Posts Tagged ‘Referral’
Thursday, February 14th, 2013
by Dan Richards, ClientInsights.ca
Being a financial advisor can be a roller coaster – one week you get a referral that leads to a terrific new client, the next you lose a long-standing relationship for reasons entirely beyond your control. A recent call from a successful advisor looking for advice reminded of the fine line between success and failure.
An engineer by training, Bob came into the investment industry fifteen years ago, today he runs a growing practice focused on mid and high-level corporate executives in the tech and manufacturing industries. Last fall, he invited top clients to a market outlook lunch at a private room at a top local restaurant. He asked clients interested in attending to call him directly to discuss specific questions they wanted to address.
Bob sent out 50 invitations and had about 15 clients say yes, over twice the response to sandwich lunches in his boardroom. (A free meal shouldn’t make a difference to million dollar clients, but experience shows that it does.) After talking on the phone to the clients attending about what they’d like to cover, he mentioned that while this lunch was primarily for existing clients, he did have a few extra spots and asked if they had one friend or co-worker who might be interested in attending as their guest.
Capitalizing on an opening
A client in a senior role at a mid-sized tech company brought along a work colleague, let’s call his guest Jim. Both the existing client and Jim had substantial equity in their firm, while they might not be huge clients currently, they both represent very significant future potential.
The lunch went well with lots of interaction and discussion. Next morning, Bob called his client to get his impressions of the lunch and also to get permission to follow up with Jim. While that follow-up call was politely received, Jim begged off an immediate meeting due to travel and work pressures, but did agree that Bob could add him to his monthly email list and then follow up in January.
Bob connected with Jim early in the new year and they agreed to meet for a casual conversation over a mid-morning coffee at a Starbucks across the street from Jim’s office. Bob got there early to ensure that they got a table in the corner and was waiting when Jim arrived.
After getting there coffees, Bob thanked Jim for taking the time to meet and said that his goal was simply to get to know Jim better, then asked if he had anything in particular he’d like to get out of their conversation. Jim paused, thought for a moment and said, “Not really, no” … and then went on to say: “Before coming over, I glanced at your profile on Linked-In, was a bit surprised to see that the only thing there was your current role without any history or background, so I’d like to hear more about you.”
He then went on to say: “I assume you’ve looked at my Linked-In profile, do you have any questions about my background?” There was an awkward pause while Jim waited for Bob’s answer. Bob first of all explained that updating his Linked-In profile was on his to-do list, but other priorities had got in the way. And he apologized that he didn’t have a chance to look at Jim’s profile before their meeting and asked him to tell him a bit about himself.
Bob and Jim went on to have a cordial conversation. When the meeting wrapped up after 30 minutes, Bob suggested scheduling a time for a more in-depth discussion of Jim’s situation. Jim thanked him for for the offer, but said that while he’d enjoyed the conversation, given how busy he is, he’s not interested in talking further at this point. Jim did agree that Bob could keep on his monthly email list and that he could check back in 12 months, but Bob walked away feeling that what had seemed a promising opportunity had turned cold.
The new expectations for meeting preparation
Bob called me later that day to get my thoughts on how he should follow up with Jim and also what he could learn from the meeting. There were two obvious takeaways from the meeting with Jim:
First, before contacting prospects and certainly before meeting them, advisors will more and more need to get into the habit of first checking prospects’ Linked-In profiles. This is obviously less relevant if you work with retirees, but if you work with business owners or professionals and certainly if you work in the tech space as Bob does, this has become expected behaviour. More and more, not checking someone’s Linked-In profile before calling them or meeting them will send the signal that you’re not serious enough to invest three minutes in basic research. (Note that Bob could have checked Jim’s profile while waiting for him at Starbucks.)
Second, advisors need to get serious about their own Linked-In profiles. I recognize that some firms still limit what advisors can put on their Linked-In profiles (although I’m not clear as to why there should be different standards for Linked-In vs advisor websites), but the industry as a whole needs to adjust to today’s reality here and do it sooner rather than later.
With regard to how to follow up with Jim, I suggested that Bob update his LinkedIn profile and then send Jim a note, thanking him for providing the impetus to move this up Bob’s priority list. This won’t recoup all the ground that was lost, but perhaps will be a beginning.
For advisors who want to know more about how to incorporate Linked-In to your practice, below are links to two articles that appeared last year:
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Tags: Boardroom, Co Worker, Corporate Executives, Email List, Fifteen Years, Impressions, Investment Industry, Invitations, Local Restaurant, Manufacturing Industries, Market Outlook, Next Morning, Private Room, Referral, Roller Coaster, Sandwich Lunches, Substantial Equity, Success And Failure, Three Minutes, Work Colleague
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Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
by Stephen Wershing, The Client Drive Practice
I spend a lot of time coaching advisors on how to attract referrals. Let me take a minute and discuss what to do when you receive one.
- Contact them promptly. It should be obvious and go without saying, but you would be surprised that some advisors receive a name and number from a client and put off contacting them. Your client probably mentioned you because their friend expressed a challenge they were dealing with right now. Don’t waste time. Make that phone call a priority.
- Ask what they need. When you reach the referral, after introducing yourself and referencing the client who recommended you, find out what’s on their mind. Give them an opportunity to describe what problem they have and what kind of solution they look for. Put the spotlight on them.
- Lead with your value proposition. Once the referral has described their challenge, give them your elevator pitch. You should be in the habit of starting every conversation about your practice with it.
- Compare their need to your unique skill. If things go well, and the referral was sent to you because of the special solution or expertise you represent, it will be clear to the referral that what you do answers the problem they just described.
- Set the appointment. Don’t waste time on the phone doing fact gathering or presenting. If you have successfully connected their need to your special skill, the next step is to get together.
- Send your client a thank you note. Express your gratitude for their vote of confidence. Your client takes the risk by sending a friend to you – honor it. Update them on the status of your conversation without breaching confidences. Let your client know that you spoke to the person that they sent and you have scheduled an appointment, or didn’t. Send them a thank you regardless of whether the referral went anywhere or not. My preference is to hand write a card and send by mail. People don’t do that very often anymore, so it is much more special than an e-mail. Do it the same day you speak with the referral.
- Next time you see the client who sent you the referral, ask about the circumstances that led to it. It leads your client to relive the situation, and makes it more likely they will make another referral in the same situation. Knowing what the client said will give you valuable information about what the client values and how to teach other clients to do the same. It gives you a chance to confirm that they understand your value proposition and teaches you how they describe it. It enables you to discover a new trigger phrases that prompted your client to refer.
Receiving referrals is more than an opportunity to bring in a new client. It is an opportunity to reward a referror with gratitude. It is an opportunity to learn more about when clients refer, which helps you attract more. It reinforces your differentiator, and drives it further into the clients brain. And all of this helps lead to more referrals.
Copyright © The Client Drive Practice
Tags: Appointment, Contact, Elevator Pitch, Express, Gratitude, Habit, Lot, Mail, Opportunity, People, Phone Call, Preference, Priority, Referral, Referrals, Risk, Spotlight, Value Proposition, Vote Of Confidence, Waste Time
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Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
There’s no shortage of advisor coaches and consultants on how advisors should operate, which means you have to be discerning about who you listen to. One expert whose articles I read with interest is John Anderson, Managing Director and Head of Practice Management Solutions for the SEI Advisor Network, based in Pennsylvania. Recently, though, I found myself disagreeing with some of his advice on the topic of referrals.
Helping clients identify your value
An article by Anderson described a referral to his property and casualty insurance agent that he’d provided to a colleague. Based on that experience, he recommended that advisors ask clients some questions to help highlight the value they’re receiving and to increase the chances of them providing referrals similar to the one that he’d just made. Here’s how he concluded his article:
The next time you have a meeting with one of your better clients, instead of the usual, “If you’re happy with my service, please refer me,” take five minutes at the end of the conversation and ask:
- Why did you select me as your financial advisor?
- If someone asked you to describe how I’ve helped you, what would you say?
- What was the trigger that made you decide to get financial advice and/or change advisors? Was there a problem you wanted to solve?
By getting clients to answer these questions, you are helping them script answers that they may use with friends and family — and maybe even help them identify others that are in similar situations. More importantly, you are hearing from them what they value in their relationship with you. And that’s better than hearing “I can’t think of anyone right now; I’ll get back to you.”
What drives referrals
I have a somewhat different view on referrals.
Let’s begin with the fact that your conversations with clients around referrals are much less important than you might think. My recent research with investors on this subject indicates that the large majority of referrals aren’t initiated by a request from advisors; instead most come, as John Anderson’s did, when someone your client knows mentions a problem or asks for help. This is consistent with the 2008 research study on The Economics of Loyalty sponsored by Vanguard and conducted by Advisor Impact, in which only 6% of referrals resulted from a direct request by an advisor. (Click here for the full report)
So what does lead to referrals if not requests from advisors? When I talk to clients who’ve provided referrals and to advisors who’ve received them, the most common theme is that the advisor has gone the extra mile to provide a concrete solution to significant problems.
Two recent articles described instances where advisors had gone above and beyond and received referrals as a result. One featured an advisor who offered to help his top 50 clients summarize all their financial information; he asked them to bring in all of their statements and in 30 minutes created a spreadsheet consolidating all of their accounts and other financial information. The other article profiled an advisor who last fall called his retired clients and suggested that they meet to create a cash flow forecast.
In neither case did the advisor have to ask clients to describe the benefits they’d received – the value was so clear cut that spontaneous referrals followed. Click here to see: 30 minutes that yielded three clients and A conversation that tripled referrals.
There is one other requirement for above and beyond effort to translate into referrals, your clients have to know you’re open for business. One approach that has worked for some advisors is to conclude reviews by asking clients if you could take three minutes to highlight the qualities of the clients you work with most effectively and have found you can help the most, should they be talking to friends who might be a fit. No stress or pressure, but it lets clients know that you are taking new clients on.
This article describes how one advisor saw a big increase in referrals, just by initiating a low-key conversation with clients: 2011’s # 1 Strategy — Five Words that Tripled Referrals
The private bankers rule
There’s one final problem with asking clients to articulate our value, and that’s the risk that it positions us as salespeople rather than professionals. We all want to be seen as professionals, equivalent to lawyers, accountants and private bankers. Well, if you want to be viewed like accountants and lawyers, you have to act like accountants and lawyers.
Can you imagine a partner in a Big Four accounting firm saying “Why did you hire me? What did you like about the job I did?” Can you visualize a successful lawyer saying: “How did I help you? What problem did I solve?” Or can you see a private banker dealing with multi-million dollar investors saying, as one referral coach advises: “Please don’t keep me a secret.”
There’s a simple test for every conversation, whether with existing or prospective clients. That test: would a successful accountant, lawyer or private banker say this? Call it the private banker’s rule – if you’re considering doing or saying something that a high end private banker wouldn’t, then think about whether you’re jeopardizing your positioning in the minds of the people you’re working with.
Even though John Anderson and I may differ somewhat on referrals, overall I do find his insights valuable. Click here to view his articles and to sign up for his emails: http://seicblogs.com/advisor-practice-management/
Tags: Casualty Insurance Agent, Colleague, Conversations With Clients, Expert, Financial Advice, Five Minutes, Friends And Family, Insurance, John Anderson, Managing Director, Pennsylvania, Practice Management Solutions, Private Bankers, Property And Casualty, Property And Casualty Insurance, Property And Casualty Insurance Agent, Referral, Referrals, Relationship, Sei
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Wednesday, June 6th, 2012
Norm Trainor talks about the difference between introductions and referrals in The Entrepreneurial Journey. Referrals, which can be a mere name and phone number, do not carry the same level of confidence as a client who will personally introduce you to someone they think could benefit from your services. The latter situation also displays the degree of trust that your client has in you and your business, and facilitates a transferral of that trust and confidence to a prospect.
There are five steps to securing introductions, the first of which is delivering high-quality customer service that will confirm your client’s confidence in you. Set up the request for an introduction by asking your client about his or her level of satisfaction and what they like about your services — if the response is positive, you reaffirm the relationship with your client and earn permission to advance to the next step of the introduction request process.
Next, explain to the person exactly what kind of client you are looking to attract, and ask them questions about possible prospects they may know to help them think of names. Are there any successful people they are friends with, or colleagues who fit your ideal client description? As the client lists names, be specific and ask them to introduce you in person, not merely pass on a referral.
Finally, follow up with the client who introduced you. Keep them updated on your progress with a prospect and continue asking for assistance as you work to establish a new client relationship. Showing your appreciation now will increase their willingness to make more introductions in the future.
I recently came across an older Inc. magazine piece by Marla Tabaka, who underscored the importance of casting a wide net.
“Remember that a long courtship is normal in the world of sales and, no matter how stunning your prospect believes you are, they may decline your invitation to take the plunge,” she wrote. Tabaka also echoed a philosophy that we incorporate into every financial advisor training program at The Covenant Group — the importance of having a long line of prospects at various stages of the courtship phase in your marketing and sales pipeline.
Continue to drip on your existing clients through marketing materials and email in order to drive home the value that you offer to them. This will ensure that they have enough confidence in you to introduce you to their friends, family and colleagues.
Matthew Asser has spent the last few decades gaining expertise in how financial services firms can optimize their operations, marketing, new products, business development and client relationship management practices. He’s well-versed in the challenges that an entrepreneur may struggle with, and as a Senior Coach and Facilitator, helps clients achieve business change through The Covenant Group’s extensive financial advisor training programs.
Copyright © The Covenant Group
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Tags: Asser, Client Description, Client Relationship, Colleagues, Confidence, Covenant Group, Entrepreneurial Journey, Financial Services Industry, Five Steps, Groundwork, Introductions, Latter Situation, Momentum, Norm Trainor, Prospects, Quality Customer Service, Referral, Referrals, Salesperson, Sectors
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Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
Back in March, Lisa Gray posted an article on Advisors4 Advisors entitled “The Big Referral Myth: How The Internet Has Changed The Way Advisors Get Business.” In it, she suggests that referrals are no longer the most important way advisors get new clients, but that searching on the web has become the single most critical way to attract new clients.
At the time I thought she was wrong. The idea that web search replacing referrals in importance was over the top. While I still believe referrals are the most important way to attract new clients, I realize the point she makes is more important than I thought at the time. Four days after her post, Michael Kitces published an article called “In The Future, The Best Firms Won’t Find New Clients; The New Clients Will Find Them.” In it, he refers to a Rydex/SGI advisor benchmarking survey of the different marketing methods employed by advisors in 2011 versus 2010. While the picture painted by the survey shows investment advisors struggling to understand how best to use the Internet and social media for marketing, it led Kitces to the conclusion that if advisory firms want to succeed in marketing they must be more “findable” on the web. And that requires that they have a more clearly defined niche and that they create content more specifically targeted to that niche. The importance of target marketing was another point made in Gray’s post.
Then, on April 2, Registered Rep magazine published the article “Call In The Specialists.” The article contains four case studies of financial practices that have found marketing success by specializing in the unique needs of a specific group. Interestingly, the article discusses niche marketing as a specialty within a more general advisory practice. It quotes Danny Sarch of Leitner Sarch Consultants Ltd discussing how you to pay to add that specific expertise to your advisory team. Advisors who pursue this strategy missed the point – the whole idea is that the specialized knowledge creates value and the biggest rewards will come to the advisors who orient their practice toward that specialty rather than maintaining a general practice and hiring a specialized team member. While there may be an issue of how to pay to acquire some of that expertise, the whole idea is to gradually develop the entire team to be specialists in that niche.
One of the things I find most surprising about this article is that it presents niche marketing almost like it was a new idea. The benefits of target marketing have been documented and discussed for years. What holds most advisors back, however, is their superficial understanding of the concepts. To be most effective, advisors must describe their niche in enough detail to identify specific issues that group faces that are different from the general population. And that is, in my experience, a lot more specialized that is commonly understood or discussed.
I still disagree with Gray on one fundamental idea – that web search will supplant referrals in importance. Advisory firms who can successfully describe their niche thoroughly enough will realize far more referrals as well as more prospects through web searches. Sophisticated target marketing will bring more clients from all channels.
I believe the future of financial advisor business development will be the realization that to really succeed requires a specialization. I can envision a time when the trade press no longer runs articles like the one discussed here about the benefits of target marketing because differentiation through unique expertise will be widely understood as a requirement for establishing a viable business.
Tags: Advisory Firms, Advisory Team, Benchmarking Survey, Case Studies, Consultants Ltd, Financial Practices, Investment Advisors, Leitner Sarch Consultants, Lisa Gray, Marketing Methods, Marketing Success, Myth, Niche Marketing, Referral, Referrals, Rydex, Sarch, Specific Group, Target Marketing, Web Search
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Thursday, April 12th, 2012
A Passive Way to More Referrals with Golf
As a former advisor, I can’t remember a time when I did not feel awkward about soliciting clients to make referrals. I found its easier if you do something, something valuable and surprising, that causes them to say “Wow!” so they talk about you whenever the investment topic comes up with their associates/friends.
You have to do out-of-the-ordinary things for your clients at various times of the year to let them know how important they are to you. We do it for our loved ones all the time, so why not for clients?
Idea: In the summer, activity in our industry tends to slow down. So what can you do to keep your referral funnel going?
What if you could offer clients a foursome (theirs, not yours) whenever you like, so they can play golf, without feeling like you have to be there? No golf club membership required, and no additional greens fees.
The other day, I was talking to Golf Hunter’s (Golf Hunter, Inc.) Founder and CEO, Sean Manias, whose company (now in its 5th season) provides an intelligently crafted corporate golf membership boasting a fully transferable foursome of golf to over 25 courses in Ontario.
It’s a pretty simple offering — you get about $60,000 (one tee time every day for the entire season!) of golf for a fraction of the price. You pick a home course where 75% of games will be played and you’re provided certificates for the remaining 25% non-home courses.
Also, the membership can be split any way you like, e.g. you can split a membership between 4 advisors (about $3,000 each); that would provide each advisor with roughly 7 foursomes/tee times each month.
In the midst of our conversation, I realized that this could be a smart way to reward your clients, get their valuable publicity and generate goodwill for you. Real goodwill. By the way, you can also use it to reward your team, and even your branch manager.
Take it or leave it. It could be a pretty nifty way to give a lot for a little.
For more information, and membership details, you may reach Sean directly at 705−331−4540, or
visit their website at www.golfhunterinc.com.
Tags: Ceo, Certificates, Corporate Golf Membership, Entire Season, Foursome, Foursomes, Fraction, Funnel, Golf Club Membership, Goodwill, Greens Fees, Investment Topic, Manias, Midst, Ordinary Things, Publicity, Referral, Referrals, Tee Time, Tee Times
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Wednesday, April 4th, 2012
I specifically say “make a referral to you” and not “give you a referral” because, when it happens naturally, a referral is not something a client gives you; a referral is something he gives a friend.
You probably make referrals every day. I know I am making them all the time, although I would usually call them suggestions or recommendations. Here are a few that I have made recently or make fairly regularly:
- Since I work with financial advisors, I will often get questions about tools and resources. I am happy to recommend the client relationship management system I use, Redtail.
- A client of my retail practice needed some short-term financing, and I was happy to recommend and coordinate a loan through a regional bank.
- I love the software applications Evernote and Nozbe. As a busy consultant and executive who struggles with ADD, I have found that these programs improve my life.
- I am a fan of Mark Sisson and The Primal Blueprint. If I get into a conversation with someone about diet or health, I will frequently direct them to Mark’s book or website.
- I recommend my auto mechanic pretty regularly. There have been many times when he has directed me back to the dealership because he believed that my problem was covered under warranty. Other times he has talked me out of repairs on a beat-up Jeep or van I used to own to carry things around for home improvement projects because they were too expensive relative to the value of the vehicle. I believe he won’t charge me to do something unless it’s necessary.
- My wife and I love food and wine and frequently talk about local restaurants and vineyards in the Finger Lakes area of New York where we live.
Once you reflect on it, you will likely realize that you make referrals pretty regularly. Your clients do, too. They likely refer people to you more than you realize. In her study “Anatomy of the Referral,” Julie Littlechild found that 91% of clients were comfortable providing a referral to their financial advisor, and 29% had made a referral. I am intrigued by the 29%. Most of the advisors I know would be thrilled to receive referrals from almost one-third of their client base. What portion of your client base do you think referred someone to you in the last year?
The study found that the top two reasons for offering a referral is because a friend asked for a referral or a friend expressed a financial challenge. In his book The New Art and Science of Referral Marketing, Scott DeGraffenreid determined through social network analysis that people make referrals to improve their standing among their peers. Your client is telling his friend about you not because he wants to benefit you, but because he wants to benefit the friend and to benefit himself.
Who have you recommended to friends over the past month? Why did you do it? Why do I tell people about my auto mechanic, or those software applications, or Mark Sisson? My mechanic does not pay me to tell people about him; he provides me no incentive to recommend him—no discounts or coupons or certificates for a steak dinner if I send three people his way. And I assure you Mark Sisson does not even know I exist, much less that I am a fan. I encourage friends to patronize those businesses because I care about them, my friends. I do it because I want them to have a better experience taking care of their car, because I want them to avoid getting ripped off, and because I want them to be healthier. And I want them to think better of me for having turned them on to something that was useful to them. That is why we naturally make referrals.
So, if people want to realize the benefits of providing a referral (obtain social currency, expand influence, etc.) and can accomplish that by directing a friend to you because they believe you will help them solve a problem, they will refer people to you. Attracting referrals, then, becomes largely a matter of training clients to remember to mention you at the right time. It’s all about helping people remember you when they can benefit from mentioning you. It’s not about giving you names when you ask, it’s about remembering to refer you when the opportunity arises, so you have to prepare clients for the opportunity to refer. “Who can you think of that could use my services?” is about asking your client to help you. “I know someone who can help you solve that problem” is about a client helping a friend.
Thinking about it another way, when you ask for a referral you’re essentially asking your clients to sell for you. And that’s not the role they signed up for. Consider it in your own experience. Is there a professional you work with, or have used his or her services, that you would happily refer anytime someone expressed a need—a car mechanic, a plumber, a lawyer? Most of us have at least one or two people we deal with on a regular basis that we would be thrilled to refer. Let me ask you this, who will you call about that person today? Well of course you’re not going to wake up and ask yourself, “Who can I call to tell about this great mechanic I know?” That’s not how it works. How many clients will you commit to attracting for those people this year? None, of course—that’s not why you recommend them. You do it because it benefits you, not the person you are referring someone to.
Tags: Auto Mechanic, Blueprint, Client Relationship Management, Conversation With Someone, Evernote, Financial Advisors, Finger Lakes, Finger Lakes Area, Home Improvement Projects, Julie Littlechild, Local Restaurants, Mark Sisson, Provi, Referral, Referrals, Regional Bank, Relationship Management System, Short Term Financing, Software Applications, Study Anatomy
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Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
The new referral conversation is about interacting with our clients the way friends would interact with each other or enlist their help in problem-solving. Whatever approach we take, it should be a conversation that delivers benefits to the client.
One aspect of the new referral conversation is that it can naturally grow out of educating the client. You have worked hard to determine who your ideal client is, what problems they have, and what kinds of solutions or experiences they seek. Ideally, you would have reviewed your service mix and made some adjustments to more closely tailor it to that ideal client. So, the natural place for the new referral conversation to begin is in describing the problem you have decided to focus on solving or the need you have determined to fill. By extension, you will be drawing a picture for your clients of your ideal prospect. Our objective is to identify and reinforce expressions the client may hear that we hope will prompt him to mention you. We want to be teaching the client how to know who a great referral would be.
In The Referral Engine, John Jantsch says “I believe any salesperson worth their salt has developed a list of phrases, situations, and verbal clues that, if heard during a sales presentation, signal it’s time to take the order. The same idea is true of a qualified referral.”
What are your trigger phrases?
- I was just awarded another allocation of stock options, and I’m not sure exactly what they can do for me.
- Our company just moved to a cash balance retirement plan.
- My best friends husband was just diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
- We went to my son’s high school last night to you the guidance counselor talk about financial aid.
- My sister just had her first child.
Take some time and talk with your clients about who you have realized your ideal client is. And discuss those ideal clients in terms of needs they might express that you are particularly good at fulfilling. Teach your clients those trigger phrases so that when they hear them again you will pop back into their mind.
Tags: Alzheimer, Best Friends, Cash Balance, Experiences, Expressions, Financial Aid, Focus, Guidance Counselor, Ideal, Objective, Phrases, Referral, Retirement Plan, S High School, Sales Presentation, Salesperson, Stock Options, Verbal Clues
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Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
In a recent post, Seth Godin points out that creating a competitive advantage takes guts.
A few days ago, I wrote about the importance of identifying a niche marketing to it. It makes you more attractive to prospective clients, and makes you referral. I noted that it is counterintuitive.
Like others before him, he points out that working harder is not going to make you more successful anywhere near as much as working smarter or different. He also made a point I had not considered before – that simply getting more efficient at your work turns intellectual work into factory work. And that engages you in a race to the bottom.
He noted that overcoming the inertia to get better at your craft, or to be different in your profession, and to create a competitive advantage takes guts.
Why are we so insistent on describing ourselves and our practices exactly the same as all other advisors? Why do we describe what we do and for whom we do it the same way so many others in our industry do? You would think that we would understand that using the same words as everyone else will be utterly ineffective at giving prospects a reason to choose us instead of anyone else. Part of the reason is because being creative is really hard. And part of the reason is probably because it is scary to do something different than everyone else.
It is tempting to believe that everyone has chosen to do something one way because it’s the best way. It is not – it is the average way. And it takes a measure of courage and self assurance to make a different choice than your peers.
So, as you lay out plan for the coming year, be brave. Be different. Achieve more.
Tags: Competitive Advantage, Courage, Few Days, Guru, Guts, Inertia, Intellectual Work, Niche Marketing, Peers, Profession, Prospective Clients, Prospects, Race To The Bottom, Reason, Referral, Scary, Self Assurance, Seth Godin
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