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4 Ways to Increase Prospect Quality Over Quantity

Not many advisors complain about having too many prospects.

But here’s the thing.

You have too many prospects if:

  • You don’t know how to tailor your advice to them (because you honestly don’t know what’s important to each person)
  • You can’t increase your value or competitive advantage because you’re too scattered
  • Your team is frazzled by trying to keep up with the volume of prospects (who they also don’t know!)

The solution?

Stop being so hung up on the quantity of your prospects.

Aim for quality instead.

In our webinar, 4 Ways to Increase Prospect Quality Over Quantity, Top Advisor Marketing CEO Matt Halloran will teach you steps that you can use immediately to attract high-quality leads.

Use our formula to give personalized value to every prospect AND turn them into fans who will tell other high-quality prospects about your firm!

Click play below to get started!

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5 Reasons for Advisors to Differentiate Themselves Right Now

Are you subscribed to iris.xyz? I believe that iris.xyz is an invaluable source of advisor-focused information that features some of the best writers in this space.

I was particularly impressed by Don Connelly’s article: How to Eliminate the Competition Because You ARE Different. Considering how saturated the advisor-space is, it’s no longer enough to be “client-focused” or “comprehensive” because so is everyone else! 

I’m going to quickly expand on Don’s excellent points on why it’s critical that advisors differentiate themselves.

 

“Clients don’t want average, they want excellence.” 

Today’s clients expect attention and communication that is highly personalized. They’re also asking more questions and expecting to be involved in the planning process. Clients clearly want an advisor that surpasses “average.” 

So how do show your clients that you’re an excellent advisor?

There are three things I recommend:

  1. Make advanced education a priority. Sharpen your skills and offer more value to your clients. 
  2. Consider hiring a coach who will push you to become an unrivaled expert in serving your ideal clientele’s unique needs.
  3. Tell your clients what you learned at the latest conference — and share it with enthusiasm. This is an effective way to show your clients that you’re at the forefront of industry trends and will use that newfound knowledge to benefit them.  

 

You can’t get referrals if you are not referable.”

If you cannot explain what makes you referable, your clients can’t either. And if you don’t offer anything that is truly unique and different, you are not referable. 

Do you have a real difference-maker in your practice? Do you help a specific kind of person? Spend time answering these questions. Find another advisor who you can have as a sounding board and accountability partner.  

We also have a guide that can help you boost your chances of getting referrals.

“Technology is commoditizing the industry.”

Are robo-advisors a real threat? AI can help replicate many processes, but not relationships. Do you have real, deep relationships with your clients and COIs? Are you super focused on performance? This is something you have to ask yourself. Do I do a good enough job that I am irreplaceable?

 

You can no longer be all things to all people.”

We have said it before on our podcast and repeat it every time we have a chance: It’s more efficient to replicate your ideal client and target that audience than to spend all your time and efforts trying to be all things to all people. 

You cannot be a generalist unless that is your company’s model. Edward Jones is a perfect example, their brand is being a generalist. It works for them —, they are on every corner. But this company is a rare exception.

Niche marketing can be intimidating for some advisors. Get started by listening to episode 161 of our Top Advisor Marketing Podcast: The Top 10 Arguments Against Niche Marketing and Why They’re All Wrong.

 

“Sharpen your differentiation message.”

All of the above in Don Connelly’s article leads to this final point. You need to create a compelling elevator statement. A powerful value proposition you strive to live up to every day. What is your story?  Who are your favorite clients? Why should I do business with you?

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to develop your value proposition.

Don nailed this article. I found myself nodding, smiling, and cheering for his points. I just wanted to support his message!  

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Advisors’ Best Practices for Creating a Clear Message and Building an Audience

The two consistent elements to successful marketing have always been, and always will be, a clear message and a clearly-targeted niche audience. Eventually, you hope your message will become your brand with the people you ideally want to attract. 

WHAT COMES FIRST:
THE MESSAGE OR THE AUDIENCE? 

Your message and audience are interlinked and, therefore, should be considered and developed together. 

For example, if you are great at estate planning but prefer working with 45-55-year-olds, your approach to messaging for estate planning would be significantly different than if you were targeting a 65+ audience. For people 65+, your message might revolve around getting it right, saving taxes, protecting your spouse, and leaving what you can for the next generations. For 45-55-year-olds, you might focus on purpose, living a legacy, and using the ideas and planning strategies to achieve something now.  

CREATING YOUR MESSAGE

Your message should focus on what you want to be known for and what you deliver to your ideal clients: outcomes, experiences, and feelings. 

If you offer “holistic planning,” you need to not only ask deeper questions, you also need checklists and a story that proves your holistic approach doesn’t end after the first meeting. When your clients hear your message, experience a process, and enjoy the outcomes that reflect your holistic approach — that’s a brand. But it has to start with a better message because that’s how you capture your audience’s attention long enough to prove your credibility and engage them in your expertise. And that’s how you start relationships — with marketing. 

Your message moves into brand status when what your audience knows becomes their new expectation, and, ultimately, it’s when they talk about your product or service with others while using that same language as you. 

Nurturing a brand and message is a long-term commitment but when done properly, it will produce momentum and opportunities — outcomes that make it all worthwhile.  

If you need help defining your message, and ultimately your brand, I highly recommend this free branding guide

And here are podcast episodes that provide further insight into the creation and implementation of your brand:

 

 

IDENTIFYING & BUILDING YOUR AUDIENCE

The only way to build the right audience is to share your expertise and attract people to your thought leadership. This takes years, not months. Some of the most successful financial advisors and influencers have spent 10+ years building their audience and brand. Do not expect to compete with their influence in a significantly less amount of time — unless of course, you hire Top Advisor Marketing (shameless plug). 

Ideally, the audience you want to replicate most should be a vertical or identifiable group you can access and communicate with. If you don’t know how to identify your ideal client/audience, I recommend using this Ideal Client Profile worksheet. If you don’t know the value of having a niche or how to start creating one, start with these podcast episodes:

 

 

There are many tactics and tools to define and search for ideal prospects including targeting AI apps, social media advanced searches, or simply finding an in-person niche network such as a chamber of commerce with local businesses, a specific trade conference, or a center of influence.

 

TARGETING OPPORTUNITIES TARGETING TOOLS
Networking Groups

  • chamber of commerce
  • Hobby groups (runners, yachting, etc)
  • Trade associations or conferences
LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Sales Navigator allows you to create search profiles to find, message, and connect with your ideal audience. 

Centers of Influence

These are typically people you want in your network because they know your ideal audience and add value to their lives. 

LeadCrunch

LeadCrunch finds and engages ideal client/prospect lookalikes, making it easy for you to find new prospects just like the ones you’re already working with. 

Online Influencers

Getting your expertise (i.e. thought leadership) mentioned, published, and shared can have a huge impact on your exposure and credibility.

CrystalKnows

Crystal enables you to know more about a prospect’s personality, interests, and values so you can connect better with them. 

Trade Media 

Getting your expertise (thought leadership) mentioned, published, and shared by an outlet that focuses on your niche audience can have a huge impact on your exposure and credibility. 

AdvisorStream

This content aggregation and distribution tool uses AI to adjust content deployment and recommendations. AdvisorStream offers unique content from paywall providers without the paywall.  

  Seamless

Seamless helps you find everyone you need to sell to and it gives you emails and phone numbers. You can use hundreds of insights to build profitable relationships at scale and import directly into your favorite CRM.

 

Read these articles to learn about more AI tools:

 

Build your audience, share your message, and #BeYourOwnLoud:  

  • Discover and define your key strengths and your audience’s needs. 
  • Define your ideal audience by personality, age, interests, dreams, careers, family, education, fears, concerns, not just basic demographics and AUM.
  • Create keywords and phrases that introduce key concepts and points that are important to understanding your brand. Leverage those phrases and words in your marketing, processes, papers, articles, podcasts, etc. 
  • Develop a marketing strategy that starts relationships instead of only attracting leads.  Relationships are built on sharing expertise, leads are based on trying to sell. 

Leverage the tools and resources above to help you build relationships effectively. And if you don’t have time to do it right, find help.

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How Good Advisor-Marketing Happens in the Expertise Economy

A visual representation of how and why good marketing happens.

 

Have you considered that you’re competing in the expertise economy?

All financial advisors are. 

You have the expertise to solve the challenges that your ideal client needs help with. You fill that gap, as illustrated below, by offering financial planning services of your design: investment planning, retirement planning, estate planning, business succession planning, and combinations herein. 

In simple terms, this should mean that prudent advisors would employ “expertise marketing,” also known as Micro-Influence. But in my 20+ years in financial marketing, expertise marketing has not been the accepted mindset nor has it been well executed when it is. 

Over the years, many forms of “expertise marketing” have succeeded, failed, and evolved. 

As you can see below, marketing has evolved. Most of you have used many, if not all, of these tactics in your careers. Alone, these tactics have probably had vastly different degrees of success for each of you, which is largely a product of consistency of implementation (or lack thereof), efficacy of tactics employed, synergistic tactics, momentum created, your ability to close, and the revenue generated. 

Two very important terms above are “synergy” and “momentum.” 

What’s critically important to the success of your marketing comes down to the coordination and consistent implementation of your marketing. Simply put, synergy plays an important, if not critical, role. 

Can you make 1 + 1 = 3? You can. There are many variations. These are a few. 

Momentum is equally important, especially for advisors or firms who want high efficacy from their efforts. Momentum marketing has two sides: sunk or lasting. Does each marketing input and output result in a sunk cost or lasting momentum? And, how long will each marketing output last and produce?

Sunk marketing is a singular marketing tactic that, once completed, generates ongoing value that declines significantly or becomes nil. That doesn’t mean it’s a worthless tactic. Some forms of sunk marketing are the most powerful strategies that advisors have ever employed, such as seminar marketing.

Sunk marketing examples include:

  • Seminar marketing (highly effective but its value typically dies once completed)
  • Digital ads
  • Email blasts
  • Postcard or letter mailers
  • Public relations (if it’s not done frequently or consistently)
  • Brand or value proposition (if it’s created but not executed)
  • Referral marketing (when you need to ask for referrals)


(FYI, I  don’t count “brand awareness” as a worthwhile outcome because effective brand awareness rarely happens in advisor marketing.) 

Sunk marketing is the most common form of marketing execution among financial advisors and RIAs. Most advisors have good ideas. Many employ sunk marketing tactics that are individually executed. Few advisors have coordinated strategies that create synergy.

 

Momentum marketing is when each marketing output creates lasting value and, when combined, compounds over time. 

Momentum marketing tactics create more value when they multiply. For example, 50 podcast episodes on your podcast channel are worth more than 10 episodes. You could say they’re worth at least five times the credibility, which has an important impact on your audience. The more expertise marketing you do, the greater each episode’s (i.e. piece of content’s) value. 

Momentum marketing examples include:

  • Authentic content creation
    • Vlogs
    • Blogs
    • Podcasts
    • Books
    • White papers
  • Social media (when done consistently)
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Website
  • Inspiring referrals (when you don’t need to ask for referrals)

 

The macro-strategy that I use for my Top Advisor Marketing clients is centered around synergy and momentum. There are many combinations that financial advisors can use, but don’t overlook the synergy and momentum your strategy generates. Synergy and momentum are two defining characteristics that drive great marketing for sustainable results over long periods of time. 

What’s really important to note is that the best sunk marketing tactics and the best momentum marketing tactics can make for an incredibly synergistic macro-strategy. For example, consider one of the most powerful tactics advisors have known — seminar marketing. Combine the influence-nurturing power of podcasting along with social media and you have one of the most powerful short- and long-term strategies this industry will know for decades. 

My firm has recently partnered with White Glove (seminars) to do just that — employ a synergy-rich, kick-ass marketing strategy that builds incredible momentum year after year by using seminars, podcasting, and content multiplication (i.e. snippets of long-form content) on social media.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expertise marketing, or Micro-Influence, as introduced and described above, are really just how we define “marketing” these days. 

If you own a successful practice, you likely have a number of tactics in place but no real strategy. Consider adjusting your tactics by looking first for effective synergies and then cost-efficient synergies. 

Ask yourself:

  • What tactics best complement each other?
    • Which tactics (existing or new) will feed one another? For example:
      • Podcasting feeds social 
      • Podcasting becomes a nurturing tactic for seminar attendees 
      • Seminar attendees attract warm-hot prospects in the short term
  • What tactics best fit my ideal client’s (MIC) needs and style?
  • What tactics can I be consistent with for 24+ months? 
  • What tactics best fit my business model? 
    • Do I need more staff/talent or should I outsource?
    • What can my compliance handle?
  • What tactics offer the best value for effectiveness?
  • What suits your marketing style? What should you leverage or avoid?

 

By answering these questions, you’re on your way to launching a synergistic, powerful marketing strategy that builds momentum and, most importantly, positions you as the indispensable expert to your ideal client. 

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3 Stages To Creating New Offerings That Your Clients Will Value

In every industry, decision-makers are constantly challenged to improve their offerings, to find new products to better meet client expectations and needs, and, just overall, to continue improving. 

But you cannot make changes without a reason or a plan, just for the sake of offering something new or refreshing your product. Most likely, if you decide to change without a structure or goal in mind, this will drive your team crazy and confuse your clients and prospects. 

Change has to provide real value for your clients.

Stage one of the change-making process is to find out what your clients really value. To accomplish this, you have to do a few things that you might find intimidating as a business owner: 

 

  • Read everything about what you do: This comes without saying, but you should know (or want to know) everything about the services you provide. This includes reading books and guides from reputable sources but also using social media. Join industry groups on social media and read comments from professionals who serve the same niche as you. Join the conversation and you’re bound to find valuable insight and different points of view that can help you keep things in perspective.

 

  • Ask your team: Empower your team to feel comfortable with providing you feedback. Challenge them to ask themselves: what is working, what seems to go smoothly, and what could use some improvement. You have to train your team to pay attention to these areas by having regular meetings that offer opportunities for open conversations. Your team is a valuable resource when trying to evaluate your services and offerings. Plus, they will have an idea of what your clients need or seem happy with.

 

  • Do market research: When is the last time you took an in-depth look at your competition? What are other industries doing for clients like yours? Make a list of websites to visit and explore your competitions’ services and products: What features do they offer? How are they making clients’ lives easier? What do they do to offer extra value? Use these guiding questions to consider whether another company is offering something that your clients would love.

 

  • Ask your clients what they want! This is the one tactic that seems to scare all business owners, but it’s the one that will make you more successful. Listen to what your clients are saying. Understand their needs and anticipate a solution for their most pressing challenges.  

 

Now, that was just stage one of this process. 

Once you have done your research, considered the input of key players, and thought about what your new offering can be, it’s time for stage two: Put your ideas to work.

I like to start by picturing how the end result looks and then create systems from there. Reverse engineer your process. This will require you to have some knowledge of how your processes and your team works. 

You need to consider three fundamental questions to ensure your offering will be of great value to your clients and will remain an effective and profitable process for your company. 

 

    1. How much time will it take your team to change what they do in order to execute this new product/service?
    2. How do you want your clients to feel once they’ve experienced the service/product?  
    3. What are the steps to creating the system/service and who do you need to involve?

 

Finally, part three is where you will separate yourself from every other business out there. 

Training. 

There is not much value in creating a service or new offering that you believe works splendidly and can make your client’s life easier if you do not provide adequate training on it to both your team and clients.

Training is also not a one-and-done act. One of the most important parts of staying relevant in business is to always find ways to improve what you have created. You have to train, get feedback, evaluate, make adjustments, and then train your team some more. 

So many advisors and business owners will come up with a new idea, communicate expectations, miss some items on stage one, skip all of stage two, and do just enough of stage three. That is why a lot of brilliant ideas remain ideas instead of turning into profitable, actionable ways to advance a business.

You, as the innovator, need to be involved in every stage described here to truly provide constant, ongoing improvements for your clients and market.

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5 Ways Podcasting Makes You a Better Advisor

Yes, podcasting will make you a better advisor in many ways. I’d go so far as to say that podcasting makes our lives better, one idea at a time. But today, I’ll start by telling you how it can make you a better advisor. 

It Makes You a Better Communicator

Being a good podcaster not only requires you to be knowledgeable about the subject you’re going to talk about, but it also requires you to practice how you communicate your what and your why

A productive podcast draws people into your world or, better yet, you into their world. It makes you find ways to connect with your audience, understand their challenges, and find opportunities to solve their concerns. 

It’s easy to understand that improving your communication skills has benefits, while not improving these skills will keep you from advancing professionally. 

Podcasting will inspire you to implement strategies that can further develop your skill of communicating the expertise you’ve learned. Any time while producing a podcast, you will ask yourself questions like:

  1. How can I best explain this topic?
  2. How does the topic impact my target audience?
  3. What can my audience do to resolve or avoid their challenges? 

It Makes You a Better Marketer

Speaking about and understanding what your ideal clients want to hear about can make you a better marketer. Podcasting forces you to consider your ideal clients’ needs, your unique strengths, and the synergy between the two. 

Also, if you think you “sound” like everyone else, it will be more obvious when you start podcasting. Podcasting allows you to hear yourself, analyze the way you tell your story, and improve your delivery. It will inevitably push you to become better at positioning your strengths and your ideal audience’s needs. Now, that is a tremendous impact on your marketing!

A few questions that you’ll want to consider:

  1. What’s your story? What separates you from other advisors?
  2. What does your audience care most about? 
  3. Which channel(s) does your audience engage in the most when you share your podcast?
  4. Where does your podcast traffic come from?

It Makes You a Better Leader

Leaders start important conversations and then speak intelligently about them. Podcasting is steadily becoming a household-friendly media platform to discover and engage in thoughtful insights and perspectives. People are listening. In fact, 70% of Americans have heard of podcasting

Consider these ideas on becoming a financial leader through podcasting. Podcasting will inspire you to:

  1. Search for trends in society and how they impact people’s financial decisions.
    • Sign up for news alerts or social listening tools such as Google Alerts, Awario and, BrandWatch. You could track keywords such as “new retirement” and “changing retirement.” 
    • Read news, listen to clients’ stories about life, and listen to podcasts. Be a lifelong learner and use that to power your thought leadership.
  2. Stay tuned to regional and global events and their potential financial impact.
  3. Plan ahead for calendar events that have life or financial impact.

It Makes You a Better Networker

One of the best podcast tactics is to search, qualify, and invite other experts and influencers to be guests on your podcast. The process of how you do that, and the tactics you employ, will make you a better networker. You will also build a richer, larger peer network. 

Here are a few steps to finding the right people and then expanding your network.

  1. Log onto LinkedIn. Click on the search bar and select “content” from the options that appear.  Now, search for different keywords to see who’s talking about subjects your clients care about. 
  2. Create an invite message on LinkedIn that’s conversational, not promotional. No offers, just an introduction. If possible, refer to something in their profile or activity stream that brought you to them. 
  3. Consider the people who are talking about subjects that matter to your clients. Are there any trends within this group? Can you create a search to find more people like them? If yes, that’s gold right there. 
  4. Recognize that your LinkedIn audience only really cares about themselves. Find ways to add value to their lives and work and they’ll share your ideas. 
  5. Look for LinkedIn connections who have similar audiences. You don’t want to build relationships with the largest influencers; they won’t have time for you. What you want is to connect with micro-influencers who have ideal and engaged audiences. 
  6. Design a one-page promo sheet that highlights your podcast focus, ideal audience/listenership, and stats. Share this with centers of influence that you’d like to have as a guest on your podcast. 
  7. Share an onboarding email with centers of influence that outline guest expectations, podcast and promotional best practices, and potential launch episode dates. Here at Top Advisor Marketing, we provide a four-page podcast promo guide to help our guests promote their episodes. 

It Makes You a Better Human

Empowering people and communities with knowledge is one of the most rewarding experiences one can be a part of. Being a member of the podcast community makes you part of a groundswell that’s making its mark on history. While your podcast may not change the fortunes of the world, it can certainly help one family after another understand the financial realities of life events and decisions.

By participating in podcasting and sharing what you know and have experienced, you’re not just spreading your generosity, you’re building your brand. 

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The Truth About Marketing ROI for Advisors

Marketing is often critiqued or questioned about its ROI. But to be honest, it can be very difficult to measure the TRUE effect of marketing. 

In the past, advisors got consistent results with marketing initiatives like seminars, running ads, or launching referral campaigns. But as marketing evolves, advisors are faced with the reality that one marketing tactic does not make for an effective marketing strategy. Advisors need to look at more metrics and the wider impact of marketing. 

advisors spend too much time chasing the next best marketing tactic because they didn’t allow time for the other tactics and strategy to work.Measurable marketing initiatives like seminars have been successful in the financial industry for a number of reasons. However, as marketing shifts into a more personalized, relationship-focused experience for consumers, more advisors are adopting digital and content marketing initiatives to reach their audiences and bring value to their clients 24/7. 

But because new marketing initiatives do not always equate to provide immediate measurable results, advisors often abandon them before they can see the results they were expecting. In other words, advisors spend too much time chasing the next best marketing tactic because they didn’t allow time for the other tactics and strategy to work. 

The absence of marketing results backed by hard numbers is why many advisors flock to tactics that they think are most measurable. Even if the ROI isn’t remarkable, they know (or think they know) what they can expect. 

 

Try synergistic tactics

 

In many cases, advisors need to consider synergistic tactics that together create more momentum in their businesses: some which create obvious ROI and some which create better businesses. For instance, just doing seminars when you need to fill the pipeline doesn’t generate long-term momentum. Why not pace the seminars, build better credibility by having attendees listen to a specific podcast episode before the event, ask them for topics on a form during a break at the seminar, connect with them on LinkedIn before they leave (or the next day by invitation),and then update them through social media and email every time you publish a new podcast. 

There are tremendous synergies from combining successful traditional marketing tactics with content marketing, social marketing, and email marketing. They complement and build off each other. 

In all my years of doing financial marketing, I’ve seen that the biggest indicator of success is a well-executed idea that is consistently deployed. Even good ideas won’t succeed if there’s no commitment to keeping it going long enough to yield the ROI you need. 

 

This is the truth about marketing ROI: 

 

There are different approaches to marketing for today’s advisor, and you should not expect the same kind of results from all marketing strategies. Some strategies will create short-term results, but if you take the time to see your marketing through the long term, the outcomes will be much more significant.

What can advisors do to get into the right mindset and generate more successful outcomes for their relationship-oriented marketing initiatives? 

 

    • Think beyond the numbers.

When you implement certain digital marketing initiatives like websites and blogs, you might not gain significant revenue from those mediums, but you’re getting a different kind of ROI. You are portraying yourself as a professional, building your credibility, and telling people who you are, what you do, and who you work with. You are enhancing the client experience just as you would by having a nice office reception.

    • Be consistent and patient. 

It takes time to build a recognizable brand. If you are consistently creating content that is unique and resolves your clients’ biggest challenges, it’s only a matter of time before you start seeing results. Even when you think you are not getting results, there is someone who is listening to your podcast or reading your blogs. They are getting to know you and your expertise, and they’re likely to tell their contacts about you.  Consider the long-term results that will come from your consistency.

    • Be proactive and involved. 

Don’t shy away from promoting your work. If you have a great blog, a podcast that you’re proud of, or a resource-filled for your clients, let them know. Take every opportunity you have to promote yourself and your brand. If you meet someone new, add them as a contact to your social networks. If you’ve decided to start a blog, a podcast, or host webinars, find ways to interact with your audience and make them feel like they’re part of the process. For instance, you can ask new contacts about what topics they would like to learn about in your blog and podcast. 

Of course, not all marketing strategies will work for everyone. But before you decide to quit, ask yourself these questions: 

  1. Is your strategy helping prospects experience what it would be like to work with you?
  2. Is your strategy helping you stay top of mind with your contacts? 
  3. Are you providing something that’s useful to your audience? 

If the answer is yes to any of the above, then you should probably keep doing what you’re doing.

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An Open Letter to All Business Development and Sales People

Are you a business development or salesperson who’s asking people to marry you before the first date? 

Stop being so forward!

You may want to close business as fast as possible, but whatever happened to building relationships?  

In a dating situation, you would probably go on several dates before daring to ask for a long-term relationship. Besides, part of the fun of dating is thinking about the last date, between dates.  

Guess what, selling is no different. 

But how do you keep your prospects thinking of you between calls? What is the secret? Is it language, a phrase, or a technique that only successful people know?  

Nope, it’s all about these five steps.

Before I share the steps, I want to tell you why I know this works. Our company used these methods to grow our business from zero to 2 million in valuation. We did that in less than two years. So, this is not pie-in-the-sky stuff here — it is real and it works. It might sound too simple, but sometimes simple is the best approach. 

 

1. Make it about them  

The first few touches are not about you at all. If you make them about you, well, you’ll lose. It’s critical that you spend far more time listening to your prospective clients than you do talking.  And give nonverbal cues that demonstrate that you are listening. Show respect, and show that you actually care about your prospective clients as people, even if your solution might not be the right fit. By the way, if you are in the dating pool, this approach works incredibly well. If you do this step well, prospects will ask you to follow up with them. If you have to ask when you can follow up, you did not do this step well.

2. Personalize Your Content

Have content available and tailor your next piece of communication to suit their needs and interests. Your first touch after the first meeting should have nothing to do with business; show you were listening. If you had gone on an actual first date, you could send that person their favorite flower, a magazine that highlights their biggest passion, an introduction to a new band, or, even better, send them a puppy. Everyone loves puppies. Ok, I am kidding about the puppy, but you should have white papers, podcasts, articles, or videos handy to send to your new prospect. Do this once a week on different days for as long as it takes.

3. Throw away your time expectations 

No one ever buys on your timeline. Your sales manager may have a timeline they’d like you to hit; however, times have changed and hopefully your manager can understand that. I cannot emphasize enough that prospects will make decisions on their own timeline, not yours. 

4. Connect with them on LinkedIn and comment on their posts

Show your prospects that you’re paying attention. People love that. Connect with them on LinkedIn and pay attention to what they post. But don’t just like their posts; comment with thoughtful messages. Share their posts, too. If you don’t think you have time to do this, you’re wrong. Carve out ten minutes every day to engage with your prospects on LinkedIn.

5. Ask them to do business with you

When you see an opening, ask them to do business with you. But don’t force it.  Be nice, but persistent. If you know your solution is really beneficial to your prospects, tell them! Don’t sell them, show them.  

As with all risks, go in positive and be patient. All good things come when you don’t rush it. If you develop and nurture these relationships, you will have great referral sources and a pipeline that, over time, will allow you to be the most successful business development or salesperson in your office.

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How to Build and Maintain Your Personal Brand in 4 Simple Steps

Personal branding is a great way to enhance your presence both online and offline. Building your own message and professional image can open doors to opportunities you may have never been considered for.

Helping audiences understand more about you and what you do, adds great marketing value to your personal brand, foments trust in you and your services, and makes you look professional and organized. And we all know those elements are highly important in the financial industry.

Most importantly, personal branding gives you a chance to separate yourself by positioning your specific expertise for a specific audience.

Personal branding gives you a chance to separate yourself by positioning your specific expertise for a specific audience.There are many misconceptions about branding, and sometimes advisors don’t take full advantage of this powerful tool when thinking about marketing themselves or their services.

Some people wrongly assume that personal branding means creating a fake version of yourself to appeal to audiences by telling people what they want to hear. 

The truth is, personal branding is about acknowledging all of your greatest attributes and building a quality message around them, which, in turn, builds your exposure and enhances the image others have about you.

A great example of a strong personal brand in financial services is Josh Brown, “The Reformed Broker.” Josh is the CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management, but still finds a way to separate his personal brand from that of his company.

Having a dedicated space for your professional self, outside of a company, can give you the freedom to express your personality, as Josh clearly does on his website and social media. You will often see that it’s his personal posts that get the most engagement, as Josh creates a forum for people to join the conversation.

 

 

Another upside of having personal social media profiles and websites? They give you more places to promote other services that you offer or content you create, such as public speaking or books and podcasts.

Here are a few steps you can follow to start building your personal brand.

Step #1: Define Your Goal

Take some time to understand what is it that you want to achieve through personal branding. Do you want to be known for doing something unique? Gain recognition from your peers or audience? Promote your books and other publications? Be hired for speaking engagements? Become a micro-influencer?

This is a crucial step that will allow you to understand your why. Understanding your why will allow you to come up with a solid plan and keep your focus on the strategies ahead.

Step #2: Research

Research what other top financial professionals are doing. Inspiration can come from a professional you admire, a mentor, or even your top competitor. Make a list of all the tactics you find interesting that have worked for others and that resonate with the public. Then, adapt those tactics to your brand and find ways to make them better: more compelling, more credible, and more resonant to your audience.

At this stage, you will also need to have a strong sense of who you are. Specifically, recognize your strengths and the unique services you offer. Evaluate the methods and words you are currently using to deliver your messages and the results they have gotten you. Take in the good and make it even better.

 

Step #3: Choose your purpose and words

It’s time to determine what you want your brand to be associated with. Now that you’ve had time to understand your purpose, recognize your unique attributes and strengths, and research your competition, it’s time to come up with concepts you would like to build around your brand and make a list based on those concepts. This step will help you create strategies to achieve your goal.Michael Kitces Twitter

If you want to be associated with trust, you may consider building a message around transparency and the systems you use to guarantee information safety or share any certifications and awards you have. 

If it’s innovation, perhaps promote your unique approach, that groundbreaking method you use to make your clients’ lives better. Find ways to talk about that state-of-the-art software you use that no one else is using. 

If you wish to focus on experience, you could create guides and tutorials for your clients, volunteer to speak at events, start a new podcast, or change the dynamic of an existing podcast.

Once you have that list of attributes, it’s time to create your unique brand statement. A brand statement is a short description of what you do, what you are good at, or, simply, your values. Here is an example from Michael Kitces; he uses the word “nerd” for his personal brand, suggesting that he is a dedicated and highly knowledgeable advisor. We also see that same message replicated across his social media.

 

 

Michael Kitces Website

 

 

Step #4: Nurture

Now that you’ve laid the foundation and core values of your personal brand, it’s time to start building it up. Embrace this opportunity to start creating original content. Showcase your personality, views, and expertise in any way you can. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to produce extensive publications. Sometimes the most personal forms of micro-content can inspire powerful conversations and build your relationships with ideal audiences.

 

Downtown Josh Brown 2

 

This last step is where it starts getting complicated for some advisors.

Marketing is not usually a “build it and they will come” tool, and it will take consistent effort to do it right. There has been a shift in the way businesses, professionals, and brands communicate with their clients — and this shift is becoming more common in the financial services industry, too.

Professional success for advisors is not entirely about the number and quality of leads and clients anymore. There is a new component to that: nurturing relationships with your ideal prospects, positioning yourself as a lead industry professional, and influencing people.  

Building your influence through personal branding can take some time. But it is, without a doubt, one of the most rewarding and important investments you can make in your career. 

 

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Time & Space : Placing Value on YOU

Many of you have been entrepreneurs longer than I have. 

For the last 15 years, I have been running my life and businesses like I was going to die tomorrow. Many of you know that is how it feels with being an entrepreneur.  You are only as good as your last meal (sale). There is a feverish pace that many people cannot maintain. To even have a shot at maintaining it, you need time and space. 

Last week, I tried to unplug.  

Since my merger and partnership with Kirk Lowe, we made a decision to make a company, not a small business.  Going long stretches without getting a real paycheck has been tough. And my creativity has been waning.

Time and space are hard to find when you run everything all the time.  Thankfully we have built a strong culture of professionals who embody the value we’ve created.  One of those values is to be unconditionally supportive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was at a place where I needed the support that I ask the team to give each other daily. I needed time and space.  

They accepted my desire with major support.  

So here is what happened while I was communing with my own time and space: It allowed me to clarify direction, make decisions on focus, and it allowed me to hit a hard reset.

There are always so many opportunities, so many rabbits to chase. There is an old saying, if you chase two rabbits, both will escape. So what is the rabbit?  Which one do I chase?

Figuring any of that out starts with asking yourself the right questions:

  1. What can I do to make the biggest impact on my community?  
  2. What is the highest and best use of my time?
  3. What will not only feed my business but also my soul?
  4. Can I do it?
  5. Will I be able to sustain it?

How would you answer these questions?  

I sat in the middle of a field with my dog and considered the personal and professional ramifications of these questions. Since I had taken the time and space, the answers came with amazing clarity.  As the wind blew across the field the answers were just there.

  1. What can I do to make the biggest impact on my community?  
    1. Help professionals use their voices to educate and influence their marketplace to help their community make impactful decisions about their lives.
  2. What is the highest and best use of my time?
    1. Finding new markets who want to make that impact.  I need to speak about the power of the voice to as many people who will listen.
  3. What will not only feed my business but also my soul?
    1. Speaking. As much as it is a huge exertion of energy, I love it.  
  4. Can I do it?
    1. Yes!  I have an amazing team, business partners, and energy.  I can be out meeting new people, telling them about my passion, and the power of that passion.
  5. Will I be able to sustain it?
    1. Yes!  One thing I have implemented when I speak is to go to the location early and do something fun, local, and experiential.  

So why am I writing this?  To encourage you to give yourself the gift of time and space.  Take a self-assessment by asking yourself these five questions at least annually.

Why?  

Because you are your greatest asset.