Our Asset Protection Model (APM) of relationship selling is tailored to every agency who desires to implement it based on the agency’s culture, level of automation, and number, type and levels of sales staff. The Contact Grid is the management system by which the agency employees manage their relationships with the clients and prospects, and the agency management controls and knows that the expected contacts are being made as scheduled. The Contact Grid is a concept that can be done manually, automated through MS Office (in Excel) or managed through one of several contact management software versions (i.e. ACT, Goldmine, etc).
In the simplest terms, the Contact Grid is a listing of every client and prospect with notations of how often that particular client should be contacted. In the Asset Protection Model, every client should have his visitation schedule defined by his desired contact frequency, not the agency’s schedule. Then each contact should have a topic and goal of the person assigned to make the contact (Acct Exec, Client Consultant, Relationship Manager, etc). No call is ever made without an agenda or expectation of results. The master list in date order becomes the manager’s “tickler file.” The list, sorted by responsible employee and date becomes the employee’s reminder of required personal contacts during the year. Every personal contact must be entered into the results section of the Contact Grid including the next step in the relationship building process and showing the manager what has been accomplished. If the Contact Grid is not completed, the manager uses that omission to manage the employee and find out whether the contact was made and what happened or to remind the employee to make the contact. The Asset Protection Model permits employees to self-manage, but the manager maintains control by virtue of the “living, changing” Contact Grid.
So, if the Relationship Manager (formerly called producers under the quote/sell model) finds that a new client should be seen four times each year to maintain and advance the relationship, that client goes on the Grid for four contacts during the year. Each contact is scheduled with a topic to be discussed and a goal for the agency employee responsible for the contacts. At the conclusion of the contact, the employee enters the “intelligence” gathered during the contact and confirms the next contact and goal. Within the APM, each contact is meant to advance the relationship by delivering a service such as an analysis of one of the client’s asset risks or a product like auditing the compliance to a federal regulation under which the client is mandated to comply – an added value for the client’s use of the agency’s services.
The purpose of Contact Grid is to provide both the employee and management a control and reminder mechanism that will contain all of the intelligence gathered on the client or prospect sorted by Name and by date, an order of progression of the relationship and a Plan of Action for what products and services to provide to that client/prospect over the next twelve months. The best APM agents add a future contact for each client/prospect as the current contact is made in order to have an on-going Rolling 12 Month Grid at all times.
The Contact Grid is just one more component of the Asset Protection Model. We isolate it in this article because many agents who find the APM too radical to implement in their agencies still find the Contact Grid a great management tool, regardless of how you manage your clients and prospects.