You won’t find this idea in a book, even though we are launching our book, the second edition in July 2016 of ” Guerrilla Marketing For Financial Advisors” . You won’t find this idea at a seminar, course or workshop.
Not even on line or any website. . In fact you won’t get this information from top financial advisor performers, but you will find the idea where you work. It will change the way you think. It will change your business strategies. It will make you take a close look at what you’re doing right and what you need to improve on. The idea will help you grow, develop and build your practice to heights you thought weren’t possible. It will make you understand your business better, even more than hiring a consultant. It is a guerrilla marketing idea which is investing time energy and imagination into your business. This one idea may change your business in 2016 and beyond. Once you start to apply the idea over and over, you will find a steady stream of ideal clients to work with.
If I was asked to give only one idea to build and scale a financial advisory practice, this would be the idea.
Create a board of directors with your top clients and centers of influence. Ask them for feedback and ideas on every aspect of your business from advice to marketing, client appreciation and client communication.
Invite from six to ten of your top clients in one meeting for an hour and get valuable feedback on your image, identity, business and marketing. Then hold a second meeting for your top centers of influence or referral sources. Hold these meetings three to four times a year and buy your “board of directors” lunch for giving you valuable feedback on all areas of your business. It will cost you less than $200 and a few hours of your time. Each time you are creating formal feedback for your business. The most amazing thing happens when you tell people you are working on your business. Within 30 days you get referrals to more like minded people and gain additional top clients.
Each year change the board to new clients and new centers of influence to build relationships and gain insight as well as referrals from influential individuals. Just like coaching and mentoring, it is feedback from the people that use your services to tell you how you’re doing. They may give you ideas that you and your success coach, manager or mentor may not see and understand. You can’t get that from a book or a course.
For example, If I have never experienced being one of your clients for a period of time, how can I give you long term valuable feedback on what you are doing, how you communicate with people and how your business is perceived? It is this valuable feedback from your top clients and centers of influence that is going to give you the edge over your competitors.
A secondary objective is a way to develop referrals and clone your best clients by discussing the fact that you are looking for more clients like them to build your business. Make it clear though that this is not a referral session, but a genuine feedback session for your business. It is to ask questions like” what are the 3 things that you value the most about our services” ?
Some advisors have used this as a referral meeting by bringing in their top referring clients and discussing their business plans and asking who or what target market should they tackle next. The clients will tell them the clubs their associated with, hobbies and activities and where they might meet them in a casual setting to introduce their advisor to friends and associates in different groups, associations or settings. You will learn about several types of groups and associations. Others may use it as strategic networking opportunity to find out charitable events their clients are involved in and ask to join or participate.
For example if you are looking to attract dentists, have a dentist focus group or board of directors luncheon. If you have more than one market, then cluster together different types of groups and or have several referral and or focus group meetings.
A Sample Agenda List
- Client statements format/recommended changes/timeliness of information/do you want them hole-punched/suggestions for improvement.
- Client education/seminars format/topics of interest/speakers/suggestions for improvement.
- Web site–Format/content/additional stuff/future use/frequency of use/suggestions for improvement.
- Client appreciation–Plans/lunches, golf days, books, gifts, spring promo (seeds and garden book?)/how to WOW clients/suggestions for improvement.
- Client service–Assistants/office/telephone/greeting/appearance/perception/suggestions for improvement.
- Client communications–Email communication (Is it effective, interesting, or a waste of time; what do you think of the personalized emails?)/seminar invitations/special bulletins/news articles/quarterly newsletters (quality, useful information, topics and ideas to discuss)/suggestions for improvement.
- Client tax planning focus–Tax efficient and planning focus/team of experts/resources/request for feedback/client perception.
- Client building–Typical sought client/working with other professionals/suggestions for additional team members/mailer ideas/database building/referral-generation ideas/performance feedback/suggestions for improvement.
- Target marketing–For example sponsorships such as lawn bowling, community events, other ideas/brochure or client intro kit.
- Advertising–Newspaper articles (Do you read them: Do they appeal to you?)/weekly ads in newspaper (Continue or change?)/suggestions for improvement.
- Professionalism–Interviews/feedback/knowledge, skills, commitment, etc./suggestions for improvement.
- Feedback and comments. case study
Case studies critical
Make sure you have a case study which is a description of your ideal client you are looking for. A case study will help people recognize the type of clients you work best with. Make sure you discuss your ideal client that you are looking for. Have an agenda set up for the meeting and be prepared to discuss and disclose your business ideas that you are planning to do. Depending on the group, you may also hand out a client communication plan, business plan or your marketing plans for the coming year. Then ask lots of questions, take lots of notes and build it the way your top clients and referral sources can clearly benefit from and help you grow. After all, it’s all about them. Don’t waste any time. Put this on your to do list this week!