Top 3 things you should do in January to ensure 2018 is a successful year

Posted by Jan02, 2018 Comments Comments Off on Top 3 things you should do in January to ensure 2018 is a successful year
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Hopefully, you have enjoyed that last week relaxing and recharging your batteries. But now that Christmas and New Year are behind us, your mind might start thinking about your business, clients and what you’d like to achieve in 2018.

January can be an unpredictable month volume wise, so it’s possible that you’ll have a bit of spare time. Perhaps some of that time can be invested in your business? In fact, I advise you to insert three 4-hour block into your calendar (I suggest one each on Wednesday 10th, 17th and 24th) and tackle the three tasks I discuss below. Go on. Do it now. Put it into your calendar.

Task 1: Focus on the 20%

Without a doubt, the best source of new business in 2018 will be referrals from existing clients and business partners. Typically, less than 20% of your clients will send you 80% of your referrals. Therefore, run a list of all the referrals you received during 2017 (I hope you record the source of a referral in your CRM? If not, start doing it!!!) and identify your top 10 to 20 referrers.

Once you have this list you need to speak to every one of these people (by phone or in person – emails are not effective enough) within the first 45 days of 2018 (i.e. by mid Feb). Reach out just to say hi, thank them for their support and remind them that you greatly appreciate their referrals, offer them something they would value (article, advice, invitation, etc), find a way to help them and so on.

You don’t have to beg for referrals, pay for them (i.e. offer incentives) or anything like that. You merely must maintain trust and likeability with these people and remind them that you exist. They will take care of the rest.

Mark in your calendar to contact these people again 2 more times during 2018 (i.e. again in April-May and Sept-Oct). Broking is a people business. You must invest time in cultivating these relationships.

Task 2: Save yourself 120 hours this year

What are the 5 most common questions or emails that your write to clients? Have a look back over your emails from 2017. I bet there’s a few topics/questions that you address a few times a week (on average). Questions like should a client fix their rate (pros and cons), what happens next i.e. once a client has agreed to lodge an app, a response to a new lead, a request from an existing client for a review of their rates and so on.

Identify these topics and write a template response for each of them. You can cut and paste bits from your previous responses to these questions. Then polish them up – here are two blogs that might help you do this: here and here.

Then save the 5 template emails in a word doc on your desktop (nice and easy to find) or in Dropbox. Alternatively, email the responses to yourself and save the email in a new folder in Outlook that you name “Templates”.

I estimate that we waste half an hour per day communicating answers to the same questions. Templating this will not only help you nail the response (i.e. communicate it perfectly) but could save you 120 hours over the next 12 months!

Task 3: Set your marketing calendar

Referrals are wonderful, but all businesses need to be prospecting for new clients. The key to marketing success is consistency i.e. the discipline to maintain the same messaging, regularly. The two biggest mistakes that brokers make are (1) they only start marketing when business slows down and/or (2) they change their messaging to attract short term business (e.g. a mortgage manager approaches you with a great solution for non-resident loans, so you start trying to sell/market this product – if it doesn’t suit your target then you are doing more harm than good).

The best way to achieve consistent messaging and regular marketing is prepare a marketing calendar. It is simple to do.

Take one sheet of A4 paper and write the months of the year on it excluding January (as its too late to plan anything for this month), combine June & July as one month (as I find most people are especially busy towards the end of financial year) and December (due to Christmas celebrations, etc.). Therefore, you should have 9 months to fill. Write down a marketing activity that you will do in each month. Some examples include:

  • Write a blog for your website – you should do this at least monthly.
  • Write a blog for another website – popular websites are always looking for good content and it exposes you to a whole new list of people. Contact these website in Jan so that you can scheduled in your blog.
  • Run a webinar. You can co-host it with a business partner such as an accountant, planner, buyers’ agent, etc.
  • Run a client seminar after work or a lunch/breakfast event in your office.
  • Mid-year share some tax planning ideas with your clients (via a blog, webinar, seminar, etc.).
  • Launch a podcast.
  • Invite top referrals/clients to a dinner, attraction, sporting event to as a thank you.
  • Write an eBook and email it to your clients – again, you can do this with an aligned business.
  • Send a direct mail to your clients inviting them to discuss their financial strategy with you.
  • Schedule a text message to clients if the RBA changes rates.

Once your marketing calendar is completed, insert reminders into your dairy i.e. when to start organising each marketing activity. Then stick the marketing calendar up on your desk as a daily reminder.

Word of warning: be balanced. Don’t plan to do too little but also don’t over-commit either as you’ll be setting yourself up to fail.

The beach or planning?

It is very tempting to spend any free time in January down at the beach. Whilst we all know that business planning is important and valuable, it’s not urgent – so it tends to get postponed. That’s why its so important that you block out your diary now – its only three 4-hour blocks – and it probably won’t even take you that long. I know from my own experience that these tasks are incredibly valuable. Good luck!

 

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