When I was a young advisor, I often heard numerous veteran producers at conference after conference talk about ranking clients. I first thought to myself, “I don’t have enough clients for this to matter.” Then I thought, “I already know who my best clients are.” Finally, I began to think, “You know, I really need to do this.”
When most advisors rank their clients, they simply look at the revenue each client generates. Although this is a main focus of ranking your clients, in my opinion it is not the only thing you want to track. I wanted my end result to have actionable meaning and not be simply something I would look at and think, “There it is.” I wanted it to be a document I could work from and use to grow my business.
Once I started, I realized I wanted to track and measure some key information such as:
Revenue. Of course, the first key metric when measuring your clients is, what is the dollar value of each client? I chose to rank clients in three tiers — green, yellow and red — based on my personal monthly production goals. A green client represents one month of my personal production goal; therefore, all I need to do is obtain 12 green clients a year.
A yellow client equals half of my personal monthly production goal. This makes it easy to complement my green clients by knowing that two yellow clients equals one green client. Again, this is a simple tool to measure my progress toward my goal.
Finally, a red client represents 25 percent of my regular monthly goal.
Again, I find evaluating clients in light of my personal production goals helps me reach those goals every year.
Where did the client come from? Was the client a referral and, if so, from whom? Tracking this information allows me to identify my best referral sources and become more active in working and recognizing those sources. Identifying the source also helps me track the efficiency of my marketing efforts and what worked best.
Over the years, developing my referral sources has been a huge boost to my success.
What lines of business/coverage do I have in force? Although this seems obvious, putting this information "on paper" helps me visualize what I actually have in force with each client. Identifying this information also helps me plan a road map of how I can get a yellow client to become a green client or how to convert a red client into a yellow or green client. Remember, for me two yellow clients equal one green client tier, so by moving up an existing client, I achieve half of my monthly goal.
Often with my red clients I might realize there is no other business we can do together. In that event, I try to work those clients for referrals.
Additionally, I use this strategy to come up with specific marketing plans to cross-sell to my existing clients. I sat down with a wholesaler and identified 22 prospects who did not have that wholesaler’s products and who I knew I could move from yellow to green. The wholesaler was so enthused she helped me create a marketing plan and let me know that if we hit a certain metric, I would hit a bonus level with her company, which I did. This bonus never would have been realized, in addition to obtaining all the additional revenue, had I not ranked my clients and shared that information with someone who could help me along the way.
By really using this information, I can turn good clients into great clients and strengthen my relationships with my existing clients, thus increasing their loyalty.
What lines of business/coverage do they have in force with other agents? This is a commonly overlooked metric. Sure, many of us include this information in our fact finders, but I list this on my client ranking. If a client or prospect already has purchased a certain product, that means several things. First, they are open to that product, and if I can find a better one to better suit their needs, I need to contact them. Second, many products such as annuities and term life insurance have surrender/conversion dates. I will track those dates, and I will inquire about those products every other year in review to be certain the clients still have the product. In addition, this gives me a feeling of the client’s attitude toward the product. I have found many times people are not sure of when their policies do come up, so they eventually ask me to review to be sure.
Carrier. As I created my client ranking list, I also included the carriers with which I have placed their policies. This gives me a better understanding of where I have placed my business, who has the best products for the specific client need and where I should move or place my new business if a carrier’s products change.
Keeping track of what business I have with each carrier also helps me understand my block of business with each carrier. It also helps me when I am planning to conduct marketing events so that I can determine which carrier is best to contact based on the type of event I plan to have. When addressing a key demographic of clients and prospects, I want to be sure to have the best carrier and solutions represented, along with a representative from the carrier with whom I have my strongest relationship. This will make me look good in front of my clients and prospects.
If this ranking is done correctly, I would argue that you can easily double your block of business and achieve much higher levels of success.
We all know it is easier to sell to existing clients. If we start actively marketing to our existing clients in addition to prospecting for new clients, our practices will be much more robust and we will be able to impact many more lives. I encourage you to use client ranking as a starting point for this. Ranking your clients should not be a “finished document” but instead a road map for greater success.