By Irving Katz
InsuranceNewsNet Magazine, March 2012
How would you like to have a steady stream of financial services prospects that match your ideal client profile—without breaking your bank account? If you’re like me, you have probably spent many dollars over the years on sales and marketing lead programs that resulted in marginal, if not poor, results. But what if I told you there is a way to find qualified prospects that match your ideal client that you’d like to clone?
This idea came to me by analyzing my business model and understanding how I found my best clients. I also studied what didn’t work and why. What became apparent from my research was that, as our industry experts tell us, our best marketing and prospecting methods are referral based.
Following that advice, my business has been built on client referrals and introductions from other professionals. I even coined an acronym for getting referrals from other professionals. I call it SARP (Strategic Alliance Referral Partnering).
Who are your SARPs? Just ask yourself this question: what other advisors or professionals have my ideal client as their best clients, or who are the professionals who also serve my ideal clients? If different professionals are working with the same type of client, then we can cross-refer each other since our mutual clients need more services than only one of us can provide.
Although I have used other professionals to build my business, I did not have a formalized program. After thinking about all of the networking I have done over the years, it clicked for me. My thinking process was: what if I combined my SARP prospecting with networking? What would that look like and how would that work?
It would need to be part networking, part fun and part educational. There would also need to be structure to the group and to the meetings. We would need to decide ground rules, how often to meet and where. All groups need structure for meetings and rules to follow. Those are decided between the leader and the members during organizational meetings.
These organizations are often called “mastermind groups,” a concept that Napoleon Hill discussed in his seminal book, Think and Grow Rich, first published in 1937.
The first step is to determine who should be invited to join the mastermind group. Before I decided on who I should invite, I identified my ideal client as a business owner over the age of 45 who has been in business for 10 years or more, owns a company that makes $3 million-plus in annual sales and has 15 or more employees.
I sent invitations to my best SARPs who had clients that matched my ideal client and also asked those invitees to suggest names of their SARPs for membership invitations. Having a good database will make this a smooth process.
For my group, I determined that the following types of professionals gave me referrals and introductions to my best new clients:
CPAs and enrolled agents that had many business owners as clients, but did not want to be financial advisors.
Health insurance agents specializing in employee benefits, but did not work in the area of employer, executive benefits or succession planning.
Commercial property and casualty insurance brokers specializing in workers compensation and liability insurance issues.
Payroll service professionals who were happy to build a payroll practice.
Human resource professionals who enjoyed the challenge of solving HR issues.
Virtual CFOs who were working with several businesses at one time.
Attorneys who worked with business owners on their issues like transactions, incorporations or estates and trusts.
Business brokers and merger & acquisition specialists.
Commercial real estate brokers working with business owners.
Business coaches who have clients who run their own companies.
And here is the letter I sent to my SARP’s to recruit members for my first group meeting:
We all need a little help from our friends.
Do you sometimes feel that you are a lone wolf out there in the business wilderness trying to figure it all out by yourself? Or perhaps you have a team, but somehow are stuck in second or third gear, trying to move your business to the next level of success. Maybe you are doing well, but have found that your success has created other challenges within your business and your personal life.
If any of these rings true to you, then you may be interested in learning more about the “Breakthrough Mastermind Group.”
A Mastermind group is made up of people getting together to think about, talk about and support each other’s growth. Masterminds are about creating new and positive habits, new opportunities and ideas that can be implemented.
Masterminds get together on a scheduled basis. They work on supporting each other’s dreams, goals, aspirations and businesses. They help each other get through roadblocks and challenges. Great ideas come from great minds. When you have a problem, a Mastermind group will help you with workable solutions. The more you think and write, the better you become at thinking and writing. Likewise, the more you think strategically about business problems, whether they’re your own or someone else’s, the better you’re going to be at improving your own business.
A Mastermind group can also be about sharing leads, doing deals and a whole lot more. As a result of learning how each member business benefits their clients, each member confidently refers other members to help their best clients.
We are forming a Breakthrough Mastermind Group. Our plan is to meet at least every four to six weeks, with the nucleus of the group coming from service professionals such as CPAs, attorneys, insurance advisors, business coaches and other business advisors. We want professionals who work successfully with business owners. If you have a referral partner who you think would be a good fit for our group, please pass this invitation onto them.
Our professional members need to be committed to growing their businesses with the highest standards of integrity and service. And best of all – Membership is FREE!
The group will be facilitated by Irving Katz, Family Business Coach. The group will be limited to 10 to 12 participants. Our first Orientation and organizational meeting will be held: June 7, 2011 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 23 Main Ave, Irvine CA 92614.
Let us know if you want to join the group. Space is limited.
If you like my letter and want to use it in your marketing, just be sure to get compliance approval.
Working with business owners is my passion and life’s work. Should you work in a different market, you can still ask yourself: who is working with clients that are demographically similar to my ideal client?
Mastermind groups are efficient, cost-effective and best of all—they work. I welcome learning of your successes stories in starting and growing your own mastermind prospecting and marketing groups, too.
Irving Katz, MBA, MSFS, CLU, ChFC, is an author, MDRT life member and family business coach. Irving has published two books, “Family Business Secrets: How to keep your business thriving from generation to generation,” and “Family Business Secrets: A Field Guide for Advisors.” He can be reached at [email protected]
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