Easy Marketing Methods with Letters, Post Cards, Referrals and Testimonials

Easy Direct Marketing Methods for Insurance AgenciesThis Month: Strategies for Letters, Post Cards, Newsletters,
Testimonials, Referrals.Selling insurance is tough: too many agents selling too few clients, and
ouch – trying to show value when all you are selling is a piece of paper
that no one really thinks he needs… until it’s too late. But you knew all
that. Here’s how to get more business and keep the customers you
have.Send a “Thank you for your business” letter.I’ll bet you ten bucks that I know the last piece of correspondence
your customer received from you or your providers: it was a bill. Right?
OK – 99 out of 100 of you pay up. Break this cycle of insurance bills with
something refreshing. Send a bottle of champagne. Just kidding. Send
that bottle to me, Schramsberg/NAPA is just fine. To your clients and
prospects, send a couple of refreshing “Thank you” letters.Spend the 74¢To keep customers happier and longer, twice a year send them a
letter simply thanking them for being a customer. Let them know their
business is appreciated. Paint a picture of your firm on high alert 24
hours a day: if they need you – you’ll be there. Let them know you
appreciate their business and that you are eagerly waiting to serve
them. Your customer retention rate will soar. Your customers will be
happier; therefore, your customers will be your customers, longer. As for
me, I’m still waiting for that bottle of Schramsberg.Now I’m not talking about the pre-printed “Thank You” card you get
from your accountant each Christmas. Ugh. That’s close to worthless
(don’t tell your accountant, I’ll start getting nasty letters). I’m talking about
a real, bonafide letter. Signed personally by you, or at least someone
who works with you who is willing to sign all those letters with your
name in a blue pen. Yes – twice a year. Cough it up: postage 74¢. That’s
not much of a cost to retain a customer. Do you know what other
agencies call your best customers? Prospects. I personally think a letter
is the cheapest customer retention strategy you can use, and the most
effective. Hummmm… cheapest; most effective.See, nice guy that I am, I started off this article with my best tip first.
It’s all downhill from here. Or is it?Don’t start a Newsletter.That’s right, don’t. You’ve got to be crazy to start a newsletter. 90%
of the ones I get are terrible: no direction, poor copy, lousy photos…
everyone’s dressed. Nothing like that Hooter’s newsletter I, er, a friend
of mine signed up for 2 years ago. What? What do you mean you don’t
think there’s continually fresh and interesting news from a restaurant
chain?Most newsletters are written with no clear objectives, and some just
ramble on in a dialog “about” and “by” the president… like someone
cared about his babble on the new boat he just bought. In reality – where
I virtually think we are – newsletters are just a lot of work. They may start
out with some enthusiasm, but soon become the drudgery of month after
month of hard work, eventually assigned to someone as a thankless job
no one really wants to do. Without lively copy, great design, consistent
frequency and timely delivery, newsletters lose all effect of branding and
building customer loyalty.Case in point: Q. The number one priority of a newsletter? A. It must
be read. To be read it must be fascinating and interesting beyond belief.
Remember, if it ain’t read, it ain’t working. See my article on newsletters
elsewhere on this site. Or visit http://www.dobkin.com for this and other
articles of marketing tips I’ve written.Instead, create a series of post cards.That’s right, slightly oversized 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ post cards print nicely
2-out of an 8-1/2″ x 11″ sheet. Spend some time on graphics and copy to
make them really interesting and clever. Since I just mentioned
“newsletter,” I know some readers are now hell-bent on creating a
newsletter, so you guys can title your post card “The World’s Tiniest
Newsletter.” Then design it like a tiny newsletter. Well, I hope that made
your day. Still stuck on newsletters? Call this number and complain:
610-642-683. If I really cared, I’d have given you the last number, which
is 2. It’s our fax machine. Or at least the fax machine of our competitor.Post cards can look good printed simply in one or two colors… so
they can be inexpensive to print. While I don’t mind one color printing, I
do always prefer an upscale sheet of paper (like bright-white Cambric
Linen). Don’t use glossy stock unless your post card is printed in 4
colors, as the post office mail sorting rollers will leave black marks on it.
Mail post cards once a month to every 6 weeks for consistency, or to
maintain Top-of-Mind awareness.Write about anything… as long as it’s interesting. The limitations of
space ensure the brevity of copy; this generally will make sure the card
remains interesting to a good degree.Somewhere, somehow on the card, say “Call for a quick quote!” to
encourage people to call. If the objective of the card is to generate a call
and it doesn’t, it didn’t work, did it?. Supersize the phone number and
follow it by a longish laundry list of all the types of insurance your firm
offers (or that you can get for your customers). If it’s a long list – and it
should be – set the list in small type – and print it on the lower portion of
the bottom of the card.Here’s an example: Since you live in Nebraska, boat insurance
probably isn’t your main livelihood, or flood insurance either, so most of
your customers probably don’t know you can get these kinds of
coverage for them along with their tractor insurance. By listing all the
kinds of insurance policies you sell on this card, all your customers who
own boats (both of them) will get the message that they can call you for
a quote. Other customers and prospects will see what they need also –
and call for quotes, too.The list of services is not the main message in the card, but it lets
clients know that you offer a full depth of different products, and they can
get all their insurance quoted and placed by a quick phone call to your
office. Remember, if you don’t get calls from your post cards, and thus
additional business – they didn’t work. Then let me guess: Your mailings
went into your “we tried direct mail and it didn’t work” file. How
unfortunate. Know who’s getting those phone calls if you’re not? Your
competitors. Their post cards went into their “Holy Cow! Look how much
money we made from this little post card mailing!” file.Why are phone calls so important?All your business starts with a phone
call.Any time you can make the phone ring – especially for a quote, you
have the opportunity to generate a sale, or perform a service for your
customer. Either way, if you look at this more closely as an opportunity,
you’ll find a phone conversation is a great way to increase a client’s
loyalty and endear them even more deeply to you and your company.If you can get the phone to ring from a mailed piece, the piece is a
total success, even if you didn’t get any business at that exact moment.
Here’s why I say this: I’ve been in direct marketing for… OH MY GOD
AM I THAT OLD ALREADY!. Anyhow, it’s tough to sell something from a
sheet of paper, especially insurance, which is sometimes tough to sell
anywhere, even in a stuck elevator for 12 hours with 6 doctors whose
medical malpractice policies have an ex-date of tomorrow. Come to
think of it, if you want a business decision from a doctor you’ll have to
ask his office manager or his wife. Either way, a “yes” answer will take a
month.By trying to sell something directly from a sheet of paper, you get no
feedback, no buying signals. You can’t tell where the hot buttons of your
clients are. When do you back off? When do you press for a close? All
this may come subconsciously when you’re selling in person, but I
assure you a lot of thought has to go into a printed piece to get to these
specific areas with just the right timing, correct pace and selling
proposition to close a sale from a flyer that you sent in the mail.Armed with the knowledge that it’s very difficult to sell anything off
the page, don’t even think about trying to sell anything from your mail
piece. The objective of 99% of the letters, mailers, post cards and
brochures I create for clients don’t sell anything — the objective is simply
to generate a phone call. My client is the one that does all of the selling.
With your brochure, you do the selling when they call.Face the further fact: create letters and mailers with the sole
objective of making the phone ring. When the phone rings – the piece
worked. Voila. Now we know it was successful. Then you sell the client.For an article I’ve written on post cards, just drop me a letter
requesting it: Jeff Dobkin, P.O. Box 100, Merion Station, PA 19066. No,
an email won’t work. I’d like to make sure you really want it and an email
won’t show me this – I don’t want to get 5,000 emails requesting stuff like
the last time I offered something free on the Internet. Ugh.OK, let’s get back to more tips about your post card mailings.
Sending post cards every four to six weeks keeps your agency in “Top of
Mind” awareness of your clients.When they need new policies, or a quote… when they have friends
that need insurance services — they’ll think of you. Whoa. When they
have friends??? Can you say “referrals?”Referrals and TestimonialsI don’t know about you, but I hate asking people for referrals. So
here’s a way to get them, and how to use testimonials in your marketing.
It’s even tough for me to write a personal letter asking for a referral
without sounding like a bleeding heart solicitation piece I once wrote for
the “Friends of Kaballah” association who needed money for guns,
but… a post card can serve this function just right.Let’s say someone refers a client to you, from the post card you just
sent them with the copy on it saying, “Thanks for all your referrals! We
appreciate our customers and friends who refer clients to us for our fast
and friendly quotes. Don’t forget: we’re always ready to help anyone –
whether they are our client or not – with any of their insurance questions
or problems. Please let your friends and colleagues know to just give us
a call at 800-987-6543 – we are always happy to help.” You remember
that post card, don’t you? So now what do you do?Besides opening that nice bottle of champagne celebrating the new
client you just got, and then sending me a nice bottle of champagne for
that new client you just got – you know, the one you already forgot to
send me from the… oh never mind, you send the referring person a
thank you letter. No, a call is not the same. With a call, after you hang up
the phone you cease to exist. And don’t even think about sending them
that pre-printed accountant’s thank-you card we discussed earlier – it still
won’t work. You send them a hand typed letter thanking them. Right
from your own computer. Signed by you in blue ink. Same as before.Here’s what we do around here when we get a referral. We send the
referring party a nice letter, a really nice letter, and a Cross Pen,
engraved with their name on it. Sure, we could have my company name
engraved on it, but the only person that would think that’s great is… me.
That pen goes inside their desk drawer. Big deal. But when we
havetheir name engraved on a pen – well, that pen goes in their shirt
pocket (man), in their pocketbook (woman), or on top of their desk
(neutered). And you just can’t buy that kind of “top-of-desk” real estate.
Or “top-of-mind” awareness.Don’t worry, they’ll remember from whom they’ve received it – from
the nice letter you sent them with the pen. You, umm, did send them a
really nice letter with the pen, didn’t you?Thanks, Jeffrey…Thank you very much for your kind referral of me. I appreciate it.I don’t take referrals lightly, or for granted. A referral means that you
thought enough of my services to recommend me as a professional, and
thought enough of me as a person to recommend me to a colleague.I appreciate your trust – and assure you I will always act well within
the framework of fairness and good taste, and will strive at all times to
provide exceptional value.Thank you again for the privilege of your referral, the opportunity to
be of service to your associate, and your trust.Kindest regards,Jeffrey DobkinA call – or an email – is not the same. You see a “Thank you for your
referral” letter is a touchy, feely thing – kind of like that cute little red
haired secretary you had until your wife found out. Don’t feel too bad, my
wife won’t let me go out on dates, either. What the letter really says is
that you cared enough to sit down and type a personal letter, print it out,
sign it, find an envelope and a stamp, and mail it. It was an effort.Now they have a permanent record of your sincere thanks that can
sit on their desk for days, and if it’s anything like my desk it probably will.
I have letters from 1995 on my desk. But that’s in another article I was
going to write – about procrastination – but I keep putting it off.So you’ve just sent a Cross Pen to a person who just referred a new
client to you. What do they think? They think: how nice it was, and start
looking around to see who else they can refer. Is a new client worth the
$25 of an engraved Cross Pen. I think so.TestimonialsHas anyone ever said anything nice about you or your firm? Oh.
Don’t worry, it hasn’t happened to my firm yet either. But when anyone
does say anything good about you, your firm, or your services, tell them
that it’s very flattering to hear, and ask them if they would mind if you use
that as a testimonial. Wait for their answer. After that awkward pause,
they’ll say sure. Then they’re committed. Then you make it more formal.Youthen say, “Can I write down what you said and send it to you in a
letter, have you look it over, and if it’s OK would you approve it. If not,
just let me know – that’s OK, too.” Most people, seeing that it won’t be a
lot of work for themselves, will say sure.So you can now write down pretty much what they said – and you
can take some liberties here, they won’t remember exactly what they
said – send it to them in a well constructed letter and have them sign it.
You’ll get a letter with a great testimonial (because you wrote it) that
someone has signed-off on without causing them to do any work. They’ll
be happy. You’ll be happy.Also, here’s a big plus: your testimonial letter will be free of any
spelling errors or typos that my own client’s letters always seem to have.
You know, that’s why letters and articles I’ve written always have a few
typos and spelling errors in them – so clients (and editors) won’t feel
embarrassed that they’re the only ones who make those errors. And I’m
a-stickin’ to that story. Anyhow, never trust a man who only has one
spelling for any given word.When pitching to a new client, tell them the difference between your
agency and others is service, and bring out a really big book of recent
testimonials. It’s probably the most convincing sales tactic you can use.©2003 Jeffrey Dobkin

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Finance in Guernsey: The Top Investment Firms on the Island

Guernsey, one of the islands in the English Channel, is a well-respected international finance hub. Many international banks, such as those with head offices in locations such as the United States and Europe, have opened branches on the island with much success. The banks in Guernsey provide a wide range of services to both locals and tourists, including specialist lending, wealth management and savings. These establishments also service many other companies that fall under the umbrella of finance in Guernsey, such as those that specialize in insurance, trust and investing. If you’re looking for help managing your investments, or you’re looking to begin investing in Guernsey, these are the top investment firms on the island.Nova Investment Management LimitedNova Investment Management Limited, located in St. Martin, is an investment company that is both regulated and licensed by the Financial Services Commission of Guernsey. Nova Investment offers individualized investment services to a wide range of clients, including those situated internationally. An independent company, Nova Investment focuses on using their knowledge of investment strategies and styles, and assets, to generate positive outcomes for clients. These positive outcomes include both preserving and gaining wealth, regardless of whether the current market conditions are favourable. This Guernsey company also offers discretionary management services, including providing tailored portfolio investments, and portfolio evaluations, to ensure that current investment portfolios continue to meet the needs of the client.Cenkos Stockbrokers and Investment ManagersCenkos Stockbrokers and Investment Managers is a financial company in Guernsey with a broad scope. In addition to stockbroking services, such as trading accounts and market making, Cenkos provides islanders with a broad scope of investment management services. The company’s investment management sector offers investing through many different types of products and portfolios, and strives to help their clients invest in asset classes that will provide long term results. Their services include income and diversity funds, global equity funds, Bailiwick investments and CI property funds. Located in St. Peter Port, and with a location on the island of Jersey as well, Cenkos Stockbrokers and Investment Managers also runs two Channel Islands funds with a specialist focus.Brewin DolphinBrewin Dolphin, an independent, investment management company for private clients, is one of the top investment firms in the United Kingdom. Their Guernsey office, located on Lefebvre Street in St. Peter Port, was established in 1997 and is widely popular on the island. Brewin Dolphin’s Guernsey location services private clients and intermediaries, as well as international and local financial establishments. Their range of services include dealing accounts, advisory dealing and both advisory and discretionary investment management. Licensed to provide investment business by Financial Services Commission in Guernsey, Brewin Dolphin has won many awards, including “Best Wealth Manager for Alternative Investments” and the Citywire “Large Firm Award.”If you are in need of investment management services, there are many options available in Guernsey. The island’s stable banking sector and diversity of companies is key to the great reputation of finance in Guernsey, and their services are some of the best available. If you are interested in investing in Guernsey, or if you are looking to switch investment providers, Nova Investment, Brewin Dolphin and Cenkos Stockbrokers and Managers get the job done professionally and properly.