You are a Star!  But What Kind of Star?

If I Googled you and your business, would I see Google reviews?  If so, how many… how old… how many stars?  In today’s world, reviews matter.  How much time and effort are you putting toward your reviews and image?

Would you work with an accountant with fifty-seven 5-Star reviews… or one with 12 reviews at 4.3?  If you are like most, you are going to go with the former. 

So, how do you get people to review you?  If you have great service… some people will review.  If you have great service AND reward them… MOST people will review, you.

Six weeks ago, I got an invisible fence for my adorable pooch.  There are five companies that offer invisible dog fencing.  I chose the company with 158 reviews, all 5-Star… even though it was a company I’d never heard of before.

It was a fantastic choice!  They have been fabulous, but I never would have chosen them without the reviews.  I would have gone with best known company.  Funny, the best-known company had less reviews and a lower star rating.

I learned how this smaller company was able to foster such a remarkable review profile. 

  1. At the installation and training on the fence, the people were excellent.  Right before they left, they told us that in a month or so we would receive a request for a review.  If we did do the review… regardless of whether it was a good or bad review… they would send us a 5 year’s supply of batteries for our dog’s invisible fence collar.
  2. The next week we received a call asking how things were going.
  3. Over the next 4 weeks we received a text message each week and a helpful email with value added information each week.
  4. I replied to two of the texts and they got back to me with helpful explanations within an hour.
  5. And then, 5 weeks later we received an email with the request and links for a review (Yelp, Google or Angie) and reminded us that if we reviewed them… regardless of the review… they’d send us the batteries.  We only had to review on one platform.
    1. They even gave me a list of the kinds of things I could mention in the review
  6. I reviewed with a 5-Star, because I truly believed they deserved it… I notified them… and 2 days later I got the batteries in the mail.

Here’s the thing… even though I thought they gave 5-Star service… I never would have taken the time to do it if they hadn’t rewarded me… and made it easy by providing the link.

This is a simple process with stunning results… are you willing to do it with your business?  If you want more people in your office, it is worth the time and effort.

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These Little Things Will Get You New Clients

Are people skeptical?  Do they ever trust us right out of the gate?  No.

We are in a Catch 22.  They won’t work us until we can show that we care… but we can’t show that we care until they work with us.  This is a failure loop.

The only way out of this loop is to provide value BEFORE you talk about their money.  I you go out on first date with someone and all you talk about is sex… what do they know about you?  If all of your first conversations with prospective clients are about their money… what do they know about you?  You just want to get at their money.  At least that’s what they think in their minds.

How do you get around this distrust?  How can you provide value up front?  Give them information they can use right now!

  • Do timely videos on what is going on with the economy
  • Send out a checklist that tells them: 1) What they should keep in their files 2) How long to keep those documents and 3) Suggest they should shred anything else
    • Better yet, rent a shredding truck and do a community shredding event
  • Offer to help people decide whether it is better to lease a car, take out a loan or buy outright.  This is confusing to almost everyone and they don’t trust the car salespeople.
  • Offer a Legacy Letter workshop at your place of worship— A Legacy Letter is a way for you to share your values, life lessons, cherished memories, hopes for your family’s future, and anything else that is really important to you. This isn’t a will, so you won’t be assigning any of your assets.  Here’s a guide to help you and your clients get started with that

There are many other ways you can do this but in today’s distrustful environment… always think about providing value in your marketing… long before you try to get them to commit to an appointment.

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Is Your Marketing Missing the One Thing Retirees Love More than Anything?

What is that thing that retirees love?  Their grandkids!  And on average they spend $2,500 a year on them!  They buy toys… take them on vacation… help with tuition.  And remember, that $2,500 is on average.  That means the affluent likely is spending much more than that.

So, what are you offering to retirees, who are grandparents, that would make them want to speak with you?  Funding future college?  Seeing how an IUL could provide tax free income for their grandkids for life?  There are many, many ways you can help someone create a legacy for themselves through their grandkids.

But if you try to approach them with these ideas through typical marketing or with a blunt pitch… you are going to get ignored.  How then can you get their attention and trust so that you can begin the conversation with a caring vs. sales angle?

Here are some ideas:

  • Rent a movie theater to show a kid friendly movie and invite all your client’s who are grandparents or have them bring THEIR parents (the previous generation), who are your client’s kid’s grandparents.  With theaters struggling, you’d be surprised how cheaply you can do this!
  • Have a bounce house party!  There are many inflatable entities that cater to bounce parties.
  • Offer a special report like this one

What you want to do is make sure that you connect with grandparents in a caring way… BEFORE you bring up the financial.  When you do this, it will create a conversation where you are being helpful, not greedy.

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Longer is Better?

In their book, Boomer Consumer, Matt Thornhill and John Martin lay out exactly what Boomers want and how to get them into your office.  There is a wealth of information in the book, but I’d like to just talk about one point here.

Prospects are only going to pay attention to your ad if it directly affects them and their lives.  It is important to provide them with information they need and make it easy for them to get more information.

Providing that information in ads and other marketing material requires more words, not fewer.  In the direct mail business, historically the mail packages with the most component parts and longer copy generated better results.  Think about the Publisher’s Clearing House Mailer… it’s chock-full of pieces… and they’ve made billions.  AND, they are still doing it the exact same way.

A four-page letter will pull twice the response as a two-page version.  An interested (remember if they weren’t at least mildly interested, your ad would be in the trash already) … an interested prospect wants as much information as possible to make a decision. 

So, figure out what your target market wants… and then go all in with information about the who, what, where, how and why’s of how the information will put them in a better position.  Better yet, make it interactional.  Have short quizzes… checklists… tell stories that they can relate to.  The great thing about this type of marketing is that they come in excited to talk to you.  They want what you have.  And they will be more trusting.

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If You Build It, They Will Come

One of my favorite movie quotes from Field of Dreams.  It applies to so much in life… including our business life.  So, what do you need to build for clients to come to you?  Value.  But here’s the kicker… you must provide value BEFORE they even meet you and especially before they do business with you.  Value builds trust.

When I was shopping for a home security system, I invited two different companies to come quote it for me.  The first salesman was highly professional… had beautiful brochures… and gave a stellar presentation.

The second was 10 minutes late… but when she arrived, she explained she was late because she needed to stop to get some supplies and she opened her hand and showed them to me.  In her hand was a handful of mechanical restraints for windows, to prevent bad actors from entering my home unwanted.  She walked with me around my house and showed me where to put them to get the most protection and then handed them to me.  Remember, this is BEFORE the presentation.  We then sat down, and she did her presentation.  It was good, but not nearly as smooth or professional as the first salesman.

Who do you think I went with?  The second, because she provided value right up front.

So, what value do you provide before the sale?  You need to have free resources that give people information that will make their lives better BEFORE they even work with you.  These could be “How-To” videos… checklists… a helpful resource guide, etc. 

Once you have these, you need to put them front and center on your website.  Remember, people are only interested in their problems and needs… NOT in your need to feel important.  Too many advisors spend too much time trying to brag about themselves on their website.  People don’t care about you and your ego… they want to know, is there anything here that I need?  Anything that will make my life better? 

Your fancy mission statements, and three letter designations aren’t going to make their lives better.  Free resources will.  The value you provide is the fuel to get people into your office.

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Fun Way to Find More Business and Bring on More Clients

As we near summer, many of us tend to take our foot off the gas in our business… and spend more quality time with our families and having fun.  BUT… why not do both?  Your clients would love to meet your spouse and kids.  When they do, they feel like your family… is their family.  This, in turn makes them want you to be more successful which means more referrals.

An inexpensive, fun way to accomplish this bonding experience is to have a summer barbecue for your clients, their families, and their friends.  I did one every summer and had over 80% attendance. The new money it generated paid for the barbecue 3 times to one. 

If this sounds like a good idea to you… I’ve laid out exactly how to do it and how to leverage it into more business for you. 

You can find it here: BBQ Client Appreciation “How-To” video, Event manual and invite.

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What Do Clients Really Want When It Comes to Their Decision on Whether to Work with You or Not?

In the book Boomer Consumer, by Matt Thornhill and John Martin… they delve deeply into this very question.  It is an excellent read, but one table was particularly helpful. 

The Percentages of Boomers who answered “Very/Somewhat Important” for these attributes:

91%     Get me the information I need

91%     Make it easy for me to get additional information

91%     Be believable

87%     Make your information easy to follow and read

85%     Be enjoyable

84%     Increase my interest in your product or service

82%     Understand my needs

73%     Show me how it will benefit my lifestyle

73%     Specialize in people just like me

19%     Target people younger than me

The big take away here is you need to focus on a target market and not have a practice that caters to everybody.  If you specialize in just retirees for instance, you will find it much easier to hit the vast majority of attributes Boomers are looking for. 

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I Know I Should Do This… but I’m not very good at it!

Does your website need improvement?  Need help writing your press release?  Is your business card boring and forgettable?  You’d like to begin creating video content, but you aren’t sure how to get started or the best way to do it?

Hey!  I get it.  You are an expert on how to help your clients build a better financial future… you don’t have time to become an expert on all these other things.  Good thinking!  You shouldn’t waste your time trying to become an expert on things that don’t directly affect your clients positively… BECAUSE those experts already exist!

If you would like to really up your game in any number of areas to help build your business, look to a freelancer to help you do just that.  Two great sites to help you find someone with expertise to help with your project are FIVERR and UPWORK

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Best Advertising You Don’t Pay For…

Do you know something that you wish you could tell prospective clients about?  Do you want to get hundreds of thousands of people to pay attention to what you have to say?  Is there an idea you have that you know would get your phone ringing?  Consider ideas like:

  • It’s tax season and you have a terrific idea to reduce taxes or a tax prep checklist
  • Inflation is up and you know exactly what clients should be doing to protect themselves
  • The market is volatile, and you have a point-by-point method to help people alleviate their fears
  • And the list goes on…

If you are creative and well spoken, why not talk to the public about it.  The most effective way to do this is to be interviewed by your local news, be it TV, radio, or newspaper. 

And they are always looking for unique and interesting takes on “front of mind” topics. If you want to pursue this, and I think that you should, you need to be awesome at writing press releases.

Remember that, just like in sales, it’s a numbers game.  If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.  When you finally get your chance, it will be far worth the effort.

Here’s a terrific “How To” on how to write press releases that get noticed.

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Emotional selling works… but which emotions are the most powerful?

Any good salesperson knows that emotions are what motivates people to buy… much more so than logic.  So, the question is, what emotion works best to get people to buy from you?  Well, lucky for us, smart people (Stanford University) have been researching that very thing!

Since most of us work with mature adults, the results I’m going to mention today applies to them.  The results are slightly different for younger adults.  It ends up those mature adults typically recall twice as many emotional components from a discussion or advertisement than younger folks.  

The first thing you must understand is what today’s Boomers pay attention to… and what they ignore.  They tend to ignore negative messages.  They are less likely to respond to neutral or negative concepts and messages.

The author of the study, Dr. Carstensen, concluded that, as one ages, a developmental pattern emerges: the willingness to process negative images and ideas decreases as one ages. 

Dr. Carstensen’s work suggests that older adults have subconsciously trained their brains to ignore negative messages.  So, when marketing or selling to today’s Boomer, it is essential that you keep your messages positive if you want them to pay attention!

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