These two articles share top marketing tips for advice businesses around staying relevant and gaining ideal client referrals…
The Best Marketing Tip for the Next 12 Months
Current media attention on financial advice has led to some consumers questioning its relevance and purpose.
While many advisers will argue they are useful and valuable, are you able to demonstrate that value to your clients?
As Rachel Staggs writes, relevance is more than having and using the right training and skills. She says it also includes connecting what you do with what your clients need.
In this article, Rachel provides a simple way to test how relevant you may be to your clients and she cautions that what was suitable in the past may need to change in the future…
If there’s a single word that we can focus on for the next 12 months, it would be ‘relevance’ – not social media or client engagement or AI – nothing like that!
What does relevance mean? According to the dictionary it is the degree to which something is related or useful to what is happening or being talked about. In the context of financial advice this translates into how relevant you and your business are to your existing clients, potential new clients, and even your referral partners.
Relevance has proven to be one of the critical drivers of success for the future of financial advice. Relevance and trust will be the two pillars that will attract and retain your ideal client. Ignoring the importance of your relevance puts you in a position of danger.
So, how do you remain relevant and how do you communicate your relevance?
In this short article, I’ll address some fundamentals that you can use in your business right now and moving forward into the next 12 months.
Creating a framework
The first thing to consider is creating a framework to work within:
Demonstrate + Involve = Empowerment
These are three keywords which will help you deliver the right message.
Whenever you can, demonstrate attributes such as your capability, expertise, ongoing education, business philosophy and innovative solutions – the things that are important to clients.
Then involve people in a discussion about the relevance you have demonstrated through existing clients supporting what you claim, through business partners supporting you, and through discussion groups and open communication channels.
If you can demonstrate you can deliver what the client is looking for and involve others, you will empower clients to make the right decision to partner with you.
It’s a paradigm shift for some. Rather than relying on others to position your business, you take control yourself of communicating your relevance to your existing clients, potential clients and referral partners.
Due to the fallout from the Banking Royal Commission, questions are being asked about financial services and financial advice – we all know that, and you may have experienced it.
Those businesses that think their clients aren’t a little bit concerned and thinking about their adviser, unfortunately, are not living in the real world – sorry to have to say that, but I know this to be true through the research that I conduct.
So, let’s be proactive and start talking about and promoting things like your business philosophy. You already have one – it might need a refresh – but start bringing it to the forefront and be proud to share it and demonstrate your relevance to clients.
Clients are beginning to ask about the ways in which advice businesses are structured and run these days. They are asking questions such as, ‘What’s their business philosophy? Who actually owns them? How is the business run? How are my details kept confidential?”
I understand we haven’t experienced clients asking these types of questions before, but they are now. So, be proactive and put this information on websites, corporate brochures and anywhere else a client may see it.
You’ve heard us all talk about the importance of content marketing and in the context of relevance I have to bring it up again. What content marketing does is help answer the burning questions people are asking and it demonstrates your relevance. If you don’t provide content like a blog or white papers or articles, then where are you demonstrating your relevance regarding solutions for clients?
The other really simple thing you can do to demonstrate your relevance is to share information every time you attend a PD day, course or anything of that nature. Your clients wouldn’t have a clue about the amount of professional development you have to complete each year, so tell them! A quick summary of the key points that you learnt from the course shared through your communication channels again demonstrates your relevance.
Relevance can also be demonstrated through your innovative solutions such as the technology you employ, your processes and systems and, of course, your claims process.
Relevance isn’t just a word. It’s an important pillar that will help your business stay alive now and into the future.
How relevant are you?
Three Barriers to Gaining More Referrals
Having a client agree to refer you to someone is a good thing – and actually having them do so is the ideal outcome. But it doesn’t always work out that way.
Is there a way you can make this happen more often? Rachel Staggs believes there is and writes that referrals often fail to materialise because they are not planned and because clients are not equipped to make them.
In this article, Rachel identifies three common issues which, if addressed, will help you get past the ‘set and forget’ approach to referrals…
Research shows that high performing businesses are gaining new clients through existing clients and referral partners. Nothing new there! We also know that the ideal client will come through word of mouth.
How do you ensure then that when someone says they will introduce somebody else to your business that they actually will? How do you ensure that when someone talks about your business, they do it in the correct manner? Everyone has good intentions – including your clients and business partners, but as I always say, it’s not their job to get you clients. It’s yours!
Here are some of the reasons why you are being forgotten and not receiving the referrals your partners and clients said they would provide:
- No referral plan
You know the scenario – sitting opposite your client and they mention they have a friend who they think could benefit from your advice. You say ‘Great! Thanks’. And then 80 percent of the time there is no conversation about how you and their friend are going to get in contact with each other. Connect the dots there and then, and agree with your client about the best way forward. Don’t feel awkward about this – its business. For this to work effectively you might need to consider some role plays to help build the confidence of your team.
- No information
This may also be familiar – sitting opposite your client they say they have a friend who could also benefit from your advice and they’ll make sure they mention your name when they see them next. Instead, they forget to mention your name because, well, that’s life. BUT if you’d given them your latest brochure, e-book, report or something that can be passed on, they have less chance of forgetting to mention you.
Even better, post or email your client the marketing collateral for them to pass on – or do it yourself if you have their friend’s details. This positions you as an expert, thought leader, whatever you want to call it. The important piece is to have something of value for them to pass on to their friend. You might even scribble your direct contact line on the front – it’s probably in the material, but that’s not the point! The point is you must make an effort to make it easy for them to call you!
- Lousy website
80 percent of the people who meet you for the first time will Google your name, even if a trusted person has referred you. Why? That’s what we all do now, because we can! And if your website fails to impress, it will fail to inform what you do, who you do it for and why people should choose you. They know they need to seek advice, but they’re not impressed and merely forget it.
None of this is new, but it is a good reminder that we can’t simply ask and forget. High performing businesses are having the most success with gaining new clients through these channels. Yet even they have had to review their marketing and make sure that they are having the right conversations to ensure that the referrals actually come through. Constant training/role plays and relevant information are two of the keys to improving your strike rate.
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According to Rachel Staggs, what has proven to be one of the critical drivers of success for the future of financial advice?CorrectIncorrect
If you can demonstrate you can deliver what the client is seeking, you will:CorrectIncorrect
Clients are beginning to ask about:CorrectIncorrect
How often is there no conversation about how you will arrange to contact your client’s referral prospect?CorrectIncorrect
Most people who meet you for the first time will:CorrectIncorrect