by Tony Vidler
I heard it again this week from 3 separate practices: “Our clients don’t call us – Why?”
Maybe you aren’t very good, or they just don’t like you. But that is a real longshot “maybe” – it is highly unlikely isn’t it? Considering they are happily taking your calls and haven’t unsubscribed from newsletters, and they are paying their ongoing fees…. they probably do like you. So that’s not likely to be the reason.
They just don’t think of YOU when something happens that should trigger them to check their plan,or their policies with you. They may well think they need some advice or help, and they may well call someone. It just isn’t you….and it is incredibly frustrating. We’ve all had those clients who say – later – “oh, but I didn’t know you did that….”, and we silently scream inside….
When this happens we have missed the mark in 2 areas:
Getting clients to understand what you can do for them goes a long way beyond giving them a list of professional competencies, or continually reminding them of the wonders of the 6-step planning process, or even a list of the types of policies you can arrange or investments you specialise in. For most clients such jargon-laden lists go in one eye and out the other, and it barely registers as it passes through their mind.
To get clients to understand what we can do for them we need to describe our services and expertise in the way of outcomes that we can achieve.
These are the types of outcomes that clients want from great planning…they are the things that matter to them. If we want clients to understand what we can do, and then engage us to help them achieve those outcomes, we need to put it in language which is meaningful to them. The end results matter, and register in their minds. So the first part of the equation is describing what you can fix in a way that they recognise, and which will trigger an association with you and your skills.
The second part of the equation is creating the top-of-mind-awareness: when they have an itch, they know you are the scratcher! When it comes to being top of mind, there is no substitute for a continual presence. That is, you have to be a constant part of the clients world.
For example; I send out a newsletter every 3 weeks to my audience (who wish to opt in), and regularly meet with clients and prospects who sheepishly admit that they often are not reading it – and they are almost apologetic. My response is usually to laugh and say “Did you see who it was from before you deleted it?” Typically the answer is “yeah…sorry….”
Who cares? It achieved its objective the moment they recognised my name and made the association again in their mind that I look after a particular set of problems. It maintained a presence without being overly intrusive, and because the content of this newsletter is simply good suggestions and ideas it is not perceived as a sales tool. It is just communication and staying in touch. Job done.
That continual presence whereby you are highlighting the areas that you specialise in, but in a helpful and practical way without being overtly “salesy” is the key to creating top-of-mind-awareness. What is an appropriate frequency for communicating will vary depending on your target market of course, but it is safe to say that once or twice a year isn’t enough. It is also safe to say that once a week is too much usually…but whatever the right balance is taking into account the amount of information that your clients typically receive, and how manic or busy their life is, you have to commit to delivering constantly in order to maintain a presence.
The art of creating that awareness, and having the clients automatically remember that you are the person who can scratch particular itches, is to educate them on the itches constantly.
Do that and you will absolutely minimise the number of clients who go looking for someone else to fix a particular problem when it occurs, because they know that is why you are there.
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