No one likes cross selling. If your firm is owned by a bank, they would like you to refer business. On the other hand, you want to increase “share of wallet” because the more business a client does, the less likely they are to pull their account and go across the street to a competitor. More business is good for your bottom line. How can you make this happen, while keeping the interests of the client first and foremost?
The logic behind cross selling starts with your client already liking you. They buy other products and services elsewhere. They might not be getting responsive service or attractive pricing. Wouldn’t they rather buy those same products and services from you, if they knew you offered them?
Calling a current client and telling them about a product you offer that they’ve never asked about can feel like you are pushing product. Ditto referrals. How many times can you ask? Suppose you took everything you wanted the client to do and positioned them as benefits of working with you. Suddenly, they come across as entitlements! What a great way to articulate the value you bring to the relationship!
If We Work Together, What Should You Expect?
This can be a very long list! You and your firm might not deliver all these products and services, but you should be able to pick and choose a group of at least ten!
1. During business hours you call will be answered by a live person. They will probably know you (and vice versa). This sounds so obvious, but it’s overlooked. If you call the power, phone or cable company you get a series of prompts. It can take a long time to get a live person on the phone. Your office phone is answered by you or your assistant. If not, the call rolls over to your backup coverage.
2. A financial plan that adapts to changing circumstances. Your client might think it’s a roadmap, but it’s more like point by point driving directions on GPS that recalculate if you take a wrong turn. Financial planning might also include help creating a budget. Clients want to know if something changes in their lives, you are prepared to help them face the challenges.
3. Report cards. How do you know if your investments are doing well? Should you try to beat the market or focus on earning enough to reach your goals? You will provide performance reports, ideally face to face comparing how they did vs. appropriate averages or vs. the return they need to reach their goals. You can’t get them, there, but you can help.
4. Help refinancing your home. Interest rates have been trending upwards. Perhaps they should convert their Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) into a fixed mortgage. Perhaps they are one of the few people that haven’t refinanced their primary mortgage yet. If your firm offers mortgage lending, you are here to help.
5. Refinancing vacation or rental property. Ever notice the ads for attractive mortgage lending rates use the words “owner occupied” and “primary Residence”. This might put clients off refinancing their vacation home or income producing property. If you do mortgages, you can help.
6. Credit card at an attractive interest rate. Who would be a credit card company’s dream clients? People with steady jobs, good credit ratings and plenty of assets. Your clients probably fit into this category. If your firm offers credit cards, this might be a good balance transfer opportunity if the rates are lower. Your firm might also offer asset based lending where they can transfer their balance to a loan at a much lower rate, allowing them to pay it off faster from interest saved.
7. College planning. Many people have misconceptions concerning what college actually costs. They also might assume a four year degree is all the graduate needs. You can help them project costs and structure savings.
8. Retirement planning. It’s probably the biggest problem facing most clients. Are they taking advantage of everything their employer offers? Why leave money on the table? Do they have orphaned IRAs? Fully paid up life insurance policies?
9. Estate planning. Many people think of the government as their silent partner. You take the risks to accumulate capital, the government takes its share in capital gains and estate taxes. Most people want to live out a comfortable retirement, then leave as much as possible for their heirs. The heirs are pretty keen on this idea too. You can help with the planning.
10. Charitable contributions. Your client may be generous, giving back to worthy causes in the community. Perhaps they are strong supporters of their college. They may have pledged money to a capital campaign. Choosing to fulfill their commitment through a gift of appreciated securities might make more sense than writing a check. You can offer this kind of advice.
Referrals for Professional Services
11. Do you have a good attorney? Your client might need trust work done as part of their estate plan. Their attorney may be great at real estate conveyance, but estate planning isn’t their specialty. Although you aren’t an attorney, you are in a position to help them find a good one by giving them the cards of several lawyers you’ve worked with before.
12. Do you have a good accountant? Everyone knows the US tax code has far more pages than The Bible. Is your client doing their own taxes and filing online? There’s a difference between paying what’s asked and paying only as much as you need to pay. You can provide business cards from several CPAs you’ve worked with previously.
13. Do you have a good insurance agent? Hey, I sell insurance! Yes, but your financial services firm or license might not cover homeowners, personal liability or auto insurance. People rarely shop around because insurance is a complicated business. If you can’t address this need yourself, you can recommend a few insurance agents and suggest they interview each one.
Help for Family Members
14. Do the kids understand money? Some clients have children fresh out of college who spend their entire paycheck on good living. They wish someone would sit down with them and explain budgeting and investing. That could be you. What do we call these children again? Oh yes, future heirs.
15. Does a family member have money problems? You can do work without expecting to be paid. Your good client might have an aunt or uncle who is hopeless with finances. You will be glad to sit down and confidentially discuss their situation. The advice you offer might be broad based. Your client will appreciate the help.
16. Managing their parent’s finances. Your client might make the financial decisions for their parents, who are living on a fixed income. It’s not your client’s money, but they make the investment decisions. You might be able to help increase the return on their savings without assuming additional risk.
You might read over this list and say: “I can do all of this!” Does your client know? Consider having a conversation with each client about what doing business with you includes.
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