You may dread the idea of admitting it to yourself because for most of us it’s not that easy to do.
In fact, it’s something we’ve been taught NOT to do for the better part our lives so who could blame you for wanting to commit to it?
What am I talking about?
I’m talking about being fully committed to owning who you are, leaning into the unique value and perspective you bring to the table and building that reality into what you do professionally.
And guess what, there are some advisors who will read that and say…”yeah, but…”
Well, as Nancy Kerrigan said…”Part of being a champ is acting like a champ. You have to learn how to win and not run away when you lose.“
Now, what does this have to do with you?
Our financial advisor clients regularly ask us to review their brochures, letters, campaigns and websites.
Whether they used our services to develop their material or not, they want us to tell them if we think their copy will “work”, if it will help them “sell” themselves or a specific product of service.
Invariably what we see far too often are “me too” promotional pieces.
Sure, the personal pictures are different, the artwork may be great and the copy may be written professionally, yet there is generally little to distinguish the unique value of the advisor (you), to perspective clients.
You only need to spend about 3 minutes surfing advisor websites on the internet to see the “me too” nature of many practices.
Please understand, these observations are not meant to be overly critical, I’ve been there.
I know from first hand experience that busy financial professionals spend the majority of their time developing and implementing client solutions, not creating marketing material.
At the same time, to develop a sustainable business, there is a genuine need to develop marketing and promotional content that breeds loyalty, encourages referrals and attracts new relationships.
A “me too” approach will not make the grade.
To drive this point home, consider these common advisor rationalizations and the ensuing “buts” we interject in dialogue over marketing material we’re asked to critique:
- Without even seeing my marketing material, my best clients inherently understand my value proposition…but could they explain it to a potential referral effectively?
- Most casual observers of my brochure are impressed by its quality…but would it compel them to meet with you to learn more?
- I always win the business when I have the opportunity to personally interview a potential client…but do your marketing campaigns generate enough leads and appointments?
Hopefully, none of these circumstances apply to you and your practice…but if they do, set aside some time to create or update your marketing pieces.
To begin this process, reflect on the following questions and you will be on your way to clarifying the unique value that keeps you from looking like a “me too” advisor:
1. Are you consistent and self-assured?
When you meet someone for the first time and they ask you what you do for a living, do you respond quickly and with confidence?
The best advisors we know do not hesitate; whether they deliver a 2 word title or a 2 sentence “elevator pitch”, their delivery is consistent and self-assured.
As you consider your marketing material, ask yourself if you are delivering these same qualities.
Be both proud of what you do and consistent in the words you use to describe your position.
An “elevator pitch” can be a great tool, but falls flat when used inappropriately or without true passion; there is nothing wrong with a simple title.
From financial advisor to insurance specialist to financial planner to wealth manager, it is not only the words you choose to use, it is the way you choose to use them.
One of the most successful wealth managers I know has introduced himself as a “stockbroker” for more than 20 years even though his business has evolved dramatically.
Each time he makes an introduction, his poise elicits a curiosity that allows him to take the conversation wherever he chooses.
Develop this sense of pride in both your spoken and written words.
2. Do your value statements speak about you or how you “solve the needs” of individuals or organizations in your niche market?
Much of the “me too” terminology we see comes in the way many marketing pieces are all about the background, experience and standing of an advisor and their firm.
Though relevant, this information is all features and no benefits.
No matter how clever you may be in describing yourself, often times background information all looks the same to your target audience.
As you consider your marketing approach, regularly ask yourself if your language speaks to solving the specific needs of your niche market.
Your audience is not looking for a typical resume.
The more personally they can identify with the benefits of a relationship with you, the more effective your campaigns will be.
3. Does your marketing material clearly explain “next steps” in your client management process?
Whether you are a financial planner, retirement planning specialist or an investment manager, you should have a distinct client management process.
In other words, a series of ongoing activities that allow you to establish, manage, monitor and maintain long-term relationships.
Your marketing pieces should communicate these steps to clients and prospects.
This helps the viewer of your material understand their “next step” if they choose to follow through on your brochure, sales letter or website.
Clarity of purpose eliminates unnecessary surprises.
For example, if a client is new to your practice they should know the first order of business is a discovery meeting.
On the other hand if you are introducing a new service to an existing client there should be no doubt you have done your homework on both the client and the offering before beginning your approach.
Although not a comprehensive list, these questions should help you get started in reviewing current marketing material or developing new pieces.
Your brochures, sales letters, newsletters and website should each stand up to this simple examination.
Since you’ve read this far, you probably realize by now that what you may perceive as weaknesses could very well become your greatest strengths.
If you’d like some help identifying your distinct marketplace advantage to create more powerful positioning and greater profitability, we’d love to speak with you.
I look forward to connecting with you soon.