How to attract more high-quality prospects while significantly reducing your expenses

By Lew Nason

Insurance Pro Shop

With all of the bad news people are seeing today, are you seeing fewer and fewer responses (leads) from your current sales letters?
  • Has the response rate dropped for your ads in the newspaper?

  • Has the attendance to your dinner seminars gone down dramatically?

  • Are you getting fewer referrals from your current clients?

  • Are you having a harder time setting appointments from the few leads and referrals you do get?

  • Are you closing fewer and smaller sales with the people with whom you meet?
For the past three years, our phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from insurance agents, financial advisors, financial planners and investment brokers who are looking for more or better ways to attract new prospects to them. Or, they're calling us because they are contemplating getting into an entirely different market. The lead generation system they've used for years isn't working as well as it has in past years.

Unfortunately, the bad publicity, recession, home foreclosures, soaring gas prices, low interest rates and the losses in the stock market have really taken a toll on their business.

Are you having many of the same problems?

You have several choices if you want to increase your leads and sales.
    1. You can spend a lot more money to generate the leads you need. You can send out more sales letters, run more ads in the newspaper, and send out more invitations for your dinner seminars.

    2. You can spend your time and money learning an entirely new sales approach, and hope things will be better in a new or related market.

    3. You can buckle down, become a better marketer, and actually cut your lead generation costs, while increasing your sales.
Contrary to what most people would like to believe, there are no quick or magic prospecting solutions to overcoming the abundance of problems we are currently experiencing in the insurance and financial services industry. No matter what you are being told, there isn't a new, terrific, low-cost and incredibly simple idea in sales, lead generation or marketing that is going to get people to beat a pathway to your door.

And, just throwing more money into your current lead generation program, doesn't mean it will solve your problem, even if you do have the money to do so.

The most effective option for you to increase your leads and sales is to become better at marketing. If done properly, you can actually significantly reduce your lead costs while attracting more prospects to you and closing more sales.

Becoming a better marketer starts by understanding the following six fundamental marketing principles:
    1. People prefer to work with either people they already know and trust or a referral from someone they know and trust. Most people do not readily trust strangers, someone they have never heard of. And, why should they?

    2. People buy for their reasons, not your reasons. People want to know how they'll benefit from working with you. They are looking for real help with their financial problems. They want an advisor, not a salesperson. And, remember, people don't buy what they need, they buy what they want.

    3. Repeat business is more profitable than new business. Finding and attracting new prospects costs five to 10 times more money than getting your existing clients to buy more from you. The longer a person remains as your client, the more they are likely to buy more from you. You must pay special attention (keep in touch) to make sure that your new clients become repeat customers.

    4. Some customers and prospects are more profitable than others. You get 80 percent of your business from 20 percent of your clients. You need to spend the time to analyze what the top 20 percent of your clients have in common with each other to determine how you can find and attract more people like them.

    5. Differentiation is your key competitive advantage. You have to be able to help your clients and prospects to see and understand why they should buy from you instead of from your competition.

    6. Perceived value is your key to increasing your profitability. You must define your target market carefully. Work on delivering high-value services to that market, and then keep telling your clients and prospects about it.
By properly applying the above six marketing principles, you can dramatically decrease your lead generation expenses while significantly increasing the amount of prospects you will attract to your business. Here are some ideas we routinely use to help agents, advisors, planners and brokers to grow their business:

If people prefer to work with people they already know and trust or a referral from someone they know and trust, then you must find ways to help them to get to know and trust you. One of the best and most cost-efficient ways to accomplish this is to get attorneys, accountants, P&C agencies, civic organizations, churches, friends, relatives and clients to invite the people they know to a free educational workshop you are offering. Educational workshops are a great way to help people to get to know you, see the type of work you do, and begin to trust you. You don't have to provide anything but coffee, sodas and snacks. You can hold your event in a library, conference room, hotel meeting room, or civic center, and the total cost of the event will be less than $200.

People want to know how they'll benefit from working with you. People are looking for real help with their financial problems. Accordingly, the educational workshop should not be about you, your companies or your products. The topic of your workshop should somehow relate to improving their financial situation. Topics of interest for your workshops could include:
  • Reducing and eliminating consumer debt
  • Reducing income taxes for retirees
  • Living debt-free and truly wealthy
  • Avoiding the hidden income on Social Security income
Repeat business is much more profitable than new business. So, don't forget to invite your existing clients to your educational workshops. The cost of admission is to bring a friend.

Because some clients and prospects are more profitable than others, you'll want to make sure you are inviting people that are similar to your most profitable clients. Again, you need to spend the time to analyze what the top 20 percent of your clients have in common with each other, and then invite people who most resemble those clients.

Defining your competitive advantage. If you act like a salesperson and are always pushing insurance and investment products, then you are a salesperson in the prospect's mind. You are the same as every other insurance agent, financial advisor and financial planner out there. If you want to attract people to you, you must clearly show people how you are different. The difference is in how you can help a specific group of people (your niche) to solve the specific financial problems they face (your specialty).

The key to increasing your profitability is getting people to respond to you. Once you have defined your niche and have determined your specialty, you must continually deliver that special message to those people in everything you do. You want people to see you as the foremost expert in that area. Perception is reality!

That's why you need to:
  • Send out client newsletters every month.

  • Be a guest speaker on a local radio or television show.

  • Offer a free report in all of your correspondence.

  • Get your articles published in the local newspaper.

  • Send out public service announcements about your upcoming free educational workshop to the local newspaper.

  • Send out press releases about the success of your free educational workshops.

  • Send your press kit to local civic, religious, and business organizations to get speaking engagements.
The more people see and read about you, and begin to understand how you can help them, the more they'll respond to your offers.

Everything we are talking about here doesn't cost very much money to do. Using these fundamental marketing principles, you will dramatically improve your current lead generation and sales results within just a few weeks. The more you help people to get to know you, the more they'll begin to trust you and want to meet with you. Soon you'll be spending significantly less money on expensive direct mail, newspaper ads, and dinner seminars.

You'll be seeing more of the right people and be closing more sales and larger sales.

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