By Cheng Huann Yeoh
Crafting your client base can be a daunting task, but simplifying it to a system that’s easy to digest will streamline your search process. The “ABC” system that I use is interlinked, as each component depends on, and thrives off one another.
“Acquiring” adds names to your database while “branding” allows you to filter the database. And by “cultivating” the right-fit client, you’ll acquire your ideal contacts.
By mastering each component, you’ll broaden your client base, reach your target audience and cultivate meaningful client relationships. You can implement this strategy into your practice immediately!
The process of finding new prospects is the starting point of broadening your clientele. There are several various approaches to acquiring clients, but there are three modes that are most common:
1) The hunter is where we actively seek out who we want as a prospect. This is usually done through direct referral.
2) With the fisherman method, we use the attraction game. We put out relevant content, we’re in the place where our desired prospects are, and we’re waiting for the connection to happen.
3) The farmer is essentially growing the relationship with our current prospects. It’s providing the right environment to gain the trust and confidence with the objective of subsequently having the business relationship.
We need a combination of these three strategies to secure relevant names to our database. Knowing whom to prospect from that database relies heavily on the next component of the system.
Branding is about knowing whom you’re looking to work with. Start by describing your ideal client and getting into detail about their demographics. Delve deeper than just an ideal age range and gender. What does their household look like? Is there a specific occupational group you’d like to connect with? Think about all the characteristics of someone who you would like to build a long-term client relationship with and take note of it.
Second, determine what they need or will be interested in, and where to find them. For example, if your ideal clientele is lawyers, try to figure out their common interests and start showing up and connecting with them there.
Lastly, consider why they should work with you. Work to give them a solidified reason to choose you, rather than another advisor. Having these specifics will help you develop these relationships in the next component.
Establishing valuable client relationships is dependent on your dedication to tailoring your system to each type of client. The process of organizing your prospects and clients by their preferences is referred to as grouping in this ABC method. One way to group is to split the people in your contact list into four groups, based on the frequency of contact.
For example, you contact Group One every week, Group Two every two weeks, and so on. Group one consists of people who are center of influence, referrals or prospects considering proposals. You want to keep them hot, which is the reason for the high frequency of contact.
Group Two are prospects who are warm and who you may have a chance to do business with, within the next three months. Group Three are friends or prospects who are lukewarm, while Group Four are purely acquaintances or cold contacts.
Increasing contact with Groups Three and Four can be challenging, but if a prospect starts connecting with you emotionally, it’s a good indication that you can move them to Group One or Two instead. Descriptive words such as “like,” “love” and “dislike” signify they are comfortable discussing how they feel with you, which opens the door for increased contact and perhaps a business invitation, down the line.
Dedicate time to get to know your clients and make them feel comfortable with you. One good goal is to spend an hour a day connecting with your contacts, by texting. During this hour, try to text to at least six. You can discuss anything under the sun with all four groups, but business talk — sales and referrals — is only allowed for the first two groups. If there are any replies, you can choose to engage and have a conversation immediately or wait until later.
The most important part of the process is closing the conversation. An example can be, “You must be busy. Let’s catch up again some other time. I need to leave for my seminar. Talk again soon.” This part is essential as it gives the prospect the opportunity to reply when they have the chance to. By making your clients feel more like friends or colleagues, you’re cultivating a relationship and opening doors for long-term connections.
This weighted system of consistent engagement helps to instil discipline, and it provides a guide on how much time to spend on various groups. It brought a systematic approach to my engagement with prospects and clients, and I hope it does for you too.
About the Author
Cheng Huann Yeoh, ChFC, CLU, has been in the financial services profession since 2010, and is a nine-year MDRT member. His clients consist mainly of professionals, civil service personnel and business owners, where the focus are planning for retirement and family needs. In addition, Yeoh’s experience in agency management has helped several of his team members also qualify for MDRT.