So, where should you start? Think of it like this: “You have an MBA, but really you were an ABM first.” Always Be Marketing.
“The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” Peter F. Drucker
“You should always be selling — not strategizing about selling. Don’t test, test, test — that’s a game for big companies. Don’t worry about being embarrassed. Don’t wait to develop the perfect product or service. Good enough is good enough. There will be plenty of time for refinement later. It’s not how great you start — it’s how great you end up.” Guy Kawasaki
What are you currently doing for marketing?
What is the one thing you can do?
What is the one magic pill, so to speak?
How can you flood yourself with new clients and keep them coming back?
The truth is, there is no one answer. There are twenty or thirty different things you can be doing to improve your marketing strategy and you need to implement enough of them to achieve robust success. There is no magic, one-stop-shop, fix-all-my-problems answer.
Some people will argue that they are getting all of their clients by referral or that they are buying leads off one lead source – although it is often the case that they are doing a sub-par job converting them. Some people only do live meetings and wonder why it is not working as well.
So, where should you start?
Think of it like this: “You have an MBA, but really you were an ABM first.”
Always Be Marketing.
Most financial advisors think their job is understanding taxes and investments and having in-depth conversations with people about planning their retirement, but the reality is the technical stuff is the easy part. The important part is to always be marketing to your desired audience, to always be working on getting your message out, always positioning yourself as the authority.
The real task is to source and retain a customer. A business only really has two roles – to create a customer and keep a customer. That is all you should be focusing on.
Even when one marketing strategy or two marketing strategies are effective, even if you get an effective lead flow with referrals, you should still be working hard on additional marketing. Many advisors say they are doing okay in their business because they get a lot of referrals. That is fine, but anything you can wax and wane. For example, let’s say a business had good success with doing Facebook marketing. If the government changed their rules about privacy laws, that could totally dry up and they would be left without their main source of new clients. What then?
Think of it as a financial portfolio. Investors always tell you to branch out and diversify to ensure that your money is secure over a vast variety of different companies and sectors. That way, if one takes a dip, you have the rest of them there to keep things secure. It’s the same concept with marketing. You want a multitude of different avenues for new clients to come through, just in case one of them stops being effective.
There are a lot of different reasons that one marketing strategy can work for a while. It could be a home run, and there are a lot of home run strategies out there, but they may work, or they may not. A lot of strategies that can work with live events that are different from online events, and they can be a huge home run, or they may not work one month or one week.
“If you’re attacking your market from multiple positions and your competition isn’t, you have all the advantage and it will show up in your increased success and income.” Jay Abraham
So, the problem with being dependent on one or two strategies is that even the best ones may work, or they may not, so you have to have enough stuff going on so that you remain a healthy business. You need a healthy practice, and you have enough people coming in that you can be comfortable with the number and type of clients. It’s all about sustaining those comfort levels.
Maybe you want to work with clients that have a higher assets base to build your AUM. Ideally, you want to work with people that you like to work with and with whom your have some existing affinity. Maybe you want to work with clients that within under a certain niche. For example, you might want to work with doctors or dentists or contractors. If that is the kind of client you want to work with, that’s great, but you have to be good at marketing to be able to reach that niche. All of these things tie together to create the kind of business you want to have.
Many advisors that I meet with ultimately have built a practice randomly. They have a crowd of clients that are fairly random. People who’s only commonality is that they’ve trusted the advisor with their wealth management plan. If there is one question advisors ask just after the magic pill question (You Know What’s the ONE Thing I Can Do to Dramatically Improve My Income,) it revolves around frustration at clients. That is a huge complaint I see in the industry.
The important thing to remember is that there is always another client around the corner.
If they choose not to buy, if they are not the right person, if they are not qualified, there is always another bus coming. This new bus will come around the corner and they are going to unload, giving you another group of people to work with. However, if you are not good at marketing, these buses may be few and far between. Your attitude and selectivity changes dramatically if you have a huge flow of new prospects in your pipeline.
You should only want to surround yourself with people who are a joy to the spirit, people who you want to work with. In an ideal world, you would only ask someone to become a client if they are a 100 per cent perfect fit. After all, a perfect fit customer is a happy customer. A happy customer makes a happy business. A happy business gets more referrals. However, this all depends on your marketing actually reaching and interesting your perfect customers.
Firing Problem Clients
A number of years ago now, a branch of one of my businesses was having problems. Generally rude clients, client retention problems, unhappy staff and more. I finally decided to fire the bottom 20 per cent of clients. While there was a huge initial drop off from the loss of that business, the remaining 80 per cent of clients were suddenly a lot happier. In fact, everyone was happier.
The company referrals went up, the revenue went up… everything went up! This is a technique that is used a lot these days, even though it may be controversial. Around 80 per cent of your business problems come from the bottom 20 per cent of clients. 90 per cent of your problems come from the bottom five per cent. So, naturally, by removing them altogether, you also cut away the vast majority of your problems.
Despite all of this, all of the frustrations and headaches and heartaches that come with those bottom twenty per cent of clients, if your marketing is bad, you are desperate to keep them. Without a decent lead flow and without attracting an abundance of ideal clients, you have to take what you can get, so to speak.
I’d love to take credit for this strategy, however I’m sure it came from Tom Peters in one of his books where he talked about an accounting firm that used this strategy to turnaround their business.