It’s a small world. This is true in industries, towns, neighborhoods and even large cities. Word gets around. People know the top players and future stars. They also know people who are ethical and consider their work as a career. We hope this describes you and your business for offering benefits plans to businesses.
Agents and advisors often develop friendships with clients. Over the years this may have included going out to ball games together or having lunch together. Today this can include having children the same age, social media connections or having the same taste in music.
Why will these relationships develop into friendships? Because you’ve positioned yourself as a trusted partner, someone who offers a good product that their employees like. If there are problems, step in to solve them quickly. The bottom line is simple: they like you and want to help you succeed.
They understand that you succeed in three ways: Renewing business, deepening relationships and creating new relationships at other firms. As HR professionals, they understand it.
Six ways friends can help you get new customers
Let’s look at six ways your current customers can help you get more business:
- The people who worked in their firm. Your friend is not the only HR professional in the department. There are many more. People change jobs. It is said that people have about a dozen jobs in their lifetime. How they can help: Your client has a friend who used to work alongside him, doing essentially the same job. They got a better offer and changed firms, now working for a competitor or in the same role but a different industry. Your friend can call their friend, talk to you, and ask you to make an appointment to tell your story and compete for business.
- Members of their professional association. People in the same field tend to cluster together. There are more than a dozen, focused on different disciplines. Each should have local chapters. How they can help: Your HR professional knows other HR professionals at different firms. They also know what events their local chapter has planned, speaking opportunities, and event sponsorship opportunities. They can help show you.
- Deepening the relationship. You do a certain amount of business with their firm. The relationship is good. You also offer other products and services that are outside of your internal friend’s control. How they can help: You can sit down with your friend and review the menu of services your firm offers. They can tell you whether or not the firm uses that service. Is there a need? They can tell you the name of the internal contact you need to reach.
- Chamber of Commerce. Your signature is that of the Chamber. You offer a range of services suitable for smaller businesses. Your friend is more active in the House than you. How they can help: Once your friend knows how you can help small business owners, they can introduce you to potential prospects at Chamber events.
- Employee satisfaction survey. Your firm’s contract is coming up for renewal. This could mean competing against newcomers to win back the business. You suggest surveying employees to measure satisfaction. How they can help: Your friend may be able to approve this or get the idea of a fair hearing, provided the survey is conducted in-house by the company. Having employee satisfaction on your side is a powerful benefit.
- Help your client’s firm compete. Everyone has trouble hiring qualified candidates. Your friend may be able to explain why they are losing out to competitors or why retention is a problem. How they can help: Now it’s your turn to help your friend. If you determine that the benefits offered elsewhere are superior, you can show them how your firm can improve their offerings and what the cost would be.
In each of these situations you are acting ethically. Inside information is not included. Friends help friends where they can, especially when the result is a win-win for all concerned and in the best interest of the employees. In other words, you are often making them look good.
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, The Enchantment of the Wealthy Investor, is available on Amazon.