Studies have shown that 72 percent of the public looks at financial planners as product pushers instead of professional advisors. Whatever marketing tactics used to work have been stripped of their power and effectiveness because of the public’s skepticism. The fact that financial advisors are experts on finance makes consumers uneasy because they are afraid of that knowledge being used to take advantage of them. People are concerned about whether they can trust their financial advisor to keep their best interests at heart.
Study after study has indicated that the number-one reason people leave financial advisors is for lack of contact. Lack of contact is the one thing an advisor has control over. Keeping clients is certainly profitable, but gaining clients by positioning yourself in contrast to competitors who don’t contact their clients can work in your favor.
Here’s an example of how contrast in communication brought a professional more business. Ben had been using the same dentist, Eric, for ten years. Eric was nice and did a great job. During a rotary meeting that Ben was attending, the speaker was a dentist named Danny. During his 20-minute talk, Danny came across as charming, witty, and intelligent. Did Ben immediately take his business to Danny? No—his current dentist, Eric, had been more than adequate.
A month later, Danny contacted Ben three times in a friendly, non-invasive manner. Danny had a booth at the county fair, so Ben stopped by and Danny gave him a free coke. Danny later sent Ben a dental-floss device in the mail, and even contacted Ben to tell him about a teeth-whitening story airing on 20/20 that night. Danny stayed in touch with Ben three times a month for a year. Eric only contacted Ben twice over the year with postcards that were merely appointment reminders.
One Friday afternoon, Ben fell playing basketball and broke a tooth. Eric’s answering service said he only worked Monday through Thursday. Needing his tooth fixed, Ben called Danny. If Danny did a good job, he would have a new client. How much did Danny spend to get a client who would be worth thousands of dollars? Maybe $20.
Consider these tips for generating effective communication.
The message must have an edge to it.
- Whatever is being communicated should cause recipients of the communication to talk about it with their friends, neighbors, and relatives.
- Be consistent. Credibility is built on consistency. Contact cannot be sporadic; it must be like clockwork.
- Focus messages on care, not on knowledge.
- While messages shouldn’t sound like a sales pitch, they should continually give prospects a reason to respond.
- Use more than one medium. Giving some kind of gift at least every three months builds anticipation for the next contact.
- Contacts should be cost- and time-efficient.
- Consider sending hand-written notes. Automated systems are available to make the process easier.
Paying close attention to your contact with potential clients will help earn their trust, bring them in as clients, and build your practice as one loyal client refers another.
You may read this newsletter on http://www.fpanet.org/journal/BetweenTheIssues/YourPractice/111506.cfm?renderforprint=1