Posted by Kyle E. Krull, Esq., President
INTEGRITY MARKETING SOLUTIONS
Years ago, a partner of mine told me I was a fool to consider our estate planning clients as anything more than “one-time transactions.”
Fortunately, I didn’t take that advice.
Anyone who has attended Marketing Summits hosted by Integrity Marketing Solutions knows that Jennifer Campbell Goddard and I are huge fans of Harry Beckwith’s Selling the Invisible. It is one of the most insightful, practical books on marketing professional services. Bar none.
“In most professional services, you are not really selling expertise – because your expertise is assumed, and because your prospect cannot intellectually evaluate your expertise anyway. Instead, you are selling a relationship. And, in most cases, that is where you need the most work. If you’re selling a service, you’re selling a relationship.” Selling the Invisible, page 42.
So, how do you view your clients? Are they “customers” or members of your “client family”?
When I opened my own practice, I resolved to make every new client a member of my “client family.” Not only was it the right thing to do (doesn’t everyone prefer a “relationship” with their professional advisors versus a “transaction”?), but it has blessed my practice many times over… 2,000 clients later.
Let me explain.
We have all heard that the most powerful referral is from an existing client, right? I mean isn’t that the conventional wisdom? When looking for a referral to a doctor, dentist or place of worship, we all ask the opinion of our trusted family members and friends, don’t we? So it is with your clients, especially if they are well-pleased with your “relationship.” Notice I didn’t say “services.”
Your relationship with a client is something that cannot be faked. In fact, I contend that the foundation of the relationship is fixed within the first 10 minutes of your initial consultation. It’s a matter of establishing expectations and then exceeding them.
One of the critical expectations is what happens after the signatures are dry on the estate planning legal documents. How do you stay in touch with your clients and how do you help keep their estate plans up-to-date? Do you have a protocol that is easily understood by your clients? Do you follow your protocol? Is the implementation and execution of your protocol automatic? Ours is.
Within the first 10 minutes of your initial consultation, each of our clients knows that they will be receiving our monthly estate planning newsletter. At their option, this newsletter arrives as a hardcopy, full-color newsletter or as an animated e-newsletter. Their call.
The purpose of the monthly newsletter is to stay connected and maintain top-of-mind awareness regarding their estate planning. [Note: Both newsletter formats “pull” readers to our website for further interaction, information, and free downloads.] When changes occur, as they inevitably do, then our clients come back to us for their estate planning updates. And, where do you think our clients refer their family members and friends needing estate planning work?
Then, every two years, in October of odd numbered years, we send an “Estate Review Letter” to our 2,000 client households. This letter reminds clients of their responsibility to maintain and fund (as needed) their estate plans. In addition, we apprise them of major changes in applicable state and federal laws, not to mention a list of common life events, that may impact their estate plans. This mailing includes a response tool and, like our monthly newsletter, “pulls” to our website for further interaction, information and free downloads.
Each month, as we review our revenues, we know that we have been blessed because more than half of our revenue comes from repeat services for members of our “client family” and the pre-qualified (and pre-sold) family members and friends they refer.
Not only do we have the peace of mind that comes with recurring revenue, but our clients have the peace of mind that they truly have made (and updated) estate plans that will protect everyone they love and everything they have.
For everything else… there’s MasterCard.
Teaching Point: As the old adage goes, clients don’t care how much you know, they want to know how much you care. So, I ask you again, how do you view your clients? Are they “customers” or members of your “client family”? If you want a turnkey system that will help you nurture “client family” relationships, then you need to check out The Essential Solution®. It’s a comprehensive marketing system, tested and proven effective in my own law practice. We are here to help when you are ready to have an ever more profitable and enjoyable estate planning and/or elder law practice.