Marketing isn’t a shot in the dark. It’s not a guess or a gut feeling. Successful client acquisition methods are all about discipline, consistency and coping with ambiguity. I recognize that most advisors are in business to advise. They are not in the business to be great marketers, so they do just that — advise!
Every advisor faces three common hurdles when it comes to marketing: time, desire, and no recent or relevant successful experience. It is a natural tendency to find an expert to help you in marketing. Regardless of whether you embrace marketing, view it as a necessary evil or feel entirely indifferent about it, I have three ideas to help you improve your marketing efforts quickly.
Trust The Process
We all have been there — the day of reckoning. It’s time to get healthy. There are a million methods and tools, but aside from health, what do these approaches have in common? They all have a simple, prescribed plan; if you follow it and don’t deviate from it, you’ll see positive results. It’s just as simple as following the plan. Marketing isn’t that different — you have a proven program. All you have to do is follow it.
When managing a financial profile, it’s a bit different. Ultimately, every advisor would like to manage their client’s complete financial portfolio. This isn’t the case many times, and you are managing only a portion of the client’s profile. You don’t simply suggest one strategy while ignoring how it affects other aspects of the client’s financial plan. You hope that, with a history of good advising, all of the client’s financial pieces eventually will be yours to manage. In the meantime, that doesn’t stop you from determining the best approach to manage the pieces that you do have.
Now apply that same philosophy to your marketing. You must trust the process. You ask your clients to trust the process you have built for them; you must do the same with the process the marketing experts have created for you.
Acknowledge The Emotional Side Of Marketing
Back to that healthy living resolution. How you feel about your body is completely tied up in your emotional well-being. When you aren’t happy with what you see in the mirror, it affects your confidence. There’s a reason the term “emotional eating” exists.
Like it or not, marketing has an emotional element to it. Most of an advisor’s time is spent managing emotions, both our own and those of our clients and prospects. That doesn’t change when it comes to marketing. I’m talking about the raw emotions of the situation, new lead activity and ultimately sales, as well as your ability to narrow the standard deviation associated with marketing.
One of the most powerful emotions involved is managing expectations when there is a lack of short-term results. We cannot have an urgency addiction with marketing. Otherwise, it could drive you to quit. How many efforts have you made over the years toward business growth that you abandoned too early or because you didn’t trust the process?
At the first sign of a lack of results, how do we respond? Jan. 19 is the date that New Year’s resolution gym traffic begins to drop off. Nineteen days. Just like the gym, why do so many of us abandon our marketing plans way too early?
Too often, we build marketing plans based on “ideals.” What is an ideal client for you to obtain? We often think about marketing this way versus helping us gain more bread-and-butter clients while naturally adding some ideal ones along the way. Acquiring a reliable bread-and-butter client genuinely helps us believe in and stick with a marketing approach while adding new clients that matter. Any form of marketing takes time, consistency of behavior, and the ability to cope with adversity.
The other big emotion we need to get comfortable with is getting uncomfortable. Any type of real growth requires you to do new things and get uncomfortable. Embrace the discomfort; don’t shy away and revert to what you know with marketing. Real growth comes from change and risk.
Your fitness plan is laid out for you, but ultimately, you are the one putting in the hard work. Marketing isn’t all that different.
It’s Up To You
Either you are running the appointments that are generated, or you decide who does. We know there is a tendency for advisors and people in the finance and insurance space to be analytical by nature, and that attention to detail serves you well in those realms. However, if you or your salesperson falls into this analytical category, you will most likely struggle with marketing in general — more specifically in closing these types of appointments.
We all have been in a meeting when someone presents an idea and, after the presentation, our reaction is, “I’m not exactly sure where that train is going, but I know I want to be on it.” That person is dynamic, engaging and personable. They draw us in, and we want to know more.
These people are very good at getting someone to do something they otherwise would not do themselves as well as not being manipulative in the process. It’s a delicate balance, but this is the person who should be running your marketing and sales efforts. Like all business aspects, it’s about having the right people in the right seat.
Regardless of who picks up the phone, you need to drive the appointment activity, trust your process, manage the emotions of those involved and have the right person running each meeting.