Marketing Corner – 15 Ways To Ruin A First Appointment

An advisor’s first face-to-face meeting with a prospect is, like all first impressions, very important. Your prospect gains a sense of you as a professional and service provider. If they leave the appointment confused or with a bad taste, they probably won’t park their retirement with you, no matter your years of experience or credentials. While some advisors are naturally proficient at nailing initial meetings with prospects, there are many easy ways advisors—even the best—can tank first appointments. Such as:

selYou Are Too Eager To Sell

One of the easiest ways to ruin a first appointment is to sell right away or sell too hard. First appointments are really about getting to know each other and focusing on products will make you more of a salesperson, rather than a financial professional. Instead of focusing on products, focus on solutions and results. Products are just tools that solve problems.

You Talk About Yourself Too Much

It’s good to build rapport and explain your background/qualifications, but going on about yourself will make you seem egotistical, narcissistic, and take away time that your prospect can use to voice their specific concerns.

You Don’t Engage The Consumer

Even with a two-way conversation, it’s possible for you to not engage with your consumer properly. Ask them questions and relate information back to their specific goals or vision for retirement.

clockYou Don’t Give The Consumer Time To Process Information

In the course of the appointment, you may delve into complex financial topics or discuss important options. Give the consumer time to process this information and ask clarifying questions. Guide them through their options and help them piece together for themselves the ideal solution.

You Don’t Ask Probing Questions

There may be other factors outside of a fact-finder sheet that determine if a product or solution is appropriate. Ask probing questions to get a better sense of your prospect and the full picture of their unique situation.

You Ignore Key Details And Goals

The prospect will likely outline their needs and retirement goals. Pay attention to this information. Discussing solutions that ignore these goals will alienate the consumer, leaving them with an impression that you aren’t listening.

You Don’t Take Notes

Taking notes throughout the appointment not only helps you keep track of important details, it also demonstrates your care and professionalism to the consumer.

handshakYou Fail To Demonstrate Empathy

One of that main reasons people seek financial advisors, over say, a robo-advisor, is the sense of care and connection they get working with a real human being. This really comes down to being an empathetic professional, meaning that you demonstrate your awareness of how important the consumer’s goals are. Being able to read and respond to emotions, such as confusion, fear, and frustration, is very helpful as you work through the appointment. Remember that for most consumers money is only as good as the security and protection it provides. You may also deal with consumers who recently lost spouses or parents.

You Over Explain

Key financial concepts and solutions can require detailed explanations. However, using too much technical jargon or bringing in unnecessary information outside the topic at hand can overwhelm the consumer.

You Under Explain

On the other hand, not providing a clear, full explanation of a process or product inhibits the consumer’s ability to see how it might be appropriate for them.

confusedpaperworkYou Are Boring

Financial services involve numbers, processes, and details that may not be the most exciting, even if they serve to illustrate exactly what the consumer needs. Most people don’t care about the internal mechanisms or economic theory behind a solution; they care about a secure retirement. So what is exciting or compelling to you, a person who lives and breathes in the financial world, may not be to the consumer. Always bring solutions to the consumer’s level and make it come to life through relatable metaphors. Break up long instances of speech with questions or checks for knowledge. Use visuals.

You Dominate The Conversation

While you are the expert and will likely have a lot to say regarding a consumer’s situation, dominating the conversation makes the consumer feel invalidated. Allow your consumer time to interject. Make them feel comfortable to ask questions.

Your Lose Control Of The Session

You certainly shouldn’t dominate the conversation, but you should also not lose control of the session by letting a prospect go on and on. Keep the conversation focused on a specific need or goal. This goal, may involve many individual concerns or considerations, but having an ultimate goal that they all move toward can help keep the session focused and help you maintain control over the appointment.

goodadviceYour Explanations And Solutions Are All Over The Place

Your explanations and solutions should move in a structured manner. Approaching solutions from all angles at once causes the consumer to withdraw.

You Don’t Relate Information Back To The Needs or Goals

What does your prospect ultimately need or want? A secure retirement? Upside potential? College funding? All three? Every solution is going to involve detailed processes and specific considerations. Bring your prospect in closer by relating the solution back to their goal. For example, after explaining an overfunding IUL strategy, say, “This allows you to retire safely and send little Jenna to college.”

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Marketing Corner – The New Marketing Funnel

Marketing Corner – Wednesday May 18th, 2016

The New Marketing Funnel

A common way of thinking about your prospect flow is a funnel. This is a tried-and-true way of organizing lead flow as prospects move through your marketing channels. It helps you understand where leads are in your marketing process, allowing you to match marketing efforts appropriately to prospect interest and growing familiarity with your services.

At the top of the funnel, you have a pool of clients, with sections of the funnel corresponding to levels of touch, interest, or activity, until they drip out of the funnel and become a client.

This visual metaphor may work to explain the overall direction a lead travels before converting into a client. However, because of how digitally-driven marketing is now—even for financial advisors—the funnel is no longer an appropriate way to describe lead flow. Lead flow is less a downward path and more a non-linear process.

A prospect may find you because of a SEM campaign or they may recognize your real-world ads like fliers and posters. The prospect may become aware of you because of direct mail and visit your base website. They may respond to a digital ad and recognize you as the company that sponsored a community summer concert series. They may respond to your social media activity and sign-up for your newsletter. All of your marketing components may be involved before they give you call or respond to your offer. The point is there is not always a direct line from the first engagement to conversion and this path can involve many different portals of engagement.

Why is this important? Prospects expect to find you in multiple places and will seek you out in various marketing verticals. While it can be difficult to track the true path a prospect follows, you do have opportunities to enhance this new marketing flow. For instance:

Remarketing

Remarketing as concept essentially means marketing again to someone who showed interest or engaged with you. In this sense, it is very similar to drip marketing. But in digital advertising, remarketing refers to showing ads to respondents or visitors to your website. A little piece of code (known as a pixel) signals back to the base campaign and issues further advertising or offers. This can be implemented on your base website as leads travel through various pages. It can also be implemented through AdWords or Facebook campaigns, greatly enhancing brand awareness and increasingly the possibility of prospect action.

Drip Campaigns

There are many ways to develop a drip campaign. Drip campaigns can be easily automated through email. The act of you regularly following-up with a lead (like say through phone and email) is a form of a drip campaign. While your marketing overall may be non-linear, drip campaigns do provide a little bit of a linear lead flow. With the help of a good CRM you can schedule and track the drips in your campaign. However, your other verticals may complicate this direct positioning.

Regular Social Media Engagement

The key to maximizing your social media profiles is to provide regular and consistent content. Posts should demonstrate your expertise and value, while discussing topics relevant to your target market.

Being successful with the new non-linear marketing model means providing reasons for prospects to keep engaging with you. If it seems overwhelming, confusing, or too diffuse, use metrics to measure responsiveness of each portal of engagement and create circuits that connect the individual marketing portals.

A marketing circuit charts the path(s) a prospect can take toward conversion. You’ll notice that while there is a linear pull from first engagement to conversion, a lead may take a roundabout way of getting there. The purpose of a diagram like this is to understand how your marketing channels can work with each other and feed back toward the ultimate goal of conversion.

In this example, the first portal of engagement is a digital ad, but the pieces (or portals) can be structured in any number of ways. A well-designed marketing circuit helps you to retain and enhance your leads, maximizing your marketing activity.

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