The time to intensify your sales and marketing efforts is now. With the ACA and HCR putting the market in flux, your clients and prospects desperately need professional counsel. So who will they receive it from? You? Or one of your many competitors? Just increasing your visibility will lead to many new business opportunities.

Too busy? Day already overbooked? I hear you—but I don’t believe you. And neither do you. There is a management axiom that if you pay attention to the important, the urgent will take care of itself—and there is nothing more important for your business than nurturing current clients and attracting new ones.

Jack Kwicien

So where should you start? Resolve to make ten new prospecting calls and to visit five existing clients per week. Set this as a minimal goal for every person in your firm with production responsibilities. Set up a simple client and prospect contact management system, and monitor it weekly. Make it a constructive work habit, and institutionalize the activity.

These appointments can’t be social visits; they need to be substantive. So what is your objective for these meetings and why should these clients and prospects want to meet with you? That begs another big question: What differentiates your firm from all the others? And puh-lease, don’t repeat that old platitude that “we provide superior service”. Have you ever heard anyone say, “Our team prides itself on providing awful service?” You need to be able to clearly articulate your value proposition.

But the question remains: Why will your client or prospect be better off from having spoken with you? If you cannot immediately answer this question with conviction, that’s a problem.

Provide a unique value proposition

Perhaps your firm has a particular market focus and specialized customer knowledge. The education market is a good example of what I am talking about. Educational institutions and educators have unique needs and some specific product and service requirements. If you have segmented your customer base and have expertise in serving one or more target markets, that could be an important competitive advantage.

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"2016 is going to be a great sales year for someone. Should that someone be you?"

Or maybe you have a unique way to help your clients add value to their employee relationships. This could be through innovative communications or technology that provide easy access to benefits information and advice.

Or it could be that your firm offers business advisory assistance to help clients create a multi-year strategic benefits plan. This will definitely differentiate your services from the rest of the pack and attract more clients. Such as service will also “lock up” your client relationships leading to improved retention.

Bottom line: Don’t peddle products; provide solutions. Leverage your expertise and concentrate on the one or two things that matter most to business owners and their employees in your market. Once you decide on a focus, make sure it is shared by your entire firm: producers, account management personnel, support staff, everyone. They need to know what makes your firm different and be able to articulate it succinctly.

Once you’ve defined your unique value proposition, it has to be reflected in all of your marketing. Shout it out from your web site; hammer it home in your brochures, and make it the centerpiece of all of your advertising.

So get up out of your seat and make something happen. 2016 is going to be a great sales year for someone. Should that someone be you?

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Jack Kwicien

Jack Kwicien

Kwicien co-founded Daymark Advisors LLC, a Baltimore-based consulting and advisory services firm in 2001.