James & Marissa Schulze: How to Build and Maintain an Award-winning Business

Speaking at the MFAA Industry Leaders Round-tables, James and Marissa Schulze explored the question of how to build and maintain an award-winning business. After all, having been in operation for only three and a half years (since having their first child), the couple have evolved from being sole operators to a successful team of 10.

The intimate audience were particularly keen to hear about client referrals and retention.

According to Marissa, to be a successful broker and break into new markets, the key to success is meeting new people. As such, she always issues new brokers a challenge: to write a list of 100 people they know and send letters to all of those people introducing their new business and asking for a referral. That’s the agenda for the first month of their career!

At the end of the day, the more people you meet the more opportunities you’re going to have.

Every week, year or month, it’s about having a goal to add a certain number of people to your own database.

This doesn’t necessarily mean cold calling! Why not use opportunities in your everyday life for networking? That could be everything from talking to people at parties to volunteering at your children’s school.

From a referral perspective, while it may sound simple, according to James and Marissa, the key is really in the basics – from communicating well to your clients (think quarterly newsletters, phone calls and birthday messages) to making the process as easy for them as possible. Cut the jargon!

And finally, a few important points of advice:

  • Believe in yourself and value your service
  • Don’t be afraid of rejection
  • Learn from your mistakes and continue to improve
  • Build relationships with BDMs
  • Meet as many people as possible
  • Don’t procrastinate
  • Get a mentor

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