Marketing tips for Financial Advisers

A number of financial advisers have said to me over the last few months something along the lines of, “I don’t have the time / resources to carry out a full marketing planning process at the moment, so what are the 4 or 5 quick wins that I should look to achieve in the meantime?” While I’m obviously an advocate of the benefits of a rigorous planning approach and have seen many times the value that it brings, here are a few ideas to work on.

 

Think Engagement

Audiences everywhere are tough. They don’t have time to be bored or brow beaten by orthodox, old-fashioned advertising. We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in & be what people are interested in.”

Craig Davis, Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide, J. Walter Thompson (world’s 4th largest ad agency)

 

The world of marketing for financial advisers is evolving in response to changing business and customer environments. Traditional marketing methods such as advertising, sponsorship, seminars, entertainment and direct marketing are no longer enough on their own.

“…as you’ve noticed people don’t want to be sold . What people do want is news and information about the things they care about.

Larry Weber, author of “Marketing to the Social Web”.

Inbound Marketing (or ’permission marketing’) looks at new marketing methods that earn the attention of’ prospects or customers. The aim is no longer to talk ‘at’ your customers. Now it’s important to engage customers, primarily by producing ‘content’ (often online) that customers value.

“If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you’ve more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing”.

Guy Kawasaki, former Chief Evangelist, Apple.
So, the learning from these quotes for financial advisers is that you can’t always be in sales mode. Your marketing efforts need to look to engage your prospects, existing customers and other contacts to earn you their ear as someone to be listened to. If they view you as a financial advice expert, they are then more likely to consult you as their own financial advice needs emerge.

 

Clarify your Proposition

One of the areas of greatest opportunity I see for financial advisers when it comes to marketing is in clarifying and communicating their value proposition. To my mind, you have to nail your first meeting with a client. You’ve got to be able to show them and leave them in no doubt that you are the only financial adviser for them.

You won’t do this by diving into the fact find! Instead, you’ll win their attention by taking time to walk them through your points of difference and the methodology you are going to use to improve their financial health. Show this visually, take time over it, prove your worth to them.

 

Capture your Data Religiously

Your data is the enabler of your marketing efforts. Without relevant data, you are restricted in the activities that you can carry out and then unable to measure the success of activities. I see poor data among some Financial Advisers in two areas in particular. The first is not having email addresses for all of your clients. This really limits you in your marketing efforts as email offers a very effective, easy and low cost way to get messages in front of your clients. If done well, email marketing can be very effective.

The second area of poor data that I encounter is in relation to the source of leads. Many Financial Advisers feel that they intuitively know where their leads came from but cannot back this up with hard data. Often when data starts to be recorded, the results really surprise them! Recording the source of leads is really important, as it is a strong guide when trying to decide which marketing activities to repeat in the future.

 

Develop a Stockpile of Quality Content Ideas

Another challenge that many Financial Advisers face (who have bought into the merits of Inbound Marketing) is developing a consistent stream of quality content for their repeating marketing activities. This arises with websites, newsletters, blogs and other social media activities. Also, fresh content is a core requirement for a successful Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy. We’ve all seen the first issue of a newsletter that is really very impressive but that is just not followed up by future editions. Often this is as a result of the author struggling for ideas for content for the subsequent issues.

I suggest that you should capture the titles and key points of your first 5 or 6 editions before you start the activity at all. This will help you to avoid “writer’s block” when you sit down to pen the future editions of your communication.

Finally, put the effort into ensuring the quality of your writing. Put the effort into writing engaging content, but more importantly, make sure your grammar and spelling are 100% accurate. Otherwise, get someone to do it for you.

 

Harness the Power of LinkedIn

Social media has exploded onto the scene over the last few years. Central to this for Financial Advisers is LinkedIn, which offers great opportunities for them to connect with existing and prospective clients. Financial Advisers who aren’t on LinkedIn are at a serious disadvantage in terms of the missed opportunities to research potential clients and to connect and add value to prospective and existing clients.

For those who are using LinkedIn, make sure it doesn’t just become a glorified address book! LinkedIn offers so many opportunities to engage your contacts through sharing value-adding content that will keep you top of mind with them in relation to financial matters. So, complete your profile fully, build up your connections and then add value those connections to stand out from the crowd!

I hope these few, simple ideas were useful to you. Please feel free to leave any comments below or share the article with others.

How’s your sales presentation?

Successful brokers use great sales presentations. Always in my experience. How good is yours?

As part of my work with brokers, I ask them to show me their sales presentations. Some look blankly at me, some fish out a hodgepodge of PowerPoint slides that have obviously been cut and pasted from different presentation over the years. However some really blow me away with the quality of their presentations, both in terms of the preparation of really impressive material and then also in the delivery method. They are obviously very well practiced. What’s the impact? Well, it leaves me thinking every time, “this is the sort of adviser I want!”

Sales presentations with prospective clients, particularly at the first meeting are critical to get right. The client will very quickly begin to form an opinion of you so it is very important that you open impressively with them. Lack of preparation and “winging it” will very quickly become apparent.

If you’ve spent hours making dozens of lead generation calls and developing potential relationships with clients, then the last thing you want to do is blow it through lack of preparation of your sales presentations!

Here are some easy steps to creating more effective sales presentations;

Don’t just have a chat!
Don’t have the first meeting with an empty page. While you obviously can’t pre-prepare for every part of the meeting, I firmly believe you need to set the agenda and drive the meeting. This can best be achieved by having a roadmap for the meeting; at a minimum a written agenda, preferably a visual map of how you advise clients or walking through a corporate brochure that shows how you are different from the rest.

Better still, use technology. Prepare a short, visual presentation demonstrating how you add value to your clients and load it onto a tablet. These are great for 1:1 meetings.

The other benefit of this approach is that it stops you diving immediately into problem-solving mode. It gives you the opportunity to get breathing space to demonstrate how you are different to other advisers.

Have a take-away
In addition to the presentation (or brochure), have a copy for the client to take away from the meeting. They may want to mull over some of the points again. At a minimum, they’ll favourably compare your preparation to that of less active advisers. Best case? They may come back looking for further clarification of your approach! This will allow you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise again.

Know the logistics
It might sound obvious but be really clear who you’re meeting and their position in the company. Research them beforehand, check them out if possible on the company website and their LinkedIn profile if they have one. It’s amazing what this might reveal – common interests, maybe you went to the same school or have common LinkedIn connections. All of these are opportunities to build sociability.

Also know how many people you’re meeting and if more than one, try to find out about where you’re meeting. If you’re meeting a group of people, there’s no point turning up with one paper copy of a presentation! You might need a projector etc.

Finally, have enough business cards for everyone and your take-away document for “everyone in the audience!” Preparing properly will help you to take control of the meeting and direct it as you require.

Get ready for the speed-bumps
Now the best laid presentations rarely go without some sort of a curve ball thrown at you. Spend time beforehand thinking of potential awkward questions and how you’re going to deal with them. As new difficult questions are asked, deal with them as best you can but also take note of them mentally. Spend time afterwards reviewing how you dealt with them and capture this. It’ll help you in future presentations.

Also take note of areas that clients just weren’t “getting”. Is there a better way to get your point across? Seek help if need be from a colleague or peer who might show you a better way.

Practice and then practice again
Winging it just doesn’t work, you’re going to make mistakes. There’s nothing worse than someone stumbling aimlessly along, unsure of what they’re going to say next. Now you might get away with it, but sometimes, the mistakes come through with the important clients. Road test your approach on a colleague, family member, anyone who won’t cost you a lost sale!

I’ve been dealing with one brilliant adviser in recent months. He has asked to road test his full introductory meeting and advice process on me. A great idea as he can make all the mistakes he likes and hopefully I can give some constructive opinion of the meeting. In any event, this guy is always very well prepared so I’m looking forward to being wowed by his approach!

At the end of the day, you can’t be too well prepared for a sales presentation. Don’t worry about sounding scripted, in fact you’ll sound far more natural as you’ll have confidence as a result of your preparation.

I hope these points help you deliver more effective sales presentations. I welcome any comments you might leave below.