Crisis is a time to focus for financial advisors.

Crisis Week: How to React

My goodness it’s been a week.

Just when you thought 2020 was over, all hell breaks loose to kick off 2021.  Personally, I expected it but it seems many thought New Year’s would be the end of the madness.

Although the range of the madness can’t be understated, I guess it mostly falls into several catagories.

Covid’s done, no wait not so fast.   Governor’s are incompetent, but we knew that already.  Then there’s the country continuing it’s break into their separate “echo chambers,” and the ensuing ongoing insanity of our politics.   Add to that there unbelievably rapid recovery of our economy, oh wait not so fast our politician’s don’t seem to approve – let’s do more crazy restrictions and, well on and on endlessly.

What’s it all mean to us?

Well, a popular concept that’s exactly right is to Niche’ your business.  In other words be “The Guy or Gal” to a narrow audience.  To specialize, target your marketing, and become a celebrity to a narrow audience.

That’s even more right now than ever.

As the country seems to be dividing up into camps, more narrowly targeting becomes more and more important.

Btw, I’d suggest that business norms such as “never discuss politics or religion” is precisely backwards.   Increasingly if you’re “one of us” you’ll be more quickly accepted, trusted, and warmly embraced.  Now I know the big companies are desperate to be politically correct and/or to embrace the new “equity” and “diversity” language.     That can be a conversation for a different day, but I’d suggest that you stake at a position and “own it.”

Frankly to the extent that you polarize a bit is the extent to which you become attractive to others.

How else might this affect us?

Well, the incredible levels of uncertainty is useful for “expert advisors” of all stripes.   Many will look to experts to help them sort all of this out.

What’s going to happen with taxes and how should I prepare?

How’s the election results going to affect my returns in the short-term and longer term?

Well, as we all know regardless of the administration in charge, the market goes up over the long term.  In the short term?   Well, it’s more or less Random Walk.

What are the other results for us, short term and longer?

Well, as is probably obvious just about everyone knows how to use “Zoom” now.   It certainly opens up markets, distances, and niche’s that don’t limit themselves to a short driving radius.  From my perch, this seemed obvious all along.   I’ve been aggressively using Zoom since literally the month it was released (personally I’ve always hated GoTo Meeting, Google, and the obvious alternatives.)    My clients adapted quickly last year, since they were already really comfortable with the platform.

Obviously, there’s a bunch of experts running around teaching now how to be a “virtual advisor,” but I’d warn you not to think of this as a different thing but rather a MUCH better tool than a telephone call, and an near (though not complete) substitute for meeting face to face.

As a tangent, I might suggest that advisor’s get in control of their schedules by pre-defining for clients time ranges that you’ll do 1-on-1 meetings (live in person, or live on zoom,) and stop taking unscheduled in-bound calls.   But, that’s a subject for another day.

What else, is an impact from the craziness?

Well, things like “Headlines” and, “Lead Magnets” pretty much write themselves from the WSJ or NYT headlines each day.    Times of conflict and turmoil make it MUCH easier to do what a famous “copy writer” referred to as “getting inside the conversation already going on inside their head,” or perhaps said a different way the conversation going on at the “Kitchen Table” after the kids have gone to bed.

Being current and topical, always works better.

One other thought on these topics, to be continued later is that in the past few years many of us have used “Social Media” effectively.

We’re in a week where again Twitter and Facebook seem to be making an effort to commit suicide with at the minimum a huge chunk of their audience.   At the same time Google and Apple are jumping “into the fray” along with Google’s YouTube.

If you’re thriving on any of these platforms (and, certainly many that I work with have done great with Facebook for a number of years as well as with YouTube,) I’d point out like a broken record – that you need to build a “Parthenon” of both marketing approaches to get to knew prospects as well as to follow-up with those who “raise their hand” to nurture them.

This really isn’t a new phenomenon.   I once did GREAT with “long-form” TV – ie Infomercials combined with ROP – Newspaper Ads.     Both have been shaken up dramatically by changes in the way TV is consumed along with online media.   For a few years I drove huge traffic with Broadcast fax.   20 years ago now I wrote a book on online marketing where I sung the praises of email marketing.   With the exception of a spike in 2020, I’m pretty much OVER Email.  Just a thought about that:  I’ve been told that the average white collar worker receives over 200 emails per day one article I ready claimed that employees get overwhelmed at 50 work related emails per day (5-7 per hour) – that seems way high to me.   By contrast, the average person gets around 4 pieces of direct mail in their mail box each day.

What happens next?

Well, who knows.

If you have 20 different things going on each month to generate new clients.   Online marketing including LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., targeted direct mail, follow-up with email, text, outbound calls, direct mail, retargeting on google and facebook.   Live meetings.   Webinars.   And, much more you’ll be in much better shape.

Don’t get comfortable with any one source of new clients no matter how well it works today.  It may collapse.  People may start to ignore it.  Regulators may kill it.   New options may kill or diminish it.

More to come on these subjects…