Get Your Marketing Mail Opened

What is printed on the outside of your marketing envelope?  What you print on the outside of the envelope can double your response rate… and it costs you nothing to do.
Curiosity is always an excellent tool to employ.  One of my favorites is from Psychology Today Magazine.  They printed this question on the outside of the envelope:
“Do you close the bathroom door at home… even when you are the only one at home?
What does that say about you?”
Just that one question boosted response rates by 24%… because it got people to open the envelope.  It doesn’t matter how good your offer is, until they open the envelope!
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Do This Be…”CAUSE!”

What is your “Cause?” Do you know how much money it’s worth for a company to align itself with breast cancer awareness?  Billions.  And it works for more than just breast cancer awareness.  Aligning your company with a cause has worked for shoes (Tom’s Shoes)… eye glasses (Warby Parker)… and on and on.
So, what Cause is your company aligned with?  What Cause do you give your time or a percentage of your profits to?  The local pet shelter?  The city park system?  The bike path system?  The Boys and Girls club?  The local Harley Club?

Find your passion and fuel your business.  Like attracts like.  Like works with like.  Aligning your practice with your Cause can grow your business and be hugely rewarding at the same time.
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Want Referrals? Put These 20 Things on Your Calendar in 2017

Clients don’t refer to you because you have great products or you got them a good rate of return… they refer to you because they love you!  Put these 20 “to-dos” on your calendar to show your clients that you love them… and they’ll share your love with others… i.e. give you referrals.

20 Easy Ways to Let Clients Want to Refer People to You

  1. Send them HANDWRITTEN notes or postcards… at least once a quarter
  2. Sing them Happy Birthday on their VM… no matter how bad your voice is… or how hokey you feel
  3. Track your best clients on the LinkedIn feed that notifies you when your client is in the news… and let them know you saw the article
  4. Call them at Thanksgiving and let them know how grateful you are to have them in your life
  5. Send them news or helpful information about their interests
  6. Send them news about their Alma Mater
  7. Donate your time and money to a cause they believe in
  8. Send them a funny video and why it made you think of them
  9. Take them on a Christmas Lights Tour with the rest of your clients and sing Carols and share hot cider and cookies
  10. Take them to lunch or dinner
  11. Host a Birthday lunch for them and their friends
  12. Call and ask what they wish your company would do for them
  13. Call them before the 4th or Memorial Day and ask what they are doing… and then wish them a fun safe holiday
  14. Call and ask them for advice… or invite them to be part of an exclusive client advisory board
  15. Share the things they share on their Social Media channels
  16. Have their name on the marquee when they come for their appointment
  17. Have their favorite “Keurig” beverage waiting for them at their appointment
  18. Listen and be more interested in what they have to say, rather than making them listen to what you want to say
  19. Drop by with baked goods or a 6-pack of beer on the way home from work… a little gift that goes a long way
  20. Remember the names of their kids and grandkids… and what they are doing in their lives

The only way people know you love them is to show it… the only way people are going to refer is if they feel loved.

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What Does the Name of Your Business Say About You?

What I’m about to say may upset some advisors… but hear me out before you judge.
What is the name of your business?  Does it have retirement… wealth management… financial advisor… or something similar in it?  If it does… what do people think about as soon as they hear or see it?

If you were at a party and you mentioned those terms when someone asked what you do… would people want to talk or try to get away from you?  If I don’t want to talk to someone at a party, I tell them I’m a financial advisor and they can’t wait to get away from me.   Why?  Because they don’t want a sales pitch.  Whether you plan to give them one or not, they are afraid you are going to try to sell them something.

I recommend you use a business name that people associate with top notch tax and law professionals.  Google the biggest, baddest, most respected firms in those fields… the firms that people immediately respect… Deloitte and Touch, Baker and McKenzie, Latham & Watkins, Ernst & Young…

Do you see a theme?  Two names give a firm immediate credibility… and DOES NOT sound like you are selling them something.  Now, your firm might be too well established to change at this point… but if you could?  Would you?

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Where should you spend your next marketing dollar?

Your prospects will be hit by over 3,000 advertising messages, from all sorts of media, today.  Which of those will they remember?

Half the battle in today’s world is getting your message heard… and if you sound like everyone else… your message will fall on deaf ears.

Here’s an experiment I did with one of my advisors in 2016… just to demonstrate to him the power of the handwritten note.  As you’ll see, it worked so well he quit doing it after one try.  I guess the pen got too heavy for him.

Case Study:

  1. Spend $700 on several different media types to determine effectiveness
    o  Radio – $700 for 14 commercials
    o  Newspaper – $700 for ½ page ad in paper
    o  Direct mail – $700 for 1,850 form letters
    o  Leads – $700 for 25 leads
    Total spent: $2,800
    Results: 4 prospects, 1 sale for $82,000
    Made: $4,920 in commissions – $2,800 = $2,120 profit

  2. Handwritten notes – $700 for 488 handwritten notes
    Total spent: $700
    Results: 15 calls to thank you for being so caring
    7 additional calls to set up time to meet (Generates 4 sales totaling $840,000)
    3 additional calls to refer to friend (Generates 1 sale totaling $125,000)
    Made: $58,100 in commissions – $700 = $57,400 profit (plus 488 happy people because you took the time to write them a handwritten note… something they rarely receive.)

A simple handwritten note wins hands down, but who in their right mind would write 488 handwritten, personally addressed notes?  Somebody that realizes how much impact a handwritten note has on a person.  When was the last time you received a handwritten note?  Did you read it?

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What Do You Think?

There is a lot of psychology and research that points to the power of surveys… whether people answer them, or not, doesn’t matter.  Just the fact you are asking for their opinion makes them think better of you.

That’s why you get one every time you get a receipt at a restaurant or retailer.  Unfortunately, they are missing the point.  Surveys given at every turn don’t communicate… “We really care about you and value your input!” … but instead… this is just another thing you want me, your customer… to do for you, the person making money off me.

That said, not enough advisors use the power of surveys with their clients.  You need to do this at least annually.

But make it fun!  Mix in questions people will find interesting with your survey questions.  You can use factoids about the history of money… or an interesting fact about the stock market… or really anything that you feel they might think, “Hey, that’s cool!” and share with a friend.  Then, give the answer to the fun questions at the bottom of your survey.

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‘Tis the Time of Year to Plan Your Huge 2017!

Is your practice built on the 8 Pillars of a Successful Practice?  If you are not seeing the kind of success you want from your practice… make sure you have incorporated the following 8 principles into your business successfully:

  1. Zero in on a Target—You can’t be all things to all people… and if you try to tell people you are… they won’t believe you.  Figure out the people that you help better than any other advisor in town—and then really focus on that group of people.  Maybe it’s divorced women… or dentists… or teachers… or nurses… whoever it is, dive in and really focus on them.  It will pay off in business and referrals. 
  2. Communicate Your Difference–Now that you have picked the group you provide the most value to, let them know why you work with people just like them… in your marketing… on your website… wherever and whenever you can.  And, create a killer Elevator Speech that gets those people asking for your help.

If you need help with that… use my free Elevator Speech System that you can download here.

  1. Make Your Business Memorable—You’ve started to do that with a great Elevator Speech, but what else can you do?  Have a “theme” to your business that makes it immediately recognizable.  Think Coke and it’s iconic red can.  Does all your marketing, website, business cards have a consistent look and theme?  Or, is it all over the place? 
  2. Make Sure People Know What They Get With You—In a word…“package” your service.  Create a succinct description of each of the items or services someone gets when they come on with you.  This would be an example if you worked with nurses:

– Review the hospital’s health insurance plan offered to nurses
– Review and provide recommendations for your hospital pension plans and 403(b) options
– Review all legal documents to ensure all your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed
– A free (optional) search to make sure you’re getting the most benefits for the least premiums on all your insurance (home, auto, disability, etc.)
– Free College Planning for your children
– Free Social Security planning for your retirement

  1. Educate… Don’t Market—If you truly are the best advisor for these people… don’t ask them to trust you… instead, PROVE it.  How?  By creating educational white papers, brochures, blogs, etc. that give them information they can actually use BEFORE they meet with you.  That instills trust and trust creates clients.
  2. Create Your Trifecta—Take some time (and get some help if you need it) to create a three-tiered marketing system. 

1st–Create advertising. Use all the things we’ve talked about above

2nd–Create a referral system.  I would recommend a combination of the Elevator speech system as mentioned above, as well as a client advisors board.  Combining these two systems regularly creates 9 fantastic referrals a quarter… that’s 36 a year!

3rd–Create a public relations system.  Constantly communicate with your target market through the media they receive their information from.

  1. Use All the Tools Available to You—Communicate, communicate, communicate… blog, Instagram, podcast, Tweet, etc.  If you don’t know how to do these things, consider hiring a consultant… your teenager. 
  2. Plan, Plan, Plan—Map out your entire year and put it into the calendar.  If you don’t put it into the calendar… it’s not going to get done.  A productive garden requires constant care.  Schedule a time to do all the things we’ve talked about above
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You Think They are Basic… But Clients WANT THIS INFO!

Just saw the key to growing a huge practice over the next 5 and 10 years… a survey done with consumers interested in retirement.

Believe it or not… The survey found that less than 20% of those surveyed were familiar with these 4 basic income strategies:

  1. Using immediate annuities for income
  2. Setting up a systematic withdrawal plan
  3. Structuring a bond portfolio
  4. Laddering CDs

Basic is right!  What we do with our software and planning makes these “4 basic income strategies” look down right backwards.

What the survey points out to us however, is that this is a huge market we can tap into by becoming income experts… BUT… you must sound different than all the other advisors who claim to be income experts.

If I was you…I would make it some different take on the basic theme of Income Expert.  Don’t just use Income Expert…think about it.  What can you do for someone, with retirement income questions, that none of your competition can do?

  • Are you the top expert on a local company’s pension or 401k plan?
  • Are you the local teacher’s go-to person for their 403bs because you know more about their choices than anyone else?
  • Are you the area’s foremost expert on when people should begin drawing their Social Security?
  • Can you explain the 8 different ways someone can set up their investments for withdrawal that increases their income… reduces their taxes… and decreases the chance of running out of money?
  • Do you have a plan that makes the average investor feel completely in charge of their income and their lifestyle?
  • Do you know more than anyone in the state on EXACTLY how income benefit riders work on VAs?
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Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa has arrived with clients!

How do you turn the Holidays into a fun way to find new business?  Host a Christmas Lights Tour for your clients… their families… and their friends.  It is surprisingly inexpensive and easy.

It’s also a great way to turn a traditionally slow business time, into a time to find new clients and money, by putting smiles on a whole bunch of faces.

It’s not hard to find a little joy in Christmas Lights.   That’s why I always put together a bus tour for my clients every December.  The first year it was a small bus.  Next year, a coach bus.  Year after that, two coach buses.

We have hot cider, cookies and candy.  We print song sheets to sing Christmas Carols.  It’s a blast!  My clients are invited to bring anybody they want.

What’s the result?  Create all sorts of good will from your clients.  Meet new people you wouldn’t have met otherwise.  And the great thing is, between the “found” money and the one or two new clients that I get from the tour every year… it not only didn’t cost me a cent… it’s a profit making adventure.

How can you beat that?  Have fun… put smiles on people’s faces… and make some money!

If you’d like the step-by-step guide to putting on your own Christmas Lights Tour… you can get it for free HERE , courtesy of 5Q Group.

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Getting the One You Missed Back into the Office

Ever had a prospect quit returning your calls?  It’s really difficult in today’s world of smart phones, to get hold of a client if they opt out of your sales process and won’t return your calls.  So what do you do?  Give up?

You get their attention by being different.  You do something completely unexpected.  You make them smile.  Here’s an idea.  You can buy boomerangs imprinted with your business info… or better yet, your unique selling proposition… for only $1 or so online (just Google “custom imprinted boomerangs”.

You then send the folks “lumpy mail” with the boomerang and a handwritten note inside.  Lumpy mail ALWAYS gets opened because people want to find out what’s inside.

On the hand written note, you say…

“I know we tossed around some ideas for you but you haven’t been back! SoI thought I’d throw out this boomerang for you to hitch a ride back in to see me.”  (Then repeat your Unique Selling Proposition (if you don’t have one, check out my free Elevator Speech Manual HERE) and let them know you’d love to at least talk to hem on the phone to answer any questions they have.)

You’ll be surprised by the response.  You won’t get all of them to come back… but many will reach out to you to begin the conversation again.  Why?  Because you made them smile… you were different.

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