efforts on prospects that most closely resemble your best clients. Combining what each client looks like on paper with the direct feedback you receive from a focused conversation will help you create the model annuity client profile and expand your business to include more of these choice individuals.
Step 1 – Identify and Clarify
Start off by going through your current customer base with a laser focus and identify the clients you’d like to have more of. This target annuity market should reflect the clients you serve best and to whom you’ve offered the most value. Who has been a long-time client or has been very engaged in their retirement planning and trusts your expertise and guidance?
Characterize your top clients by writing down their quantitative and qualitative features. Quantitative characteristics include net worth, assets, income, occupation, age, location and family circumstances. On the qualitative side, consider their personality, retirement and future outlook, lifestyle, and attitude toward professional advice and assistance.
This exercise will help you create a profile of your ideal client and will give you a clearer image of who can aid in accelerating and enhancing your overall client base. Once you have a sharper understanding of your most valuable clients, you can put a more effective plan in place to add similar clients to your business.
Step 2 – Begin the Conversation
Now that you have identified your most valuable clients, it’s time to hear directly from them, asking them why they chose you and how your relationship has been beneficial to them. It is important to be upfront with each client by telling them how much you enjoy working with them and appreciate their business and how you would like to help more individuals like them. Tell your clients you would truly value their feedback and opinion and if they wouldn’t mind meeting with you, you would like to discuss a couple things. First is to make sure you are on track and if there is anything else you could be doing to better serve their needs. Second is to brainstorm and collect ideas on how to reach more people like them and if they have suggestions on who may need your assistance.
An example conversation could be, “I’ve been reviewing my business and want to focus my energy on helping more clients like you. To accomplish this, I could really use your help and feedback. Would you be open to meeting to discuss a couple things? First, I want to make sure I am on track with you and learn how you feel about your annuity and the plan we’ve put in place. I would love to know if there is something I could be doing differently to provide what you value most in your insurance professional. Second, I could use your help in brainstorming how I could reach more people like you since I greatly value our relationship and your business.”
Gathering direct feedback from your most valued clients is a productive prospecting tool. Typically, clients who have had a positive experience with you will want others to have the same opportunity. It will also give you the chance to view your products from the client’s perspective. Sometimes the features that you think do not help drive the sale are actually more significant to the consumer.
Step 3 – Determine Your Value
When you sit down with your client, begin the interview by finding out more on how your partnership has helped them and why they trust you. You can spark ideas and get the conversation flowing by asking fact-finding questions like:
“How would you rate your experience with me?”
“Why did you initially choose my practice and have you received the service you expected or desired?”
“Were there issues or worries you had before you first came to my office that we’ve alleviated?”
Continue by reviewing their present situation and feelings. Ask if your current plan addresses the financial concerns that keep them awake at night, or whether it’s time to make adjustments.
It’s not only essential to understand the value of your relationship, but also the benefits that your clients feel the products and solutions you provide have brought to their lives. This can help you fine tune your approach when speaking to new clients. Perhaps they feel having guaranteed income in retirement is most important. Maybe it’s the advantage of income tax deferral.
If you have current clients who have already reached retirement, what are their attitudes and what choices have they made? Did they annuitize their contract or purchase an income rider? Did they have to make several adjustments along the way and are they happy with how this product helped them to accomplish their goals?
Gathering this information can help you not only improve and excel as an insurance professional but provide a deeper understanding of how your advice and solutions are perceived by those you serve.
Step 4 – Ask for Referrals
If your relationship is strong and your client is satisfied with your guidance and product recommendation, then you’ve earned the right to ask for referrals. Seek out contacts that fit within your target market. Ask specific questions.
“As you think about other individuals that you know professionally, does anyone come to mind that has mentioned they need assistance building a retirement strategy?”
“Do you know of anyone from your social circle that is nearing retirement and have shown concern about maintaining their same lifestyle or want to have assets to pass on to their loved ones?”
Asking focused questions will take less time and yield more referrals than simply asking clients to consider their entire contact list.
Step 5 – Move to the Introduction
If you’re able to secure referrals that match your profile, the next step is to ask your client to arrange an introduction. Cold calling them will most likely not be effective, so using your client to build a customized approach to their friend or colleague is an excellent way to make a successful connection.
Even if you don’t get referrals from your conversation, the information you collected can be extremely useful in your prospecting efforts.
Taking action to determine your best annuity clients can help you direct your marketing resources most efficiently and grow your business to be full of individuals you not only value working with, but to whom you offer the most value.