Marketing Corner – 3 Key Ways to Dial In Your Target Market

3 Key Ways to Dial In Your Target Market

Having worked with many advisors and agents, we find that most financial professionals identify their target market through simple constraints, such as age and income. This is certainly understandable because these are two key pieces of information used when generating an illustration and determining possible solutions for a prospect. However, there are many other factors you should consider when targeting clients. Considering these other factors and broadening your approach will help you target better and generate more consistent results in your marketing. Here are three key points to consider when dialing-in your target market.

Multiple Ideal Client Types

There are multiple ideal client types in different kinds of product lines and consumer profiles. Make sure that you have a good grasp of who are looking for in these different categories. Also, think about the common denominator shared by all of these client types that you are looking for.

The Persona Profile

Many companies will develop and target their ideal client by giving a hypothetical prospect an identity, complete with name, age, needs, occupation, hobbies and sometimes a backstory. Developing a “persona profile” can be a good strategy to think of when trying to delve into the psychological identity of a prospect or client type, but you don’t necessarily have to go so far as to develop a whole fictional person. Rather think about your target market beyond “age” and “income” to access a better understanding of who your clients are and what they need. This will help to tailor your specific messages and identify potential client touchpoints.

For instance, let’s say you wish to target retirees, or soon to be retirees. You want to target someone with investable income, a hobby or interest that reflects not only their assets but also quality of life concerns, and a need to protect the sum of their life.

So we have:

Retiree – Concerned about financial planning or is open to a financial planning conversation
Hobbies/Interests – Likes cars and sports

Your message can be placed in specific targeted media, like a car magazine or website, and connect the idea of “running on empty” to their financial plan. This is a simplistic example, but it demonstrates how much further you can reach just by thinking about your client’s hobbies or interests.

Another example:

Let’s say we have someone who his greatly involved in their community and local charities. This person is likely concerned with wealth transfer issues, be it to the groups he or she supports or to their own family.

Mind you, this isn’t radical thinking, but that’s why it matters and why it works. Not only do you expand your idea of a target client beyond age and income, but also you already have a direction in developing and placing your message.

Another reason why thinking about the hobbies and interests of potential clients is helpful is that a person with a passion will likely understand the value of a good financial plan because money will mean more to them than money; it will be the means to access and maintain what is important to them. Individuals generally don’t see money as cold numbers and figures—they see what they can do with it. So getting away from a numbers and figures approach in targeting will make your messages hit harder.

Life Events

In the previous section, we are really discussing using what people do as a means of targeting. You can also use what people experience as a way to access them. This includes the whole arc of a prospect’s life and the financial concerns that someone experiences at each milestone.

A new parent not only has a shift in financial expenses but also a shift in priorities, which makes them a likely candidate for a cash value life insurance policy. A person approaching retirement will have a whole host of concerns and complicated financial needs—from coordinating employer-sponsored benefits and shoring up other retirement assets. This person may also have interest Social Security and estate solutions. A new job, the loss of a job, marriage, the death of a spouse, all of these are major events that have a need for financial services, whether the person experiencing them realizes it.

If you want to increase the ROI on your marketing and produce better results, you need a firm grasp of the market you are going for. The better you understand the variety of your prospects, beyond simple input values such as age and income, the more focused and powerful your marketing will become.

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Marketing Corner – Writing an Effective Blog Post (Revisited)

Marketing Corner – Friday February 24th, 2017

Writing an Effective Blog Post (Revisited)

Social media and content marketing have dramatically shaped online interactions and consumer relationships. As an advisor and small business owner, you may feel like this type of marketing and branding isn’t relevant to the success of your company. But in truth, it is. Content marketing allows you to reach out to prospects and clients in a unique way, compared to other forms of marketing like direct mail. It is cheap, efficient, and when employed properly, doesn’t require too much of a time commitment.

Here are ten best practices for creating an effective content marketing channel.

Write About Topics That Matter To You
Blogging presents an opportunity for you to demonstrate your expertise and present information that reflects your experience and specialty. Writing on topics that you are passionate about will help keep you engaged with this form of content marketing.

Write About Topics That Matter To Your Audience
Knowing what will resonate with your audience is crucial with blogging—really with any kind of marketing. So write about concerns that affect individuals within your target market. What specific retirement or financial planning issues do they think about or should they think about? Discuss these issues and offer basic strategies to solve them.

Be Consistent
Many advisors will start a blog and then get swept up in the duties of running their practice. However, it is very important that you keep a regular schedule, as this will help to build a following and maintain momentum. Make sure to appropriate a portion of your time for blogging and content marketing. Even if you only do so for a few hours every couple of weeks, you should start to see traction as long as you maintain consistency.

Be Professional
Blogs can be used as informal messages from your company to your prospects and clients. Because of this, many people approach blogging very casually. While you do want to present your information in a humorous, perhaps loose tone, you should still create professional content that reflects well on you and your practice.

Don’t Be Afraid to Use “Voice”
One reason blogs can be so great at reaching out to your consumers is that you can present yourself as an actual human being. Establish a voice, speak informally, and break down complicated concepts in easy-to-understand terms. While this may seem to contradict the “Be Professional” point above, the important thing is balance. Don’t shy away from personality, but don’t be sloppy.

Balance Posts with Images and Related Videos
Content with images and short videos generally get more traction than those without. Seek out images and videos that enhance the points you are discussing. Make sure that you give proper attribution to sourced elements or use stock image services. If possible, create your own 1-2 minute short videos to illustrate core concepts within your blog post.

Adhere to Writing Basics
Just because it’s a blog, doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t demonstrate quality writing. Use proper grammar, diction, and appropriate tone when publishing your pieces. Break up large chunks of text into easy to read paragraphs. Make sure your piece has an overall purpose. Give your reader a reason to finish the post.

Share/Syndicate Through Other Platforms
Not only should you host your latest post on your website, you should syndicate it through other platforms. Sharing your post on LinkedIn or Facebook can be great at reaching a targeted audience through your connections or specific groups. In addition to these social media platforms, syndicate your content through niche websites or forums.

Respond to Current Events or Other Articles
Draw on current events that may be of importance to your audience. Is there a policy change that may affect your prospects? Are there seasonal topics that may resonate with your audience (e.g. tax-time, life insurance awareness month)? Did you come across an article that illustrates an aspect of financial planning you feel strongly about? Use it as a discussion point. The more you can tie your pieces to current events and other sources, the more they will have immediate relevance and credibility.

Use SEO Tools To Make Your Pieces SEO-Friendly
Creating content on a regular schedule helps to optimize your website’s placement in search engine results. But you should also use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest to find keywords that will boost your SEO ranking.
With SEO keywords a good balance is key. You certainly do not want to ignore keywords that may raise your ranking, but you also do not want to stuff your articles with unnecessary iterations of keywords. The latter may, in fact, hurt your web ranking.

**This post is part of Legacy Financial Partners’ ongoing Marketing Corner, a space that offers advisors short sales ideas, yellow-pad concepts, and alerts to aid advisors in lead conversion, marketing, and client relationship building.

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Marketing Corner – Four Key Components of a Strong Digital Marketing Campaign

Marketing Corner – Wednesday February 15th, 2017

Four Key Components of a Strong Digital Marketing Campaign

As digital solutions become more and more relevant to financial advisors and agents, you may be interested in your own digital campaigns. This is especially true when you consider how many potential consumers (yes, even Baby Boomers) are engaged in a variety of digital media. From building an email pipeline, to marketing an upcoming event like a seminar, to drawing eyes to your base website, digital marketing campaigns can become a vital part of your business. Here are four components of a strong digital marketing campaign.

Eye-Catching Display Ads

Display ads are available on many digital platforms, such as Google (AdWords), Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn. While the actual implementation of ads can be less than intuitive, these platforms generally offer inexpensive entry points for their display PPC campaigns. (We’ll discuss budget below). Your display ads should be eye-catching, relevant, and smooth-looking. There is certainly some difficulty in crafting effective display ads, given how little space you generally have to work with, which is why you may want to run two or three ad variations.

Other tips:

  • Facebook’s display ads will limit you to roughly 20% text in the image, with the idea that supporting text should be placed with the post for the ad.
  • When using AdWords, use three-four common ad sizes (i.e. full width, skyscraper)

A Good Marketing Budget

Many digital marketing solutions are low-cost or even free. You may incur some cost for subscription to a good email service manager or CRM. PPC campaigns will obviously involve some marketing spend. Usually, you’ll be able to set your budget as low or as high as you wish. But given that you bidding against other marketers, you should consider a healthy budget. Just like any budget, you are dealing with both money and time. A $100 spent over ten days will likely get you different results than $100 spent over one or two days. What will be the best budget for your campaign? That will all depend on your objectives and methods. Search campaigns, versus display ads, will often involve higher costs per clicks, since there may be more competition on specific intent keywords. You may wish to passively market, (what we often refer to as ambient marketing) with a low budget spread over a long period of time. You may wish to more aggressively market, with a higher spend in a shorter time (as is common for marketing events or seminars). Use the first few days of your campaign to evaluate and adjust.

A Great Landing Page

Last week we discussed five elements of a strong landing page. The point of a landing page is to provide consumers with a quick snapshot of your services, often built around a give or single topic. So make sure that the landing page incorporates appropriate web design best practices, has strong calls to action, and includes a form-submittal (since, in most cases, you are likely trying to capture consumer information to begin with).

Strong Digital Presence

While many digital campaigns will be built around the display ad to landing page to contact form model, your base website and social media profiles are still very important—especially if you link your base website or build the landing page within your company page. If a consumer is interested in your give—they did click on an ad to get your landing page after all—they will likely research other aspects of your digital presence. This means that your base website is clear, modern, and informative. This means that your social media profiles are claimed, with recent relevant posts and engagement. If your base website is outdated, you may want to overhaul it before committing yourself to a digital campaign. Likewise, if your social media is lacking (or non-existent) you may want to consider ramping up before a campaign.

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Marketing Corner – Five Key Components of A Strong Landing Page

Marketing Corner – Wednesday February 8th, 2017

Five Key Components of A Strong Landing Page

Landing pages are an effective digital marketing tool for capturing information and enticing consumers with a give. But often when advisors try to employ a landing page strategy, they misunderstand the purpose of these mini-sites. To help, here are five components of a killer landing page.

Focused Around A Single Topic, Message, or Give

One of the biggest mistakes advisors use when employing landing pages is trying to make them do too much. Ideally, a landing page website is a one or two-page website built around a single topic. It can have links or resources, so long as they relate to the main topic—but otherwise, everything about the site should inspire a consumer to submit contact information. So if you are marketing around a complimentary annuity rate report, the content on the webpage should focus on annuities, even if you have aptitude and abilities in other areas of financial planning.

Clear Layout With Easy To Read Text

The point of a landing page is to offer information or gives in a clear and uncluttered way. This means that the layout of your page should be as simple as possible. The copy text will likely be bigger than you would have on a base website since you have more space to fill and you want your key points to stand out. Use strong headlines to reinforce the purpose or value proposition of the landing page.

Strong Calls To Action

If your objective is to capture consumer information, make sure the calls to action are strong. This means that buttons and button text stand out, submission forms are clear and welcoming, and the give is actually something a consumer in your target market will want.

Succinct and Relevant Copy

The art of good copy on a landing page can be a tricky one to master. On the one hand, you want to offer educational information that gives consumers helpful details to make informed decisions. On the other hand, you want them to call, email, or submit a form. So a balance needs to be struck between non-sales education information and sales-like calls to action/value proposition. And this is something you have to do with a very low word count, often in the 150-300 word count range. But it is possible if you keep coming back to the main purpose of your landing page

Branding

While there may be some situations where you’ll want to keep the landing page separate from your base brand identity, having links, logos, and contact information for your main digital properties can inspire confidence in your consumers. This may also serve to attract individuals that may not be interested in the landing page topic but are responsive to other services you highlight on your main page.

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Marketing Corner – 5 Reasons Your Website Is Turning Away Consumers

Marketing Corner – Wednesday February 1st, 2017

5 Reasons Your Website Is Turning Away Consumers

You already know just how important a website is to your business. But most advisors, if they have a website, use it as a digital business card, and not a central hub to engage consumers. A good website works as both a passive and active marketing tool—consumers can stumble across your digital properties and get a sense of your value (passive) and they can be driven to the site by direct means such as content syndication, display advertising, and email marketing (active).

Think about websites that you visit—what inspires confidence in the services and expertise promised? What takes you, the advisor, from casual visitor to client? While you likely want to focus more on the activities that you are great at—engaging consumers face-to-face, belly-to-belly, in the field—you should appreciate how a good website is utterly critical for the success of your business.

Here are five reasons your website is turning away consumers.

You Don’t Have Fresh, Relevant Content

Every good website will have some element of a content marketing strategy. Consumers need to have a clear understanding of the services you provide and why you, off all firms, are right for them. But content should go beyond static product/services pages—there should be a pipeline of new, current content that gets placed on your site. This helps for a number of reasons. One, since fresh content is a ranking signal for many search engines, a regular stream of content can help with SEO, often with minimal effort. Two, it demonstrates your competency and expertise across many areas of financial planning. Three, related to the second point, relevant content across multiple topics opens you to a variety of consumers.

Your Website Is Poorly Designed

There are some areas of design that are subjective and tied to taste. However, your website should have some basics covered, such as:

• Logical root/page structure
• Pleasing (not distracting) color scheme
• Modern and professional fonts (no Papyrus, no Comic Sans, etc.)
• Clear and easy to read text (remember that many of your consumers are Boomers/Seniors)
• Responsiveness, meaning the site looks good on desktops as well as tablets and mobile devices
• Appropriately sized pictures, logos, and banners (not pixelated)
• Easy to find contact information

Your Website Is Too Salesy

A pinch of sales language isn’t a terrible thing to have on your website, but if your home page looks like a penny-saver ad for a used-car lot, you are going to turn off a lot of people seeking an experienced financial professional. Don’t be afraid to clearly and confidently state your value proposition, but be sure to back it up with friendly, professional, and educational content.

Your Website Lacks A Personal Touch

A personal touch can go a long way in separating you from your competitors and conveying a human approach to financial planning. Without going overboard (no one needs to see a thousand photos of your grandchild or dog) include photos/headshots of you and your family. Show your office. Incorporate visuals specific to your area.

Your Website is Outdated

Here “outdated” applies to a couple areas of your website.

Content
Your bio/about us should reflect up to date information, meaning that if you have been in the business since 2002, and you state that your firm has nearly a decade’s worth of experience, you are missing some years that can lend greater credibility. If your content references policies and procedures that have been since updated, you will not be seen as a valuable resource.

Web Design
Outdated web design includes elements or styles that are no longer current (clip art, 90s era graphics, 90s era layout) and platforms and hosting that don’t match with modern web standards (responsiveness, back-end elements, etc.).

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Marketing Corner – 6 Reasons Your Direct Mail Campaign Goes Bust

Marketing Corner – Wednesday January 25th, 2017

6 Reasons Your Direct Mail Campaign Goes Bust

We’ve said it before: even in our digitally-driven world, direct mail is still an effective marketing tool. From holiday cards, to promoting a seminar, to marketing your services, direct mail has a power and impact that some other solutions don’t have. Many advisors dipped their toes into direct mail and have been disappointed with their returns. Here are six reasons your direct mail campaign goes bust.

Your Targeting Isn’t Dialed In

Most mail houses offer targeting with their services, included in a base package or for additional costs. You provide them a set of filters—age, income, topic, etc.—and they build a list. A weak direct mail response rate can be due to improper filters and a misunderstanding of your target market demographics. It may be that you need to expand a radius or you need to adjust your age ranges. It will all depend. The more dialed in—the more you understand your target consumer profile—the more likely that your message will reach the right people.

Your Message Is Unclear

Your message should speak directly and uniquely to your target market, with design elements that compliment your overall goal. Many mail houses will have proven standard templates that can be adjusted for your campaigns. However, a too generic message may not work for all target markets. Make adjustments appropriately and judiciously. Be as direct as possible with regards to what you are offering and why consumers should reach out to you.

You Need More Due Diligence With The Direct Mail Vendor

When you first inquire about counts and pricing, make sure to ask detailed questions. If you simply ask for an average response rate on a particular mailer, the vendor may provide you national averages—when what you are really interested in are the local averages. The more detailed you are with your questions—whether about pricing, averages, customization, etc.—the more the vendor can work with you to build the best campaign possible.

You Don’t Incorporate Additional Marketing Activities

It’s important to remember that while direct mail can be effective for attracting certain consumer types, it is only one marketing activity. A good marketing mix will include several platforms that all point to the same direction. You can enhance your direct mail campaign with any number of simple marketing activities, like e-blasts, flyering, or digital display advertising. Structured and executed correctly, these additional marketing activities can reach many of the same individuals in your direct mail target list. This is what Legacy Financial Partners has developed with our Enhanced Tactical Marketing program.

You Don’t Consider The Timing Of The Mail Drop

Timing is very important when issuing pieces of direct mail. In general, you’ll want to avoid weekends and high-profile holidays. But timing goes beyond this. You should be aware of the events happening in your community that might eat into your responses.

Your Campaign Isn’t Being Done At A High Enough Volume Or Frequency

You may think that you can try a thousand or two-thousand piece mail campaign and get a proportionate result of a five-thousand or ten-thousand campaign. But you have to conduct campaigns in large enough volumes or with enough frequency that the law of averages has a chance to play out.

So if a mail house reports that a mailer typically gets a 2% response rate and you purchase 1000 pieces, you may think that you can expect 20 individuals (or buying units) to make an appointment or come to your seminar. 20 people or households is not a bad audience if you think you can get a hold of every single one, can make appointments with every single one, and can clear business with every single one.

But the reality is that from response to conversion, your pool of buying units will dwindle. In this scenario, if your pool reduces by half each step, you are left with 2.5 buying units. (20 responses, able to contact 10, get 5 to come to seminar or make appointments, clear 2.5 units worth of casework.) This scenario uses consistent numbers for the sake of simple illustration—the attrition from your pool of respondents can be higher or lower and won’t likely be a perfect percentage reduction.

Most mail houses won’t recommend campaigns below 2,500 pieces and will caution you to hedge your expectations should you choose to do a low number. You could hope that additional marketing activities can boost the impact of a low-piece mailer, but even this will have a threshold of effectiveness. And sometimes mail campaigns go sideways for factors outside any one’s control—which is why frequency comes in to play.

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Marketing Corner – Overcoming Prospecting Pitfalls

Marketing Corner – Wednesday January 18th, 2017

Overcoming Prospecting Pitfalls

Let’s begin with a less-than-controversial statement: prospecting is hard business. This is true even if you are lucky enough to convert a sale on the first interaction because after you have satisfied that client, you have to think about where the next one will come from. Prospecting, especially within the financial services industry, is never-ending, with very few fish that jump into the boat.

The problem that many advisors and agents have with prospecting is a somewhat unrealistic attitude of instant conversion. Many of the advisors we work with have an immediate need. They may not be getting the same amount of leads they used to or they may have a harder than usual time converting prospects into clients. While there are things in the immediate that advisors and agents can do to work through these challenges—such as purchasing leads, boosting web presence, and repositioning overall marketing strategies—you should also work to manage your prospecting expectations, and understand better payoffs often come with time.

Here are some prospecting pitfalls, followed by some thoughts on how to overcome prospecting challenges:

Prospecting Pitfalls

Your net is too wide, too narrow, or too unvaried.

As we’ve discussed before good marketing comes down to understanding your target market and understanding the consumer profiles within your broader target market. So is the answer to become niche? Not exactly. Be both broad and niche. Have varied and dynamic marketing strategies, ones that are rooted in what works and allows for experimentation.

The natural inclination is to try to convert the sale immediately

This can create tunnel vision. Obviously, when interacting when with prospects, you should make the best case for your services and solutions, but turning away from a consumer once it becomes clear they aren’t ready can waste an opportunity that occurs once they are ready.

You spend time burning and turning leads, rather than growing the seeds of opportunity.

Again prospecting is hard business, taking up significant time and resources. Why would you want to spend effort on a busted lead, when you could try your magic on a fresh prospect? Isn’t prospecting a numbers game? Yes, but it’s a numbers game on multiple axes of movement. If you only go after slam-dunks, you will miss the other shots that let you ultimately win the game.

It’s not an “either, or” situation. You can still aggressively pursue those clients that convert on a first pass and also have a measured approach to prospects that need time.

Some Suggestions for Overcoming Prospecting Pitfalls

Manage Expectations

You undoubtedly hope that trigger events such as retirement will make prospects susceptible to your charm and expertise. Understand that these trigger events are not the same thing as a prospect screaming, “I need help, now!” It means that a consumer has a potential need, likely in the near future. It also probably means that the consumer will explore a lot of options and consider their overall goals by the time they reach you and that your initial interactions with them will be seen as part of their option-weighing process.

Even if you have gathered a group of pre-retirees for your seminar on Social Security or Retirement Portfolio Maximization, you may get very little or no appointments out of that. But you have inserted yourself into those individuals’ evaluation process, assumed an authoritative role, and provided good information. What may be a failure in the short-term could very well be a success in the long-term. This is why when you do live events you capture as much prospect information as possible–for analysis and follow-up.

Use Direct Mail and Drip Email Campaigns for Serial Contact

Direct mail is an old-school way of marketing that still proves its worth, especially with pre-retiree consumers. So don’t discount it just yet. Drip email campaigns provide serial contact that track along with a prospect’s long-term decision-making process. So while a consumer takes the time necessary to figure out their financial priorities and weigh their planning options, they will have a periodic reminder of your services, expertise, and interactions.

If you can automate this process, even better. This will allow you to split your time between immediate converts and long-range opportunities.

For more information on drip campaigns, read our post “5 Best Practices of a Drip Marketing Campaign.”

FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP.

Always follow-up on a prospect. Demonstrate your concern and expertise. Provide a personal touch.

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Year End Offer

Jumpstart 2017 With Our Top Sales Kits

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Over this past year, Legacy Financial Partners created numerous guides, posts, and cheat sheets, all designed to help advisors everywhere with best practices and key marketing insights.

As thanks for a great year—and to help advisors gain a head start on 2017—we are offering two key sales kits for instant download. Fill out the form to receive our New Year Revitalization Guide and The Informed Advisor. You will also find our top six Marketing Corner posts from the past year.

Follow us for more kits and tips throughout the New Year, including our upcoming 17 Sales Ideas For 2017

Thank you and Happy New Year from Legacy Financial Partners.

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New Year Revitalization Guide


This kit has 9 actionable items that help you understand your year in business and why a marketing plan is critical to your success in 2017.

Learn:

  • How to properly evaluate your year
  • Why production isn’t the only indicator for success
  • How to create an effective marketing plan
  • Why specific goals are important for a productive, successful 2017

The Informed Advisor Guide


This kit is a collection of eye-opening marketing statistics culled from recent research to give advisors struggling with marketing and prospecting real world insight.

Learn practical information about:

  • Email marketing
  • Direct mail
  • Social media
  • Mobile
  • Web design
  • Video and more

Top 6 Marketing Corner Posts from 2016

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15 Ways To Ruin A First Appointment

A successful first appointment with a prospect is crucial to converting them into a client. This post discusses 15 different ways advisors ruin the ever-important first appointment.

5 Tips For Story Selling

Story Selling is a powerful concept for advisors to connect with prospects and clear business. This post discusses 5 Story Selling tips that turn your pitches into resonant interactions.

6 Challenges Advisors Face Today

Advisors face many challenges throughout their career, from establishing a practice, building a client base, marketing, and dealing with downturns. This post presents 6 challenges advisors face in today’s…

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The New Marketing Funnel

A common way to diagram the path a lead takes to conversion is a funnel. This post discusses how lead flow through your marketing pipeline is less a downward path and more a non-linear process…

5 Low-Cost, Simple, and Obvious Marketing Solutions

While marketing has only become more sophisticated and tech-driven, there are proven simple marketing activities that you shouldn’t forget.

10 Reasons Why Your Prospect Says “No”

Why does a prospect reject your pitch? This post discusses key reasons prospects say no and simple things you can turn that may turn them into a yes.

Marketing Corner – 3 Ways To Reach Across Generations

Marketing Corner – Thursday December 15th, 2016

3 Ways To Reach Across Generations

Advisors focus much effort on prospecting and marketing to new clients. While you should absolutely maintain a steady stream of new faces, there are several opportunities for you to grow based on the individuals you already work with. Referral sourcing is one way. Another way—and one greatly underexplored—is generational service, that is, retaining assets when a spouse of a client dies and taking on their children as clients when both parents die.

At the death of a spouse, a financial advisor retains the living spouse about 50% of the time. Once the other spouse dies, the advisor retains the assets only 2% of the time. This may seem like a significant challenge to maintaining generational clients, especially with retention up the family tree dropping so severely. However this is still a good opportunity because there are a few very simple and actionable things you can do to increase the likelihood of generational retention.

Know Your Clients (And Their Families) Well

The easiest way to create a lasting relationship with multiple generations of a family is to be an important part of their lives. This is not to say you should invite yourself over to family reunions or holiday gatherings, but learn about your client’s family and demonstrate your interest in their lives, beyond finances. Keep attuned to life events and reach out appropriately.

Create Strong Relationships With Both Spouses

Even in dual income households, there will typically still be one spouse responsible for financial concerns. You will probably spend most of your time with this spouse, especially after you establish a financial plan and are in maintenance mode on that plan. Follow-ups and check-ins will likely route through this spouse. This creates a problem when this individual dies, as you now have a limited relationship with the surviving spouse.

Instead of dealing with one spouse, suggest participation from both spouses and issue communications (calls, emails, follow-up letters) to both parties. Make sure the secondary spouse feels included throughout the whole financial process, eliciting responses and opinions from them. Certainly couples do not always agree about money, but with your knowledge, care, and expertise, you can also act as mediator between disagreements. Remember that you are helping them to achieve their financial goals.

Likewise, if there are legacy planning concerns, include the adult children so that they know who you are and what their parent’s wishes are for the assets. This will not only clarify what the assets are, it will serve to mitigate any infighting between the children once the estate is divvied up. Plus the adult children have been introduced to someone their parents trusted with their financial planning and thus are more likely to entrust you with product solutions once the assets are transferred to them.

Retain the Next Generation

The next generation down from your boomer clients will probably fit within the Gen Y/Millennial demographic. You might assume that this generation has different priorities regarding finance and quality of life. However, by and large, they want much of what the previous generation wanted. Millennials, saddled with student debt and faced with a volatile economy, are concerned with financial plans and retirement resources, which for you presents a great opportunity, especially if you already have a family relationship with them.

Although the next generation down values the core aspects of retirement planning (or at least worries about retirement), Millennials do have different communication styles and unique experiences that shape their behaviors and attitudes. This generation is very digitally savvy and appreciates more informal or semi-formal interactions.

So while succeeding with the adult children of your boomer clients may require an adjustment in presentation and communication style, their financial needs and wants are roughly the same as their parents.

Ultimately retaining several generations of a family comes down to you doing what you do best: having great interactions (with the whole family), providing excellent service and solutions, and attuning yourself the unique client you are dealing with.

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Marketing Corner – 10 Reasons Why Your Prospect Says “No”

Marketing Corner – Thursday, December 7th, 2016

10 Reasons Why Your Prospect Says “No”

Advisors experience many no’s throughout their career. It’s simply a matter of course in business and in sales. A no can happen anytime as you engage with a prospect–from the first minutes of an appointment, to after the meeting, to follow-up work, to recommending another solution. The common way advisors approach no’s is playing the numbers game—i.e. after so many no’s you’re bound to get a yes. (Think of the old sales cliché “99 no’s and a yes is still a yes.) While this method of prospecting can work for some producers, there is value in understanding why a prospect says no—especially when there are simple things that you can do to turn them into a yes.

Here are 10 reasons your prospect says no.

They Don’t Trust You

Trust is crucial in converting a prospect to a client. If a prospect doubts whether you are reliable, truthful, and sincere, they are likely to dismiss any great advice you offer. Clients and prospects may not trust you for a variety of reasons, such as you are too eager to sell, your body language is protective and closed off, or they are naturally suspicious of financial advisors.

Build trust by explaining your credentials and experience. Discuss your approach/mission statement and address any concerns a prospect has about the financial planning process head-on. Exhibit confidence, but use warm body language.
For body language tips, check out our previous posts, 5 Body Language Tips for Keeping a Prospect Interested and 7 Non-Verbal Redflags You’re Losing Your Prospect.

They Don’t Understand

Some prospects you deal with will have a comprehensive knowledge of financial planning and only need you to facilitate solutions. Some may understand the basics of annuities or life insurance. Others may not have any understanding of financial and retirement planning. All types of prospects you encounter may balk if they don’t understand the information you provide.

To ensure that your prospect understands—truly understands—first assess their experience with financial planning. Ask them early in the appointment what types of concepts, products, or solutions they are familiar with. Use this information to determine the level of complexity you bring to your solutions. An individual that has no experience with financial planning may need several levels of breakdown before they understand what you present to them. This is also where concept sheets and yellow-pad concepts can help. Check for knowledge as you move through your presentation.

They’re Not Emotionally Connected With The Solution

A prospect may understand the solution you present with clear logic, but if they aren’t emotionally connected to it, they are less likely to see its value for them.

To ensure that your presentation has the proper “punch,” tie products and solutions to the prospect’s end goal—what they truly hope to achieve. Deferred growth or tax-advantaged wealth transfer is great, but what does that mean at the end of the day? How does that fit with what the client is really trying to achieve?

They’re Overwhelmed

Even simple product solutions can have complex components. Think about how something like a fixed indexed annuity—relatively simple in concept—can be broken down into many different pieces. Even if the consumer understands the individual components, it can be difficult for them to see how the pieces fit together. This is especially true if you are dealing with multiple planning objectives that intertwine.

Avoid overwhelming the consumer using some of the tips discussed in the previous two points. Check for knowledge, use concept sheets, draw illustrative diagrams or maps, and highlight the key benefits. Bring everything back to larger picture.

They’re In The Infancy Of Their Planning Process

Someone who is early in their income-earning phase may not be ready for long-range solutions. Younger consumers may not see the value of retirement planning, when retirement can seem so far off for them. Likewise, older clients may be in the early stages of retirement planning and are not ready to commit to a particular solution.

Highlight the importance of planning early and identify solutions that match with their current lifestyle goals.

They’re Not Confident In Your Solution

There are many different reasons why a consumer may lack confidence in your solution. They may have a key misunderstanding about how it works (if so, see previous points above). They may not trust you as a financial professional. They may have a bias against certain types of solutions based on anecdotal information or news articles.

If the consumer seems to be suspicious of the solution, simply ask them why. Respond using facts and deconstruct the steps to illustrate how this is the best way to accomplish their financial goals. Explore other solutions they feel more confident in.

You Don’t Have The Decision-Maker In The Room

You’ve undoubtedly experienced this situation before: you present a good solution to a consumer. The appointment goes great; you are charming and the consumer indicates they understand clearly the information you’ve given them. Then they say, I’ll have to check with my wife or husband.

This is why many advisors try to involve key family members in the planning process as much as possible. By doing this, you increase the chances you are able to speak to the decision-maker. The rest of the family gets to know and trust you, reducing the likelihood of issues down the line. A family that knows and trusts you can then become a whole generation of clients, with a variety of planning needs.

They Don’t Feel Like You Care

A knowledgeable financial expert is worthless to a consumer if they feel like the advisor doesn’t care or doesn’t have their best interest in mind. Remember that financial and retirement planning very often involves high personal stakes for consumers. To them it’s how they will survive in retirement or pass on a legacy. Do not take the privilege of handling their money lightly.

As you engage with the consumer, demonstrate empathy and clearly listen.


Client Feels Like They Are Being Sold

“Nobody wants to be sold, but everybody wants to buy,” goes the old sales cliché. There’s some truth to this and if you are too eager to sell without drawing on the other things that aid your presentation—such as ensuring the consumer understands the solution, emotionally connecting the solution to their goals, and demonstrating empathy—you will sour the appointment.

Sales is always a part of any recommendation and most consumers implicitly understand this. Amplify the sales aspect of the appointment only in key moments, using the rest of the time to connect with the consumer and provide good information.

You Fail To Understand What Is Truly Important To the Client

A consumer can give you a no if you overlook or ignore what truly matters to them. If they state they don’t want to deal with life insurance and you present a life insurance solution without addressing their previously stated objections first, they will feel like you are not listening to them. If the solution doesn’t satisfy their key objective, then they are likely to distrust you, even if the solution you present has great benefits.
As you engage with the consumer during the appointment, make sure to take good notes, ask probing questions, and tie everything to the consumer’s stated goals.

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