My youngest daughter just started her basketball season. She was very nervous, as she did not know her teammates and was questioning her own skills. The head coach and I really focused on making the practice fun and getting each of the girls engaged. Later that night, the head coach sent out a long e-mail to the parents. It talked about what we covered at practice, and then named each girl and outlined a great thing they did. I was impressed and the response from the parents was overwhelming. Better yet, the girls felt good about themselves and are excited for the next practice. He plans on doing it every week. It is incredible the response you can get from delivering ongoing valuable information.
While many brokers are breathing a sigh of relief that the economic turmoil and wild weather-related claims issues of 2013 are in the rear view mirror, many questions remain about how they are going to improve in 2014. Most want to improve organic growth, but they are not sure how to do it. I will tell you from observing successful firms, there is not just one factor, but a combination of items that fuels the growth. First, one needs to look at what employer groups are looking for from their broker. We do surveys to determine a group’s needs, and while I’ve blogged about this in the past, it’s worth another mention. Over 2,000 US employers weigh in to tell us what they are looking for from their brokers.
One of the key factors is the delivery of valuable information. Overwhelmingly, not only are employers looking for useful information from their broker, but they are now expecting monthly communication. That’s the minimum. Monthly. This is one area of the survey we have seen expectations rise. As you look to your own firm, how often do you send information out and how relevant is it? The delivery of continual valuable information will position you for greater organic growth in 2014.
In our survey of brokers, I can tell you that their hearts are in the right place, but execution is not where it should be. While brokers try to send information out monthly, the reality of day-to-day activities get in the way. Reread the last sentence because it is a big opportunity for you.
Take a look at your prospecting. When I was a broker, I would go after a group hard. If I did not close the deal (clearly they were idiots for not seeing the benefits of working with me!), I would move on to the next prospect. Eventually I might circle back to give it another shot, but I would not stay in contact with them in the interim. Brokers often take the same path. Because we have a book to service, as well as sell, keeping older prospects warm is never high on the priority list. This is a missed opportunity. Imagine if the prospect got timely, updated relevant information from you twice a month for six months. Most likely, it would be better than what their current broker is offering. How likely is it that the prospect will take your call in the near future? After providing value for 6 months, how much more receptive will they be in working with you?
The concept I’m referring to is called drip marketing. Successful brokerages are doing it to stay in front of people and to keep the longer-term prospects in their pipelines engaged. It cultivates viable prospects and increases the chance of closing the deal long term. So why aren’t more firms doing it? The excuses are endless – “Too busy,”“Don’t know what to send,” “Not a writer,” or “My brokerage should be doing it.” Believe me I get it, I’ve said the same things myself. But here is the good news. If you have Broker Briefcase (which the far majority reading this does), you can set up an elaborate communications campaign to communicate with each of your prospects as often as you want … and it will only take you 5 minutes. That’s right … 5 minutes.
Most brokers think it is a great idea but fail at execution. What they do not realize is how easy it is to do. Dispensing valuable information on a continual basis can have a huge impact simply due to the law of large numbers. If you review all of the prospect meetings you’ve had over the last 12 months it’s likely the close ratio is low because they have already seen you in action and still stayed with their existing broker. The reason for the group’s supposed loyalty? They have not felt or seen the proven value that you bring to the table. Hit them all hard with drip marketing and call them in six months. The great part about drip marketing is that if you pick up just one, the effort pays for itself many times over.
Take 5 minutes, set up some drip marketing and make some money.