Prospects will approach you with a wide variety of requirements in mind. This applies both to the type of advice or potential products they are seeking, and also at various stages of their “buying cycle.
We’ve previously covered the buying cycle of clients in more detail in a previous article here, however as a very brief reminder we set out the concept of AIDA. This is an acronym that is usually used in relation to advertising to describe a buying cycle, but can also be applied to the services offered by a financial planner or broker.
AIDA in this context stands for
Each of these steps is part of the mental journey that a client will embark upon, before he or she decides to use the services of a financial planner. However when they come to you initially, they can pretty much be at any of the four stages – they may have moved through some of them before contacting you. It is important for you to remain alert and capable of delivering on each of the steps, to meet the needs of each specific prospect.
Our previous article covered the key steps that you need to take with prospects at each of the four stages of their buying journey. The focus of this piece is on some of the conditions you need to consider to connect with a modern consumer throughout the buying cycle.
The importance of relationships
Of course building strong, trusted relationships sits at the core of the proposition of virtually every single financial planner. However not all planners seek for this relationship to extend to the partner of the prospect that reached out to you. Some financial planners still happily meet clients, without seeking the prospect’s spouse or partner to also attend.
Decisions about household finances are often not made on the spot by clients, instead they are made back in the comfort of their homes with the input of their life partner. Not having attended the meeting with you can result in the partner missing some of the nuances behind your advice, and also results in the partner not having the opportunity to ask questions that are bothering them. And the outcome is that action can stall… or issues can arise down the road. Where possible, always meet the client and their partner.
Research sources are far more accessible for prospects today
Prospects approach you far more loaded (with information) than before. Often when they speak to you for the first time, they know a lot about you, in fact significantly more at this stage than you know about them! If they have initiated the contact, this probably means that they were sufficiently impressed with what they read / saw / heard to still press ahead and make contact.
But are there prospects out there who hear about you, carry out some research and then not make contact? It’s critically important that you can tick the following boxes to connect with today’s consumer.
- Your website must look very professional, be very engaging and must demonstrate your particular proposition and points of difference.
- Today more than 60% of Google searches are carried out on mobile devices. Having a website that is not responsive to mobile devices is simply a business death wish.
- Your social media presence is so important too. Just Google your own name and see how prominent your LinkedIn profile is in the search results. Your LinkedIn profile must impress.
- All of the above require a constant, consistent stream of fresh content. Digital assets that are clearly not maintained say a lot of (not good) things to consumers…
Your “seller journey” must lead to a face-to-face meeting
Advisers today all have a common goal – to get the opportunity to sit down face-to-face with prospects who they have qualified as suitable clients going forwards. Then you get the opportunity to properly set out your proposition and how you can positively influence their lives. To achieve this, it is so important that wherever the prospect is on their own buyer journey, they must be gently encouraged towards this goal of meeting you. The benefit and value for them of actually sitting down with you must be positioned carefully within your messaging at every opportunity, so that the client also shares that goal of actually meeting you.
Simply asking to meet the client with no context or positioning can feel like a sales push to the client. Your chances of building a lasting relationship are far higher where you have carefully set out the value for them of meeting you.
Good financial planners today can transform the lives of their clients by bringing strategy, structure and sense to their financial affairs. However prospects need help to discover this value that you add. Help them do it!