Beating the Summer Doldrums
The summer months can pose a true marketing challenge to your trusts & estates practice. Because people are so busy with their active summer lifestyles, it may be difficult to get them to attend workshops, schedule appointments, or refer clients.
Here are some quick tips to help cope with the summer doldrums.
- Prioritize Your Work
During the summer months you should have two main goals: the first being to maintain cash flow, and the second to lay the groundwork for a successful fall. Focusing exclusively on one or the other would be a mistake. Unfortunately, too often we find that when the work load at the office gets a little lighter, we are very tempted to take some time off, switch into "casual" dress, and -- in general -- break all the rules of good business. This type of behavior can be very hazardous to the health of your practice! You've heard the adage, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going." Well, it was never more applicable than during the summer doldrums!
- Shake Some Money Loose
If your cash flow is starting to waver, here are some proven ways to shake some money loose rather quickly: (listed in priority order)
Review your "Pending Sales" reports from the last three to six months. Evaluate which of these cases would be most likely to move forward if you took some affirmative action ... such as a phone call to their referral source, a reminder letter, or perhaps you just need to complete a proposal or some other detail that would close the case and result in payment. Develop an action plan to close any pending business.
Review your top referral sources from the past three to six months and make a point to contact each of them. A quick phone call to "touch base" on a current or past client, or schedule a business lunch is often the catalyst necessary to spark a referral.
Review your least active referral sources, and make a prioritized list for follow-up. Has something gone wrong to sour the relationship? This would be a good time to find out, and do whatever may be necessary to rebuild it. You may discover that there is nothing really wrong, and that a phone call from you is just the spark to rekindle the referral fires.
Send annual review or check-up letters to past clients. Some of our clients report their best revenue months were sparked by an annual review letter sent to all of their clients. These letters often result in significant revenue from the reviews; the resulting updates, restatements, and/or funding required; and from additional client referrals.
Schedule a workshop for senior adults. Work with a bank, professional advisor, or other group to host a workshop targeted for seniors. A "customer appreciation" program could be an excellent opportunity. Why seniors? Their schedules are often least-affected by summer vacations, school schedules, or other seasonal activities. While these types of workshops seldom result in top-dollar fees for sophisticated planning, they can boost your cash flow during an otherwise "slow" season.
- Plant Seeds for a Fall Harvest
The next most important aspect to focus your efforts on this summer is developing, and nurturing referral relationships that will bear fruit in the fall. Instead of taking time off from the office, re-double your efforts to make personal contacts with each of the professional advisors in your "referral base."
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Send notes, make personal phone calls, and visit their offices. This is a good time to thank your best referral sources for their ongoing business, and start building new relationships.
Get personal. I know of one attorney who hosts barbecues at his home for the various agencies with which he works. He says it is the best marketing investment he has ever made. If you are working with several agents from, say, PaineWebber, consider inviting them all to your home (if appropriate) for an outdoor barbecue or pool party. If this is not possible for you, think of some other creative method to nurture personal relationships.
Teach. Offer to teach a short course at your office, or theirs. Focus on their needs -- for instance, most agents have difficulty introducing the topic of estate planning to their clients. Focus on overcoming objections, recognizing needs, and communicating benefits. This will distinguish you from the "pack" of attorneys who offer to explain the intricacies of generation skipping transfers.
- Stretch Your Marketing Dollars
To help you get things hopping again, we've bundled three of our best foundational marketing tools into one great "Jump Start Package" with a terrific budget-stretching price! The "Jump Start Package" gives you the tools you need to initiate, build and grow professional referral relationships ... and convert those opportunities into new clients:
- The online course, Building Profitable Referral Relationships a five-session study group campaign for professional advisors;
- Five Days to Profitable Referrals; and
- The workshop on CD: Top Ten Fatal Estate Planning Mistakes
Regularly Priced at $1,169,
buy now through August 15 and get all three campaigns for only $895!
That's a savings of $274!
SELECT newsletter subscribers save even more -- $574!
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