SELLING 101 | Helpful ways to boost your selling success.

Understanding the Difference Between Client Relationship Building and Prospecting for New Clients

May 20, 2022   |   by Alex Strautman
Relationship Building vs Prospecting

Building a relationship with your business clients is important to your ongoing sales, service, and renewals. However, in spite of what you may think – or may have read elsewhere – relationship building and prospecting are not the same.

By definition, prospecting is when you’re targeting a potential new customer. You may eventually be able to develop a relationship with your prospects; however, right now, they are different from your clients with whom you are already connected.

How to Build Rapport in Sales

Here are some suggested tips for client relationship building:

  1. Study your clients. Ask questions. To develop a connection with your customers, you need to understand them, their priorities, and their businesses. Ask about their target audience, business model, annual budget, and competitors.
  2. Remember that every customer is different. Even if you have customers engaged in the same industry, it’s important to remember they are not the same. See if you can learn about your clients’ short- and long-term goals, preferences, etc. Doing so will help you establish rapport and deepen your connection.
  3. Communication is key. Make sure you communicate effectively – and often. Find out what method of communication each of your clients prefers, then use it.
  4. Follow-through on your promises. By meeting your clients’ expectations, you can build trust with them. Don’t forget to express your appreciation for the business they give you. See our related blog, 7 Ways to Show Appreciation to Your Clients.
  5. Go above and beyond. Sometimes a client may ask for something that is outside of your wheelhouse. Do what you can to help him/her/them find the answer – even if it’s a stretch. Your willingness to deliver tailored advice – and your unparalleled service in taking the time to research and share the answer– will be long remembered. It will reinforce your clients’ view of you as a trusted advisor – and it could earn you referrals or added business down the road.
  6. Get personal. Be open to discussing more than just business. “Small talk” can help you nurture a long-lasting relationship. Your clients are not just about work (and what you can earn from their business). Showing you care can help you build a client bond. It can also help distinguish you from other “insurance sales people” your client may engage for other business.
  7. Stay positive, and be patient. Maintaining a positive attitude is critical. If it takes a while to develop a relationship with some of your clients, don’t worry. That’s okay. Again, everyone is different. While it may happen quickly for some, for others, it may take time. It typically will not happen overnight.

That summarizes our advice for relationship building.

Now, in contrast, let’s look at some ideas shared in a prior blog about client prospecting.

  1. Get involved in your community. Your participation in community groups, trade and business associations, and local events can be an effective way to get your name out – both to prospective customers and to potential business partners with whom you can share and trade leads for business that doesn’t align with your expertise. Read our related March blog, Outreach Ideas to Make Your Agency a Local Celebrity and Enhance Your Profile.
  2. Share your know-how. You can enhance your reputation and build your profile by speaking before chambers of commerce, your local or regional health underwriter association(s), and other groups. You can also sponsor local educational events, which give you the opportunity to get in front of prospects. Authoring articles will help, too.
  3. Use a communication mix. To be successful, and to attract a broad range of customers, it’s important to use a variety of techniques. One of the most important is having a website, so people can find you. Because most people begin their search online, that means having a website that touts your capabilities. More guidance is included in our 2021 post, 7 Marketing Ideas for New Health Insurance Agents.

As your client relationships broaden, and as you work to attract new customers through targeted prospecting, you can count on Word & Brown to deliver a broad range of products and services to address clients’ needs. Whether your focus is Small Group or Large Group, our expertise can help you write more – and earn more.

Visit our website for a carrier and administrator list by product and state. Or, contact your Word & Brown representative to learn more. If you’re not already doing business with us, call (800) 869-6989.

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