One prospect wants your advice like a thirsty man in a drought.
Another seems completely uninterested despite the financial mess you can see they are in.
Same approach. Same meeting. Same scope of advice.
Totally different outcome.
Are you interested in why?
For those of you working with Gen X and Gen Y clients, I promise it’ll connect dots as to why your marketing doesn’t seem to work as well as you feel it should.
For those of you working with more mature clients, it may challenge your view on how much of your success is down to your marketing, vs. being the right place with the right offer.
(By the way, my intent in saying this isn’t to challenge the quality of what you do, but to make sure you know what’s been achieved by design and what’s working through circumstance).
The Path to Wisdom
When I was young I played rugby.
I was a good player, naturally talented it seemed. I thought that was enough. I was wrong.
By the time I realised the importance of hard work, listening to your coaches and modeling yourself on senior players, it was too late. Becoming a professional sports person is an opportunity with a limited window. When the door closes, it closes for good.
The truth is I didn’t even know I needed help. Heck, I didn’t even know I had a problem. I certainly didn’t realise I needed lots and lots of coaching.
Your advice prospects are exactly the same.
They’re on a timeline. Sure as a pregnancy starts with a scan and ends with a tiny cry, there’s a progression to proceedings that you need to be aware of, so you know when it’s time to talk about choosing a midwife and when it’s time to present the baby booties.
There are four phases to this timeline.
Phase 4 (final phase): Seeking advice
Some know they need help and have already concluded financial advice is the solution.
They’re sold on the “why”, “what” and “how”, they’re just trying to decide “who”.
If you’re capturing these clients, nicely done. However, understand the game. You’re fitting square pegs into square holes. It’s less about clever marketing, more about stating your case and moving out of the way.
Stay vigilant and monitor your leadflow like a hawk. As long as those prospects continue to seek financial advice for the foreseeable future, and they keep finding you, all will be well.
Be aware though competition is growing. You may not be the only solution in town forever. You may already no longer be the cheapest or most accessible.
The seeds of failure are sown on the laurels of success.
Phase 3: Researching options
One step back are prospects who are “just looking”.
They know they have a problem. They’re looking for a solution.
Are they sold on financial advice? Not necessarily.
In fact they may be looking at number of options, trying to work out which one suits best.
This is a subtly different playing field. You’re no longer only competing against other financial planning firms, or one type of advice. Your competition is broader.
As a result, your marketing has to be different, or it’s not going to work. Get this wrong and your message will fall on deaf ears like you’re using language that doesn’t seem relevant.
If you want to succeed in moving these types of clients to a meeting, it’s about encouraging them not to wait, but to act now and seize the moment.
Provide assurance by removing the risk of making a wrong choice, perhaps through a money back guarantee or social proof.
There may be one burning issue they’re looking to fix that they’re aware of – it’s unlikely to be getting a financial plan or achieving peace of mind – and if you can give them confidence you can help with that issue first, you may convince them financial advice is the way to go.
They may, however, be further away than that.
Phase 2: Starting to hurt
Some clients know they have a financial problem. They know things aren’t quite right and something needs to be done.
They’re just not looking for help yet.
We’ve all been there. We know the car needs a service, but we drive on regardless. The jacket is torn, but we delay the repair. The dentist is probably due a visit, but we wait until the tooth starts to hurt.
This is where the marketing of advice takes a longer term horizon. You can’t sell them on the solution, because they’re not even looking for it yet.
Instead, you need to explore the problem and it’s implications. Project it forward. Be consistent in your message that this isn’t going away, and slowly but surely bring the need to the surface.
You’re playing in this space with the younger generation of clients, this is where the rules of the game must seem like a dumb joke.
Insurance commissions slashed, robo-competition, the age of free information – you need to achieve revenue growth (fast!) and you have to play the long game?
Stay the course though. Niche hard and make sure your pricing model is profitable. You will succeed but first you need to survive. Stay lean.
There is one final stop on this continuum.
Phase 1 (starting phase): Blissfully Unaware
There are prospects who don’t even know they have financial challenges.
Honestly, they may not even be challenges yet, just the seeds of problems and invisible missed opportunities.
They’re certainly not looking for solutions. They haven’t begun to consider financial advice, and they’re certainly not checking out your website and wondering if you can help them with their super.
They’re totally unaware.
They may be the children of your clients.
They may be high-income earners feeling like the good times will never end.
They may be loaded with seven investment properties and convinced they’re set for life.
You can’t reach them with anything other than slow and consistent explanation of the key concepts they need to understand, piece by piece, accompanied by a wide repertoire of storytelling designed to introduce ideas without the lecture.
These are your long-term prospects. Play the game with great patience. Don’t rely on them alone (unless you have deep pockets) but know if you get it right, it will pay dividends in the long run.
So, that’s the timeline.
Four mindsets, all receptive to different things.
Lots and lots of prospects though, because money issues are a universal truth.
Understanding how people think and feel is the basis of all great marketing.
Misunderstand where clients are on the journey between no idea, knowing they need help, and looking for your help, and you may as well be playing the wrong hand at blackjack. You’re either bust, or you’re just another player wasting chips.
Nail it though and the jackpot of being able to scale your marketing to capture exactly the type of client you want to work with is all yours.
It’s just a matter of time.
PS. This concept is as true for those wanting to build great advice firms as it is for those wanting to solve financial problems.
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