In a recent article, Professional Planner August 11, 2014, Mark Rantall, CEO FPA, talks about the importance of everyone involved in the advice profession supporting and fostering the FPA 10 point plan. A plan that I’m sure is well thought out, robust and will serve the profession and Australians well.
What I’d like to encourage is all of the above but also a combined communications effort by all Financial Advisers, Associations, Dealer Groups and so forth talking about what it is they actually do for clients, showcase to Australia the fabulous work the majority of financial advisers do and deliver well. All too often Advisers sound the same. Scroll through the thousands of websites and you’ll see a line similar to this, “We guide and coach you to ensure you reach your goals” what does that exactly mean? When faced with scrutinizing media and the general public, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to talk about what it is you actually do; the outcomes you get people and the experience you give them rather than sounding vanilla and the same? Wouldn’t it be great if all Advisers could really explain and articulate how they help people and be able to support that with client testimonials, client stories? Remembering that when you say how good you are it can be seen as bragging but when others say how good you are, it can have more credibility.
Educational based marketing is a really effective way to promote and inform people about what it is you do and what they can experience from working with you. One of the best platforms to do this is through content marketing because content informs and educates.
From every corner of business, small business, large business, government, religion and financial services, there are true, honest, kind, compassionate people that can be trusted. And, unfortunately, there are dishonest, unscrupulous people who behave unethically. And unfortunately, nowhere is this more obvious than in the realm of marketing.
In a recent article I wrote for the great team at Adviser Voice I suggested the following as a way to help promote and drive positive messages about the financial advice profession.
How can we fix it?
Firstly let me start by saying that we are all in sales, I acknowledge that you may be in the business of offering strategic advice but when it boils down to it, it is a sales process. And all sales processes need a high level of trust, especially in the world of financial advice. The process starts with a simple conversation. It may be a conversation between you and a potential client, between one of your clients and a potential referral, between one of your business partners and a potential client or between your website and social media platforms and a potential client. An effective marketing communications strategy will turn these conversations into relationships of trust with these potential clients over time. Remember not everyone is ready to engage with your advice, just yet.
We know that people buy from those they trust and this is never truer than for financial advice and for the times we live in now. If you don’t have the trust it doesn’t matter how well your systems work, how well you’ve defined your offer or priced your advice. If a potential client doesn’t trust you, you have no opportunity to change their lives for the positive.
This also applies with your referral partners. Perhaps you set up what you thought would be a rewarding professional relationship but over time, you haven’t been receiving the referrals you envisaged you would. The trust element is woven throughout the fabric of your business. And, its for that reason that you’re marketing communications strategy should support that and communicate loud and clear why and how you can be trusted and supported by others who have experienced that trust.
What are they thinking?
When someone meets you for the very first time they are thinking, consciously or not, “Who are you and how can you help me?” Knowing that, we all need to ensure that we are able to communicate the answer to that question quickly and concisely and this can be done throughout you’re marketing communications strategy.
Your potential client and referral partner may also be thinking?
1. Can you really deliver what you say you can? Demonstrate that through your experience. Show them that you can because you have a positive track record.
2. Can they trust you to hold their personal information and that it wont be shared? Explain how you do that.
3. Do they like the other people in your business, can they trust them? If they are to liaise with any other people in your business make sure you introduce them and share their credentials.
4. Do they believe that taking your advice will result in the outcomes they are looking for? Demonstrate your past experience working with people just like them.
If you are looking for a pipeline of clients that will want to take your advice and referral partners that want to work with you, remember that you can never under estimate the level of trust that you need to communicate to them to ensure you get the amount of clients your business needs to grow.
Trust has been spoken about for decades across all service based industries but I believe now more than ever before you’re marketing message needs to be reviewed to ensure that you are articulating and supporting the fact that you can be trusted because trust is something that is being questioned and written about by many people at the moment.
Review your website, marketing collateral and every touch point where a client and referral partner may interact with your business, is there any evidence that they can see, hear or read that demonstrates that you and your business can be trusted? If the answer is no, then I would suggest that this is a golden opportunity to address that and shout from the rafters that you can be trusted and explain why.
Communication is an extremely powerful force and collectively, as a profession, it has the opportunity to drive the positive messages that Australians should be hearing about, not the negative. What are your thoughts?