Benchmark Business Group

How Deep Are Your Client Relationships?

August 15, 2023

Imagine taking your car to a mechanic for a specific problem and having them realize that another problem is lurking on the horizon. Would you want them to tell you? To educate you on your options? Even if you choose not to take action to solve the problem today, how valuable would that information be to your future?

As a financial service professional, the above scenario is something that is true every time you and your team interact with a client. Without a doubt, you’ll see risks that they’ll face. Opportunities that they might not even know are possible. And you have a choice. Is your agency going to be transactional? Or will you take on the vital responsibility of guiding your clients to navigate their risks and opportunities?

There is no lack of competition in this industry. Which means your clients can easily find a better price, especially if your competitor is willing to ignore risks or take on bigger risks than what you would recommend. For instance, you might see state limits as too low, but your competition might be willing to write policies at state limits. If you push too hard, you risk losing that client. Yet, if you write the policy with state limits and there is an accident will you feel that you’ve done your duty? This isn’t to say that you need to turn down all policies that are at state limits, though some agencies do. Instead, it’s about the power of educating your clients on their options and letting them choose.

Insight: If your agency is primarily transactional now and you want stronger, stickier relationships with your clients then it starts with your culture. You need to define your customer service promise and then train your team to understand the level of service that you want your clients to experience.

Time is another reason some agencies become transactional. It’s a real issue. It takes time to truly listen to a client and uncover their needs and desires. It’s easy to get sidetracked and not mention a concern to client. Or to feel like you have to rush to your next meeting.

Insight: If you don’t want your agency to be transactional, your team needs to master time design. This includes carving out time to follow up with your clients, to hold annual reviews, and to prepare for your client meetings. It means looking for ways to increase efficiency. It’s not about working harder. Most teams are working hard. Instead, it’s about looking for better ways.

Another reason agencies become transactional is a lack of training. If your team doesn’t know what to look for or how to talk to a client about an issue or opportunity, they’ll let things slide. If your company is focused on needs-based client relationships, your team will know what to listen for and ask about. Sales opportunities will happen without your direct involvement.

Insight: You have to build the tools that allow others to see the same risks and opportunities that you would see. Your team doesn’t always have to present the solutions to your clients. In fact, in some cases, based on licensing, they may not be allowed to talk to the client about a need they see. However, they can always inform you, or even better, proactively set the client up with an appointment with the right person in your agency.

It’s easy to fall into a transactional relationship with your clients. However, being your client’s trusted advisor who educates them on all their options, not just the immediate transaction, will result in a more rewarding relationship which will benefit both parties in the future.

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