Diversification is a defining principle of Chuck Layman’s work, and it’s one that seniors especially can appreciate. “After being in the business for 20-some years, a lot of my clients were becoming seniors and hitting retirement years and safety was more of an issue to them than risk,” he says of his practice, which largely serves the senior market. “That is when I started realizing that the senior market as a whole had been taken advantage of by Wall Street and were not truly diversified into safety and safe vehicles. That is when I stopped using my securities license and went back to my route of insurance and safety first.”
A philosophy like this is just what many seniors want to hear — and Chuck isn’t shy about sharing it. A master prospector, here he shares five ways to brand your business in a way people won’t soon forget.
1. Educate your prospects.
Layman loves to get in front of his community as often as possible. One of his favorite ways to interact with prospects is through educational programs. Some people call them “seminars,” Layman says, but he looks at them as programs that provide a forum for him to educate people and break down any myths or preconceived notions prospects might have heard about annuities and other safe products from the mainstream media. He puts on two every five weeks.
2. Stay involved.
Layman lives by the personal touch with clients and prospects. It’s not enough to simply send out a reminder note a few times a year. He’s formed bonds with his clients — sometimes over several decades — so when special occasions occur, Layman sends them that personal reminder: “Hey, happy anniversary,” or whatever the occasion might be.
And he’ll send a reminder about their finances as well, asking if they want to come into the office or have a telephone conference. He says it’s amazing how many people will walk through the door, people with long-standing relationships, and they’ll be looking for new products due to the seeds that Layman has planted.
3. Cast a wide net.
More recently, Layman has broken into radio to reach a larger audience. Initially, he joined the airwaves to help with branding the business. It got another foot in the door so that when someone did receive a piece of mail from Layman, they were already familiar with him from the radio show. But since the show’s more humble beginnings, it’s become more than just a branding vehicle, developing into one of the firm’s major marketing tools.
4. Contribute to a good cause.
Layman’s charitable commitments run the gamut from local needs to global ones. Every year the firm is deeply involved with the local food bank. They have an interesting twist on how to get food to needy families. The firm rents out an old movie theater and shows classic black-and-white films. The movie and popcorn are free. All audiences have to do is bring canned goods for donation.
The latest community project is one that has been special to Layman and to the community. “We’ve been working on care packages for our soldiers in Afghanistan.” He says it started with doing it for clients of his who have children, grandchildren, nephew, nieces, whatever, in the armed forces. It’s grown to the point that most recently they shipped out 30 packages to soldiers, with all the goods donated by the community.
5. Be forward-thinking.
Though he dreams big, Layman realizes that he cannot do it all for his clients. Therefore, he looks to add services or refer clients whenever necessary to meet a need. This year, for example, he added a health-care specialist to his team. “We’re specialists in income planning and asset preservation,” he says. “But we can’t be a jack of all trades, so we have brought somebody into our office that can help the people to understand what the PPACA legislation means and what’s to come in the future for health care.”
For sales & marketing tips from other top advisors, see SMA’s 2012 Advisor of the Year Finalists.