Having the right contact strategy is an integral part of your overall marketing strategy, something that has been thrown into sharp contrast during the lockdown, and in a positive way your clients will be more receptive to different methods of communication.
The contact strategy relates to every aspect of your client communication from initial contact to ongoing updates and reviews and it is important that you are not that person who ‘only contacts me when they want to sell me something’.
Confirming the first meeting with an email or if appropriate a text message is a great way to start the relationship and demonstrates a level of professionalism to give your new prospective clients the right impression.
If it is possible to hold this first meeting face to face, social distancing not withstanding of course then you should do that and really this initial meeting is all about finding out if you are compatible and establishing a rapport. This is the foundation of trust and should not be rushed, this meeting enables you to understand what is important to your clients and the priorities attaching to their financial needs.
Following the initial meeting you should send them a fact-find to complete electronically ideally with an outline of the next steps.
Once they have become clients you should talk to them about the way in which you will communicate with them in future, this may take the form of a quarterly newsletter with relevant content, and/or occasional topical items or news snippets that you feel may be particularly relevant to your client’s personal or work background. As well as this you should establish an annual review process as well as any relevant dates that you may need to plan for, like special events or occasions, like weddings, childbirth etc.
The ongoing contact strategy shouldn’t look too contrived as this will just look manipulative but it should be there because the way you get more business is to ensure that your name is the one that your client thinks of when they have a financial need or a friend asks for a recommendation.
This may all sound intensive and it can be, and the problem is it is not sustainable for all your clients and this is where client categorisation and segmentation come in. When you get the point where maintaining this level of contact with your clients become too time consuming you must segment your client bank.
This can be as simple or as complicated as you wish, just find a system that works for you. The idea is straightforward, create a structured way of managing your clients by segmenting them into categories that will demand different levels of service depending on the value to your practice. To start with you may just create three levels, A, B & C for example, you then need to define Each category.
If you get the categorisation right approximately 20% of your client bank will fall into the A category, simply put this part of your client bank will get the best service because the reality is that they are likely to contribute most of your practice income.
The criteria for this category may be something like:
- Combined household income above £50,000
- Assets more than £500,000
- Investment/premium expenditure with your practice more than £200 pm
- Likely potential (this is subjective)
The C category in contrast will be opposite to this, low premium income, low household income and assets, still a client but they would warrant a lower level of service.
Everyone else will fall into the B category.
The service levels you define for each category will then ensure that you focus your time in the most profitable part of your practice; for example, for your A category you might establish a service criteria like this:
- Quarterly newsletter
- Full annual or six-monthly review depending on the investment
- Personalised reports
- Regular communication
- Return calls/emails within 2 hours
Again, in contrast your C category may have a service level that looks like this:
- Annual review
- Where possible they come to you
- Return calls/emails within 24 hours
As your practice grows you will need to keep refining your categorisation to continually improve the value in your practice by constantly reviewing your client bank.
Next time – Targeting the right clients
Kevin Paterson is director of sales & marketing at Ceta Insurance