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By John A. Ramos, CMFC


blank thumbAre you committed to a firm-wide, leadership-led, introduction-based marketing system, or are your people still surprised by their good fortune when given a referral every now and then?


As a leader in a financial services firm, imagine that every one of your associates began to add one solid client relationship every work week. Imagine that each of these client relationships represented business that would place each of those clients in the top 15 percent, by revenue, of your organization’s client base. What would this do for your business over the next 12 months? If it kept going, what would it do in the following 12 months?


Am I dreaming? Are you? If we aren’t, maybe we should be!


It is a leader’s responsibility to help associates implement and manage their marketing programs. Most of us would agree that receiving regular introductions is not only the simplest method of marketing, but it is also the most effective. Our associates should spend most of their time in front of clients — not searching for clients.


Multiply the number of licensed associates in your organization by the number of hours available in your average work week. Now ask yourself how it would affect your success if you could cause an incremental increase in the number of those hours spent in front of clients.


Whatever the potential of having an entire team that is competent and effective in obtaining proactive introductions, I believe that if you could quantify the result in advance, you would be eager to invest significant resources to get there.


In my years in our industry, I have never heard an associate object to meeting new clients through introductions. In fact, many have told me they would like to meet new clients solely through introductions. We might ask, then, why some associates don’t make it happen on a regular basis.


There is much written on the topics of referrals and introductions. And because I was curious about what is out there, I Googled “how to get referrals.” The search returned more than 5 million results. When I substituted the word “introductions” for referrals, Google returned 61,500 matches — still plenty of source material. Likewise, Googling the phrase “referral coaching,” yielded more than 8 million returns. If your associates aren’t making introductions happen regularly, it isn’t because they don’t have access to the right information on how to do it — not because the help isn’t available.


Still curious, I continued my query and Googled, “how to lead others to get introductions.” That search returned zero results. Zero. Then, I tried a number of permutations of the question substituting the word “manage” for “lead” and “salespeople” for “others” and “referrals” for “introductions.” Still zero returns!


My curiosity now piqued even further, I removed the words “introduction” and “referral” from my searches to see if there was anything about how to manage salespeople. 1 million results came back. .  This experience reinforced my view that there is a massive void in the insurance and financial services industry focused on helping managers lead their advisors on the subject of generating proactive introductions.


Marketing by Introductions: A Leadership Issue
If producers do not have an effective introduction-based marketing system in place, it’s not their fault; it’s the leader’s fault. And if support for leadership teams is not available, then we need to provide it. It’s really that simple.


If you do not have a system to help your people develop and maintain introduction activity, you shouldn’t have to build it from scratch. Unfortunately, as my Google searches indicate, there isn’t much out there for you. With all the attention given to recruiting and leading sales people, our industry has largely neglected to provide tools for you to use in supporting your team in this area. This, even though we all agree that obtaining introductions is a critical activity for producers.


If you are a leader in the financial services industry at any level, and your entire team is not using an introduction-based marketing system, you can start making a difference today. The process you need is fairly simple, though it does require commitment on your part. Here’s what you need:

 

  • Training and staff support. First, you must ensure that your staff has the skills and competencies required to effectively use an introduction-based marketing system. This involves training and support on the art of developing leads through introductions.
  • Systems to measure and track progress. Next, you need a way to measure and track progress. This will help productive staff and leadership to understand the flow, identify and eliminate blockages and bottlenecks and identify training and motivation needs.
  • Leadership support.Finally you need processes to support your leadership team in managing an introduction-based marketing system. This includes —
    • Procedures for the leadership team that can be replicated across your organization
    • Role assignments for leadership, productive and support teams so that they enforce and support each other
    • Training on the tracking system
    • Schedules for coaching productive staff
    • Coaching for the leadership team
    • Compliance awareness and leadership

    
We all know of noteworthy businesses that were built primarily through word of mouth and introductions. Would moving the ball on this issue be of benefit to your organization? If so, what if your organization could move this ball all the way to the goal line? If you were to implement an effective, firm-wide, introduction-based marketing system, how would it impact your business in the areas of client acquisition, client retention, revenue, sales force retention and other areas of significance for your entire organization?


If you believe, as I do, that the winning firm of tomorrow will have nailed this issue across the organization, and you have not yet implemented a leadership-led program to support an introduction-based marketing system, contact us for a free consultation. We’ll help you explore what a complete package might mean for your organization and how simple and cost-effective it could be to set up.

John Ramos, President
Trajectory Consulting, LLC
john@webuildyoulead.com

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