You make or break your business brand based on whether you complete the last 2% of your client service or you do not, Jim Ruta explains in this column from Insurance Journal’s archives. 

Question: What can I do to build my brand? 

You make or break your business brand based on whether you complete the last 2% of your client service or you do not. These 2 percenters are the difference between a happy client, a great testimonial, a deluge of introductions, great persistency and even repeat business – or not. You can do 98% of your business perfectly but ignore the last 2% and all anyone will ever remember is the 2% that you didn’t do. 

Average advisors are happy with 98% because they either believe that it’s good enough. Icons know that good enough isn’t good enough if you want to be great. They know that they don’t have to “go the extra mile” to be great… just “the extra 2%”.

Here are some 2 percenters to build your brand:

Send a thank-you note for new business. People have many options in today’s marketplace, yet they chose to do business with you. Be grateful. It’s the polite thing to do. You’ll make a big impression if you handwrite it on own branded thank you cards. But today, at least send an email.
Some advisors believe that because you are helping your clients, they really should be sending you a thank you letter. Saying thank you makes it look like they were doing you a favor. Those advisors are wrong. How could appreciating your new client do anything but reduce any possible buyers’ remorse and build loyalty?

Provide a written proposal and a follow up “Reasons Why” Letter after the sale so they have your recommendations and their reasons to buy in writing. Why should your clients have to depend on their memory for why they bought what they did when someone asks them about it? And you can be sure that one day some new advisor or influencer will.

Follow up in 90 Days to see what they think about their purchase then. Show you care about them as people and not just as new business. It happens with car service. Why not with your service? Do they have any questions? Any new ideas? Referrals? 

Give new clients a nominal but useful thank-you gift for their new business – like a policy wallet or binder to help organize their portfolio. Policy wallets or binders help make your customer a client. They add value to your work and importance to the policy.
Add additional information with the policy to show the quality of your work and interest in their well-being. Executor information or an estate organizer, like many firms provide, is a good idea.
This is even more important to do if the insurance company provides an e-policy or automatically mails out a contract to a client. Go the extra 2%. It helps defend your business against replacement. Give them the full 100% and you are more likely to keep the business.

Ask for feedback after a sale. Studies have shown that just asking for feedback can increase client loyalty by up to 69%. You can use Survey Monkey and any number of other survey/testimonial apps available in the market today. Or you could just email one out. Even without a reply, the good work has been done because you asked.

Send Birthday Cards, Holiday Cards, Thanksgiving Cards and other recognition. Here’s an example of what some “professionals in the business won’t do. Too hokey they say.
Too bad, I say. By sending out these cards in regular mail you differentiate yourself from those advisors who seem more interested in the business than the client. This is a very simple and cost-effective marketing tool that drives business. It’s a key 2 percenter.

Send a handwritten thank you note for any referrals you receive and you will stand out with your clients who take a chance and refer you to someone they know. Yes, they are taking a chance on you but believe that you are worth it. If you really want to stand out, courier the note to the referrer. For sure they will notice then. 

Finally, arrange your next meeting while you are still with your clients. This shows that you care about them and are not just about the business. This simple 2 percenter is as valuable for you as it is for them… after all, you are filling up your calendar in the future and that adds to your confidence in business.

These things are just little, but the impact is big. They are the 2% that equal the 100%. Add them to your business protocol and you will build your brand and attract more new prospects and business.

This column by renowned advisor coach Jim Ruta was first published in the October 2020 edition of Insurance Journal magazine.

For more information on the tools to use to build your brand, check out

Jim Ruta’s mission is simple – to preserve, promote and propel the financial advisor business. A former insurance advisor and executive manager of a 250-advisor agency, Jim is a highly regarded coach, author, podcaster and keynote speaker. He has spoken 4 times at the MDRT Annual Meeting including the Main Platform. Jim Ruta is an Executive Coach and Keynote speaker specializing in life insurance advisors and leaders. He works with top advisors around the world and re-energizes audiences with his deep insight and passion. 

If you have a question for Jim, you may send an email to [email protected]