There is no doubt that as a financial advisor you are passionate about your work. Your primary goal is likely to see the businesses of your clients grow and become successful. It’s a great feeling to be in the middle of it and having some kind of influence on how that business operates financially towards success.
It’s almost as if you attract customers based on that fact. You know, that you can help any size business to become a serious contender in the industry they operate within surrounded by tons of competition. It can be complicated but that’s why they turn to you.
But how do you get business otherwise? There are days, maybe even weeks where you don’t see a new client at all. Sure, your regulars are going to keep you in business but what if one of them disappears off your radar for some reason not related to your service? You need to sell your services to keep things fresh and interesting for you and to ensure the long-term growth and stability of your business.
This means you have to start promoting yourself. Sure, business cards are part of that and so is sponsoring a little league team or supporting local events with random prizes but selling yourself is a much bigger picture than that.
So how do you do it?
Here are several ways you can better sell yourself and your services.
1. Identify Your Target Market
You could quite easily say that your target market is every type of investor. That’s a good start but it doesn’t focus on any specific demographic. And quite honestly, demographics are key to identifying your target market.
This means doing homework with census data. After all, your day-to-day activities already revolve around numbers so this kind of data should be an easy one to sift through. What you are looking for is the age, gender, locale and profession of everyone living in your selected ‘territory’ of service.
With this data broken down into these categories, you will be able to see if there is a niche that could be better serviced by your financial planning firm. Possibly there are a lot of doctors or medical professionals in your area between the ages of 35 and 45. That could be a demographic worth targeting. Using that messaging in your business could set your business apart from your competition.
When you have a handle on the potential clients who exist in your market, you can sell your services directly to them. It is a cost-effective way to reach part of the market rather than going with the standard, “I serve everyone in business” approach.
2. Believe In Your Abilities
Even if you have been a financial advisor for years if you don’t honestly think you are helping your clients you are not helping to sell your services either. Clients who have had results that show how your work has helped them provides evidence of your skills. Though you may be limited by what they can say about you, reflecting on the impact you’ve made on their lives can be an important source of motivation.
Being able to confidently convey this to a potential client is crucial in the early stages of working with someone new. With businesses, working with a proven commodity makes taking on a new business partner less risky and easier to deal with.
If you can sell yourself as being a proven commodity to those new clients who are sitting on the fence regarding the need for a financial planner, you come across as having belief in what you do and what you can do for others.
3. Communicate Old-School
Everyone likes to feel special. That includes your clients from the small startup entrepreneurs right on up to the major corporations. When you remember some of the ‘small stuff’ like an anniversary or acknowledge some kind of life event in the world of a client, it says a lot about you and your character.
Sending flowers on an anniversary or to a funeral is not you being pushy. If you do these things and are genuine in why you reached out – because you care about your client/friend – you make a stronger emotional connection with that person and their business.
It shows that you value them for more than just their business and how that helps your business. By communicating with cards, letters and face-to-face deliveries of flowers you elevate yourself to someone who didn’t get an office person to fire off a form letter email. You instead took the time to put thought into your communication.
Doing these things sell you and your financial services as a human item that functions on people’s connections that are real, emotional and personal. Those feelings rarely come out of an email with the recipient’s name spelled incorrectly.
4. Make Use Of Complaints
Okay, maybe you’ve never had a client complain to you about your service, rates or access. That’s great, but have you ever allowed your clients to give you their feedback? We always focus on the positive reviews we receive online or the kind words shared in the office as a client exits.
But if you give them the outlet to complain about something you can do something great in selling yourself. Maybe set up a suggestion form on your website or send a short two or three-question survey to a client after you’ve worked with them for some feedback.
Be prepared to see a spectrum of comments. The point here is not to beat you up but when a client complains about something, it allows you to learn from it (if it is a mistake) as well as to make improvements to what you do in your daily operation.
However, the best tool you can implement from complaints is fixing the problems they point out to you. By resolving situations quickly, effectively and to the satisfaction of the complainer, you sell yourself as being someone who acts on issues. It can turn a difficult client into a trusted, loyal regular and that could result in referrals.
5. Seek Speaking Engagements
There is something powerful about getting in front of a live audience and giving them the lowdown on the business of being a financial advisor. Where this is a good idea is when you can appear in front of peer groups that can benefit from your knowledge.
Rotary clubs, Chambers of Commerce and any other business organization is a great place to provide a free discussion and presentation on the value of having a financial advisor. Topics can target the audience as an example, discuss why businesses need a financial planner when you speak at a business meeting.
The goal here is to not come across as if you are soliciting business. That is why your topics should focus on matters that the target audience can relate to. How to weather the current trends in business, how to create a succession plan, why you need a financial plan…topics that are generic enough to not sound like you are pushing your services, but have a clear connection to your services.
Plus, by getting out and being seen in your peer group is always a good thing. You may even see some of your existing clients at a few of these speaking engagements. If they have been happy with the work you’ve done for them so far, they will do the soliciting for you.
6. Spruce Up Your Online Footprint
An outdated website is not going to sell your services very well online. So you’ll want to give that a major overhaul and make it look professional and inviting. While you’re at it, you’ll want to explore additional social media platforms to get your name out there.
If you are not already using them, having a professional profile on LinkedIn is a good idea. If you have been avoiding – or putting off – using Facebook you can rest a little easier now knowing that they now provide an option to create a business page.
One digital location you must include if you are going to put any kind of effort into selling yourself online is with Google My Business. Essentially that it the place where you will pick up some traffic when someone searches for you or your business with a handheld device.
The trend is shifting to where more individuals will use Google to search for news, information, and entertainment. It also means that they will be searching for “financial planners near me” and if your Google My Business page pops up, you will likely see a new client. At the very least it will help you to generate leads.
That is where the power of the internet can truly help sell you and your services. By using a digital marketing program, you will be able to target the specific audience you want your message to appear in front of. This is your most cost-effective marketing tool.
7. Voicemail Is Your Friend
Sure, we all dislike having to leave a message when we are trying to reach someone, but there is an advantage to using that few seconds of recording time. Think about this for a moment. When you are playing back any of the voicemails left for you, you are typically alone and focused on listening to the message.
Even if you are checking voicemail on the commuter bus, in traffic or while in front of the TV, the voice you are hearing is providing a message that is directed to you. Even if you have it on speakerphone, the message is meant for you. This makes you a captive audience.
So, with this in mind, when you find yourself having to leave a message on someone else’s voicemail, do something with that space. Turn it into a mini ‘radio’ commercial where you have 15-seconds to sell your services. Keep it brief and to the point but be sure to include a call-to-action to increase the chances of a callback.
Just remember to be friendly, not pushy.
8. Sponsor Events
Do you ever wonder why you see company banners or logos associated with local events and charities? That’s because when you want to sell your service to potential clients, a good way to do that without coming across as pushy is to slap your logo on a golf tournament with a donation and people see your brand and connect it to that specific charity or local event.
We mentioned it briefly in the introduction to this article for a good reason.
It is one of those marketing ploys that benefits up to three different parties. For example, a local non-profit is hosting an event but needs sponsors to cover the costs. Sponsors jump on board and provide everything from cash donations to prizes. The sponsors get brand visibility, the charity covers costs and participants can win prizes that were donated by the sponsors. Often those prizes will have branding on them or a business card attached.
There is probably no other way to reach people at the grassroots level and sell yourself without actually doing any selling than by sponsoring events. It gets your name into the community and gives the people exposed to it a warm, fuzzy feeling about who you are and what you do in the community.
Competition in the world of financial planning forces financial advisors to reach out and work to sell their services. This is not entirely a bad thing as it presents some interesting scenarios. If you use creative marketing plans and focus on non-traditional means of selling your services, you can stand out from your competition.
It requires that you focus on being genuine, promote yourself without actually soliciting in some cases and going heavy on the selling in others. By knowing your market and aligning yourself with ways to touch others in a personal and emotional way, your services can sometimes sell themselves.