When the going gets tough, the tough advisers get going
Do you need to improve your marketing and advertising techniques in order to compete in a post-RDR market?
1. Pick up the phone; it shouldn’t be beneath you to call clients or prospects.
Now is most definitely the time to continue being proactive and to engage with clients. If your clients are continually contacting you, you will constantly be on the back foot. Winners and losers always emerge from market turmoil – the clients of all of those advisers who are not calling and are hiding under the table will be looking for new advisers at some point.
2. Ask for referrals; referrals represent the best and in many cases, the easiest way to grow your business and future business pipeline. For example, why not make asking for referrals a regular part of your annual review meetings? In a recent SEI Quick Poll, nearly half of the advisers interviewed confirmed they only asked a small percentage of their clients for referrals, and only about 20% said that seeking referrals was a ‘regular routine and key reason for their success.’
3. Identify your target clients; create a three-tier approach to profiling prospective business categories. The top tier represents your prime target audience. Spend the most time with this tier and the least amount of time with the third tier. Your marketing strategy should focus on a message to address the needs of each group.
4. Establish and understand your primary geographical market area; identify your client’s geographic area by postal code, county or other relevant parameters. Then develop marketing campaigns to promote relevant product offerings or services based on their life triggers and events that will be occurring. For example, organise a seminar to discuss estate planning for all of those clients of a particular age, net worth and geographical location.
5. Develop a ‘drip’ list; create a list of your best clients that you should be contacting on a monthly (even weekly) basis with relevant newsworthy information. They could be your highest income generating clients or your best referral sources. Keeping your name out in front of this audience is essential, especially during these challenging economic times.
6. Sponsor or organise high-profile events; invite first and second tier prospects to your seminars. By inviting your best clients, you not only create further business opportunities, but establish credibility and show them that you appreciate them.
7. Use newsletters; newsletters create credibility, reaffirm brand awareness and stimulate interest in the products and services you offer. Get in to the habit of sending these to clients and prospects on a regular frequency and find out whether they would like to receive them either as a print or digital format, or both?
8. Create a personal biography; share both your professional biography as well as personal information on what makes you unique within the industry and why prospective clients work with you.
9. Develop an integrated marketing strategy; contact your clients and prospects through a number of different marketing channels. Gone are the days of the ‘one size fits approach to marketing.’ Include a mixture of direct marketing, online, email, telemarketing and of course face-to-face meetings to engage with clients and prospects. For example, you could use direct mail to drive traffic to a particular landing page on your website, for example, to make them aware about the changes announced in the Budget. A simple call to action email reply button located at the end of an article or page could create further discussion points and lead to further new business opportunities.
10. Have a true marketing plan; develop a contact strategy consisting of direct mail, telemarketing, newsletters and special events such as seminars and other educational formats that can build and enable you to nurture relationships with your clients over time.
11. Get published or speak; if there is a way to either author an article in a local publication or newspaper or participate in a speaking engagement – do it. Nothing creates credibility faster than getting published or speaking.
12. Radio days; approach your local radio or community radio station. Pitch the idea about presenting a weekly financial programme, or even securing a guest slot on an existing show. During these challenging economic times more people are becoming much more money savvy so this type of show or feature makes total sense. This will provide you with a platform to advertise your business and services. It could also provide a forum for people to ask questions and for listeners to call and arrange initial consultation meetings.
13. Get involved; by making yourself known, either through local organisations or just by being an active member of your community, people tend to ask, “What is it that you do?” This can lead to you not only generating new clients, but an endless supply of new referral sources.
14. Networking; join the local Chamber of Commerce and other organisations where people meet regularly. Marketing and networking to members of these organisations can offer great opportunities to meet more people and promote your services.
15. Press releases; write and distribute a press release at least four times a year. The media, particularly your local media, is always on the lookout for a newsworthy story, for example; commentary on the Budget or End of Tax Year. Also use these to inform your existing clients and prospective clients why you are different and why that difference is a benefit. This must be done in every aspect of your marketing.
16. Keep marketing; you must continuously market yourself and business and display to others the enthusiasm and dedication that you share for the important work you do.
17. Build a corporate nest; get to know who the key employers are in your area. Only prospect for the businesses that meet the profile of corporate business you want to develop. Create a directors prospect database and regularly send them by post and email your newsletter to create brand awareness. Why not also arrange a seminar at a local hotel and invite them to consider the implications of the new the National Employment Savings Trust scheme.
18. Retiring employees; if you already have corporate clients, arrange pre-retirement planning meetings with the employees that are nearing retirement. Target those who are 10 – 5 years from retirement and 1 year – 6 months. Don’t forget to ask them to refer you to other people they may know (other work colleagues and friends) in a similar pre-retirement situation.
19. Speak their language; poor communication leads to poor sales. Understand your clients, know what motivates them and speak to that end. You could create a visual lifeline diagram and plot their aims and objectives across their life to enable them to visualise each event – this can be very powerful. Remember a picture paints an thousand words.
20. Let’s do lunch; take your best clients and spouses out to dinner at least once a year. This process involving the spouse can also open up a tremendous new source of referrals.
21. In the news; send by direct mail and email – updates following key announcements in the news – for example following an Autumn Statement or Budget Report. Repeat the same process in the run up to other important events throughout the financial calendar, including the End of Tax Year.
22. Hole in one; organise a golf tournament with clients and prospects and give a short seminar before the event.
23. Become a local expert; use your expertise to write a column in a local newspaper or similar such publication. This is great to increase your company’s brand awareness and attract prospective clients.
24. Pan for gold; pick a time each week where you focus only on prospecting for new clients. For example, send an email to all of your existing clients and ask for one new referral; or, attend a breakfast networking meeting locally to make new contacts – obtain business cards and enter them in to a marketing database that you nurture over the coming months. The more panning you do, the more nuggets you’ll find.
25. Measure your marketing; once a month, determine which areas are providing you with the greatest or lowest returns on your marketing and then increase or decrease expenditures accordingly.