Marketing is an endless process of innovative communication that is executed, halted, cut down and rebuilt. Because of that, there are always habits that businesses get into that need tweaking, or are executed in ways that are inefficient. The most dangerous of these is identifying based on your product, rather than on the customer's needs. This has a name, coined in an article written by Theodore Levitt over 50 years ago. It's called myopic marketing. The example of myopic marketing he gives is the railroad. They identified as being in the rail business, not the transportation business. Because of this, they had a very hard time adapting when competitors came into the space and marketed for general transportation, making it much more convenient and positioning it better to make the consumer want what they had.
For financial planners, the same habit can develop in thinking that rather than being in the service or the lifestyle industry, they are merely in the finance business. The easiest way to prove that is to look at the "why" of your customers. Your customers aren't coming to a financial planner for a single solution or a single product. They don't care what software you might have or what product you might want to offer them. Not right away. Your customers have questions. They want advice. Ultimately, they want to build a plan and be able to move with the flow. That means you need to be able to market yourself as that financially secure lifestyle, not just a single set of products. Your customers care more about having someone they feel comfortable with helping them to plan for the future than they do about your products.
A key part of this is changing habits. Here are some that you can change and easily automate. If you don't already use automation, try it to see how you can save more time and money while connecting much more easily with your prospects.
- Stop promoting insurance, retirement and investment first. That should be a part of the plan and something that you promote to people already involved with the finance sector. Instead, market the idea of long-lasting security, of a financially stable family, of being able to care for ailing loved ones or of sending children to any school they want. Market for the experiences that families and individuals want. Learn about your customers, and market to them what they want most. Use the three aforementioned and very prevalent tools as something to help with your appointments. A couple quick changes in your newsletter and email marketing, and all your automated sends now reflect that personal touch, assisted by a good contact management platform and merge tags.
- Take your time in appointments, and work out the initial solution but be sure to book follow-ups. Many people now feel like going to a financial planner will be a one stop solution. So take your time and show them that you know your stuff. This can be reflected again in your blog, newsletter and more. Automation helps you draw attention to your documentation and collect customer information through forms.
- Don't just advise for a specific product or against a specific choice and expect clients to take it at face value. Explain why, even if it takes some time. Your customers need to understand that you're looking out for them. Clarity in your text marketing and emails is key, and your blog can again explain why certain common misconceptions are in fact poor choices.
- Control customer passivity. Customers may assume that if you're marketing a product, that product will protect them from every eventuality from now until forever, and that is simply impossible. You want to ensure that they understand the importance of them following up with you and keeping you apprised of major changes so you can help them alter their portfolio appropriately. By following up via email or fax you can ask for follow-up appointments to plan contingencies that will take over if a drastic change occurs.
- Call customers who haven't been in for some time and ask them to do a review with you. The very methods they are using to make money can cost them money, and you want to ensure that they know before it's too late to fix. Calling previous customers is a good plan as well. You've built a rapport with them, and unless their leaving was a messy process, you're just checking up and making sure they're okay. Voice messages can be recorded and sent out at regular intervals automatically, freeing up a lot of time and money for your office.
- Get your customers saving. Credit cards and loans contribute to people living outside their means, which ruins their financial plan altogether. They want someone to hold their hand in the planning process, and that means it's up to you to convince them to start saving money, not overspending. This is easily followed up on using email or SMS reminders and booking regular appointments.
These seem pretty basic, but in our experience the marketing that's currently done simply doesn't reflect any of those things. In order to stay relevant and on top of your game, you must be customer oriented, not product oriented. For more tips on the financial planning industry, have a look at the financial planner page where you can find more content and tips and tricks on automating processes like this. For more information on what marketing automation can do, have a look at our marketing automation page.