Sunday, July 15, 2007

Coaching And Referrals for the Rest of Us...

In response to my post on "coaching" one of you wrote:

''Clearly, there are lots of people that are poised and ready to help agents/registered reps get new clients... What I don't understand is why there aren't nearly as many people selling systems that help agents/registered reps to well for their clients (once they have them)... Any suggestions on where to look for this kind of advice?''

by Tammy de Leeuw

You are correct in noticing that the pitch for most systems sold to advisors and agents today is focused on the holy grail - "GETTING NEW CLIENTS."

This is due in great measure to a gross lack of training provided by companies.
Companies work like the devil to find "CLOSERS" and when they do, they often
throw them into deep water with a few slick corporate brochures to use as flotation devices. "SELL, SELL SELL!" is about the only advice some companies give new reps.

It was this dearth of training which led to a slew of gurus claiming that their path of enlightenment will turn you from a hopeless loser into a MILLION DOLLAR
PRODUCER in just a few short weeks!

Most of these pitches are geared toward new advisors
who are somewhat clueless about marketing and sales in general.

While attrition rates ensure that most advisors and agents will always
have to do some marketing, the time and effort required in getting
new people almost always means that your good clients are getting short shrift.

And that, of course, lessens your chance of becoming at least 80% referral-based,
which is WHAT YOU WANT.

Choosing A Coach or Trainer

One thing I do suggest, if you are looking into any training or coaching programs
is that you interview your potential coach before you sign a long term commitment.

Ask them how they can help you increase your referability and retain the clients
you already have. Read all articles and books they have written to find
out whether their focus is creating salesmen versus creating
referral-based service professionals.

Ask for letters of recommendationfrom companies or
individuals who have used their services.

A good COACH, versus a "sales trainer", will sit down with you and ask you
the right questions about your business. He or she will discuss longterm goals
and design a program which will help you play to your strengths and
mitigate your weaknesses. A good coach has both substance and style.

Though we sometimes forget, we are involved in a people-based business.
Effective training should help you improve yourself as a person,
help you discover how to find clients that "fit" your business, and give
you best practices suggestions.

Rather than being one-trick ponies, effective coaches and trainers
provide you with both psychological and practical insights, enabling you
to keep the clients you have and turn those clients into your
strongest advocates.

There are lots of trainers and coaches out there.
While I do recommend MAX BOLKA, I also invite you to tell me about
any other effective trainers or coaches you have used.
I will gladly present their information here.

The Dripping Faucet No One Minds

I have mentioned in this blog my firm belief that drip marketing is
essential to a successful practice.

Most advisors think of drip marketing only in terms of client aquisition,
but to me the most important use of drip marketing is
to retain your existing clients and turn them into your greatest allies.

A streamlined, effective drip marketing methodology
is your best defense against top-tier clients defecting
to other advisors.

It shouts loudly and clearly, "I care about the people I serve,"
and assures the clients that you are a stable, professional organization
that invests in its customers.

Increasing Your Referability

Recently, I was involved in a fender-bender and took my automobile to the insurance company-approved paint and body specialist.

Driving up, I noticed a big sign: "By referral only."
A few weeks before, I had seen the same notice posted at my mechanic's garage.

Intrigued, I asked the mechanic how he was able to get so many referrals.
Looking at me as if I had just asked him the world's dumbest question, he replied,
"I asked for them."

It seems painfully obvious, but often the best way to get something is just to
ask for it. An informal query I conducted amongst financial professionals led
me to believe that often they "have not because they ask not."

Ask yourself these questions to find out if you have the necessary
referral mindset.
  • Do I have an effective WRITTEN referral strategy in place or:
  • Do I just "wing it" when it comes to referrals?
  • When people compliment me do I record it for posterity or:
  • Do I just blush and say "Aw shucks," and ignore it?
  • Do I regularly ask my top-tier clients to recommend me?
  • Or do I just ASSUME that they will do it on their own?
Don't assume your good clients are going to automatically recommend
you to their friends and family. They usually won't.

You need to be the catalyst- by providing the very best client-centric
service you can, by staying in contact regularly and consistently, and
by ASKING them to become your advocates.

No comments: