Are You Answering the Right Question?

Our prospects are more skeptical than ever. Every year, hundreds of thousands of marketing messages are sent to them, all of which promise more than the last. How can you overcome their doubt?

A study in the Harvard Business Review gives us some help.

First, DON’T overindulge in benefits. You would think that the more benefits, the better. However, in reality, adding more benefits actually lessens their overall impact.

Instead, figure out what makes you stand out from the rest of the competition and what you do better. You can do this by thinking like a client. This is the question you need to answer:

What is the MOST important thing to keep in mind about what you are proposing?”

By focusing on this question, you’ll be able to create a much more effective Unique Selling Proposition because…

  • It will put a laser-like focus on the one or two things that make you different from your competition.
  • It will prove you understand the client’s real pain.
  • And it recognizes that people don’t have time to do a lot of research… they just want the bottom line.

To construct your answer to this question, think about structuring it around three points:

  1. How are you similar to your competitors? By doing this, you eliminate any arguments that your competitors might have about why they are better or different than you. You make the point, “Yeah, we do that too.”
  2. Make a point of how YOU ARE different. Which one, two or three things do you offer, that none of your competitors do?
  3. Make a point about how you view the client experience differently than all your competitors.

You must get to the point where the client no longer thinks, “Yeah, my guy does that too.”

And instead says, “Wow, nobody does that! I need that!”

If you do not put in the time and effort necessary to really lock this down, you will forever be just another voice in the crowd of voices, screaming for your prospects money.

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get Your Letters Read

In the era of Twitter and 140 characters, a lot of people will glance at a letter on letterhead and decide to give it a quick read before discarding it.  How can you actually slow them down so that they read your letter with a little more attention?

Here are two strategies that worked for me and the advisors I coach:

  1. On your letterhead, print your letter upside down. They are completely stopped in their tracks by this.  Now make sure you reference the upside-down printing so that they know it wasn’t a mistake.  You could say something like, “Yep, upside down is the new right-side up apparently.”  Or “This will turn what you thought on its head.”  Or, simply, “Yep, I printed this upside down to make sure you read this.”
  2. Fill the letter with something cheap to give it some lumps.  Send a quarter and say, “Apparently your phone isn’t working, so I thought I’d send you this to get hold of me on a payphone… good luck finding one!”  Or send a shoestring that read, “It’s a good thing that investing can be just as exciting as buying shoelaces!” Another could be written on an eraser and says, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a way to erase any investing mistakes we made… both now and in the future?”

Are these outside the norm? YES! YES! YES!  We are a commodity!  Everybody looks and sounds the same.  We all make similar promises and discuss similar topics. DARE TO BE DIFFERENT if you want to capture someone’s interest!

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to make your Whitepaper powerful

To make your whitepaper as effective as possible, whitepaper expert Gordon Graham identified the following criteria:

  • It cannot be one-size-fits-all.  You must identify a single need or specific target market and address that one need or market.
  • Do NOT put your name in the title.  Instead of being a self-promotional piece, this is meant to be informative.
  • When it comes to self-promotion, make sure the whitepaper is actually informative.  The purpose of the whitepaper is to highlight the quality of the information to establish your authority and expertise. NOT you boasting about yourself.
  • Provide a very simple way for individuals to obtain your whitepaper.  Make it easily accessible at your place of business, online, on your voicemail message, etc.

Follow-up with the people who reach out to you with inquiries regarding the content in the whitepaper.  I realize this seems basic, but if every advisor was doing it, I wouldn’t bring it up!  As soon as they get in touch with you, take the time to follow up (not a day or two later).

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interested in Getting Lucky?

There has been a lot of research done on LUCK.  According to research by the world’s foremost expert on luck (Richard Wiseman)—If you implement these things, people become an average of 40% luckier!

  1. Prepare your mind—Chance favors the prepared mind.  It sounds stupid, but if you believe you are going to be lucky, you have a higher chance of that becoming true.

  2. Make chance work for you—get out of your rut.  Try different things.  If you keep conducting your life as you are now… you should expect the same result.  You need to put yourself out there to allow luck to work its magic.  Think, act, and do differently!

  3. Relax—If you are anxious or stressed, you’ll walk right past golden opportunities.

  4. Get connected—The biggest factor in luck by far, is how many connections you have, how many people you know, how many organizations you belong to. The more connections you have, the luckier you become.

Don’t just think about these things!  That’s what unlucky people do.  Make an action plan to implement these things… and start getting lucky!

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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), eyeglasses (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 shelters? 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.

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Does Your Company’s Name Affect 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 did, would people want to talk to you 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, and most respected firm in those fields… the firms that people immediately respect… Deloitte and Touche, 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?

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Makes People Smile… and Pick up the Phone When You Call

Nothing happens until you are conversing with your target prospect.  If they are ignoring your marketing, emails, flyers, seminars, webinars… essentially giving you the palm… how do you bust through?  The best way to lower someone’s defenses is to get them to smile.

One of the best ways I’ve found to get people who ignore all contact to smile is what I call the “Interesting Questions” postcards.  It is a series of postcards I send to my prospects that will give people a smile and, most likely a factoid or thought they will want to share with a friend or family member. 

These postcards are NOT financial in nature, but instead fun things that get them to smile.  I’ve found that after receiving several of these, when I call or leave a message that identifies myself as the one sending the postcards… they will take the call and are nice about listening to my offer. 

Can we ask for more than that from somebody who previously completely ignored us?

What kind of postcards and messages am I talking about?  I’m offering them free, courtesy of 5Q Group.  Download it here.

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Become Your Audience’s Source of Information to Get Them Talking to You

A really easy way to get a conversation going with your target audience is to curate quality content from other sources, be they online, magazines, podcasts, or blogs.  It’s completely OK to borrow content from other sources as long as you credit the source.

Remember, this is your industry, and you are immersed in what’s happening.  New ideas… techniques to help your clients… changes that will affect people’s finances… the landscape is continually changing.  You are on top of it, but your clients are out living their lives.  They depend on you to keep them up to date on things they should know about or find interesting.

There are many tools out there to help you aggregate good information.  One that I use is Feedly.  It is free, and you can set filters to only send you articles that meet those requirements.  Sending free information to your target audience is an easy way to stay in contact and encourage them to reach out to you with questions.

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Tool Gets Real Activity to Your Website

If you are looking to finally get people seeking and interacting with your website, the best way to do that is to have a retirement calculator available on your website.  You could opt for straight, plain retirement calculator… or better, use a very specific calculator.

A specific calculator could focus on one particular aspect of retirement planning, and that would make YOU the expert in that particular area, driving more people to reach out to you.

Here are some things you could focus on with your calculator:

  • Lifetime income using annuities
  • How healthcare costs could affect retirement
  • How to use home equity as an asset in retirement
  • Loss of one spouse on retirement income
  • Threat of Social Security insolvency on retirement income

There are entities that have calculator widgets you can purchase to place on your website… or, you can hire designers to create a calculator specific for you.  Designing your own can cost you a pretty penny, but it will also allow you to stand out from your competition and drive people to engage with you.

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Doing 4 Things will Create an Effective Unique Selling Proposition

First, why do you need an effective Unique Selling Proposition? Just as we mentioned in our previous article, you need to cut through the clutter… and a great USP does that.

Here are the 4 characteristics of an effective USP:

  1. When a prospect sees or hears your USP, they must think, “I understand why that would help me.”
  2. Then they must think to themselves, “I want that!” Your offer must include the word “get”, and it should be…
    • Relevant
    • Important
    • Urgent
  3. Your prospect must also conclude “I can’t get it anywhere else but here”. Some things to consider are:
    • A very specific focus on one of your offerings
    • A unique experience that you can give them
    • An exclusive status that you can give them
    • Something they can only get locally
  4. Lastly, they must think, “I believe what this person is saying”. Here are some helpful ways to accomplish this:
    • Quantify your offer. More specificity leads to more believability
    • Give them some verification with 3rd party resources

Creating an effective USP is one of the most valuable tools for building your business. Spend all the time and effort it takes to create one. If you do, your marketing becomes easy. People will continually walk through your door.

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment