Financial advisors have been caught between a rock and a hard place since the pandemic infiltrated and caused disruption of epic proportions. Whilst many financial advisory companies had begun to adopt newer technologies in an effort to adapt to a more digital landscape, nothing could have prepared them for the seismic shift that occurred in the past 18 months.
Traditional methods of prospecting and marketing suddenly ground to a halt as financial advisors were caught frozen without a plan. No longer could their efforts land them a face-to-face meeting with potential clients and operating remotely seemed to be an entirely foreign concept.
For those advisors with some technological know-how, they made subtle changes to their prospecting and marketing efforts in order to enhance their digital presence. Read on as we discover the best ways to prospect and market your profile and business in this new age of online financial advice.
Why Is Prospecting Important?
Prospecting can be described as a persistent and systematic method of developing and qualifying sales leads, and subsequently, converting them into prospects. This is vital and should serve as the spine of your sales process. Prospecting should be viewed as an ongoing project, sort of like maintaining your business garden. Online financial advisors must devote time consistently to their prospecting efforts to remain relevant.
Prospecting Tips for The 21st Century Financial Advisor
Fear is a hidden barrier that has the ability to kill off your success before you even start. Virtual financial advisors usually avoid prospecting as they fear being rejected and haven’t sufficiently prepared for it. The key here is to improve your knowledge on all aspects of your business activities and make an effort to understanding your target market. When you are armed with knowledge and have sufficient preparations, you will automatically appear more confident and more likely to attract the right people.
Monitor your numbers
If you want to estimate how much fruit your efforts are bearing, it is vital for you to monitor your numbers. By tracking your numbers, you should be able to predict your monthly income, and adjust your strategy accordingly when the need arises. If 100 calls gets you 10 appointments of which 2 are converted to clients, then you should be able to gauge with a fair degree of accuracy what your income will be at the end of that month. It is important to note that you must track the right metrics – that is the metrics that involve money, such as the number of appointments and the number of converted clients.
With technology advancing at such a rapid rate, it is wise to leverage such convenience to make your job as a virtual financial advisor easier. A great way to use technology is through Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that helps you to manage your client list. Such software helps you to ascertain which clients have been contacted, who you need to follow up with, what platforms you have contacted them on, and any outstanding compliance information required for each client, amongst other factors. CRM’s are particularly useful in streamlining your workload and can avoid you doing repetitive tasks and wasting time.
Handle rejection like a pro
Rejection is part and parcel of prospecting and even the best salespeople are not immune to it. The most important aspect to bear in mind is that rejection is never a personal attack, but rather a person’s hesitancy about your offer. There will always be people who show interest and those who don’t. If somebody does not show any interest in your offer, that person is simply not a prospect, and you should swiftly move on.
It takes remarkable inner strength to handle rejection like a pro, but in doing so you remain composed and have the clarity of thought to maximize your opportunities with those people who do show interest in your offers. Never get caught up with indecisive clients, as their indecision will cost you valuable time that can be better spent with prospects who are clearer with their intentions.
Prepare a script
The great thing about prospecting is that you have plenty of opportunities to develop and improve scripts on your prospects. Whilst it is extremely important to identify with each individual by making your connection unique and personal, you should have a few solid scripts that you must incorporate in your interaction with each prospect.
Perhaps consider your script as the spine of your conversation and branch out into more unique aspects that align more specifically to that particular prospect. Scripts are helpful at the beginning of an interaction as this is usually the hardest part of approaching a prospect. Moreover, scripts assist you to keep on purpose with focus and intent, and this will help you to sift out qualified leads easier while engaging in the promotion of financial services.
These scripts should not be “scripted” per se. They should be natural, organic, and genuine but polished. Show people you are a human (not a bot) and that you care about what you do, this will resonate with anyone you approach. And if it doesn’t, perhaps you don’t want them as a client in the first place!
Take advantage of your client list
When looking through your client list, try and identify which client profile you most enjoy working with. With this process, you should be able to pick up certain personality traits, demographics, and values that resonate with your working style and this will give you a clearer idea of who your ideal prospects are. Since prospecting requires tremendous effort on your part, it is much easier prospecting with qualified leads who fit your ideal profile as you will be on the same wavelength as the people you are interacting with. We discuss this at length in our Conneqtor Cohorts. Identifying and crystalizing ones ideal client actually starts with you…
Develop strategic alliances
A great way to boost your prospecting efforts is to develop strong alliances with referral partners. These could be estate agents, property developers, attorneys, business owners, and accountants. By committing your efforts towards these strategic alliances, you are able to boost your revenue streams as qualified leads will find themselves contacting you through your network of partners. Remember to always be patient, and don’t put your alliance partners under pressure to bring leads to your doorstep as this could be detrimental to future business.
These referral partners are holdovers from the brick & mortar days so make sure to connect and build strong relationships with them online now, social media being a great place to do this and help each other grow. Also look to form relationships with other influencers that are marketing to the same people you are in a complimentary manner, by working with them you can increase their and your reach.
Get involved in community work
Joining local community groups and volunteering is a cost-effective way to get your name out there and meet people while contributing towards a good cause. This benefits your profile in the eyes of your community as they see you as a person who wants to contribute towards a better community. This in turn will attract like-minded people to you who could, realistically, become your clients.
Although this may appear to be a passive strategy, it is anything but that as your name and profile will filter through the community the longer you are involved in these projects. That in turn will attract people to your business and open up greater avenues for you to maximize within your community.
Given the last 18 months, I think this strategy, albeit still of value, has shifted. We have to consider adding a digital element to our community work for the simple fact that so many people are online.
LinkedIn is an incredible tool that you, as a virtual financial advisor, should use to network and meet the right people. My organic posts reached over 1 million people in 2020, I didn’t pay a penny for this, just an hour of my time 4-5 days a week. LinkedIn is an awesome platform to connect with like-minded people and to filter the prospects that you want to connect with. The beauty about LinkedIn is that you are able to extract enough information from a possible prospect’s profile before approaching them. This gives you enough opportunity to get your script and pitch in order before engaging with these qualified leads for financial advisors.
Try and make your interaction as unique as possible and look for avenues to find common ground from where your conversation can flow. It is a great idea to get endorsements from your existing clients (if you are allowed to) on LinkedIn as your prospects are sure to go through your profile to find out more about you and your offer.
LinkedIn has become a content creator’s dream. Where else can you only compete with 1% of the people on there to share your message and attract new clients? Don’t creep, create. Put out great, genuine content and attract your tribe with your vibe.
Maximize your website potential
Your website is like a shop that is open 24/7 and attracts clients when you are not around. Much of your online and digital activity should encourage prospects to visit your website. Having traffic diverted to your website is sure to drum up interest as these prospects get to know you and your financial offers better. A great idea is to have a contact form on your home page where these warm leads can leave their details and get you to contact them.
It is vital that your website looks professional as first impressions most definitely last when it comes to prospects. Your website must be aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. Your contact information must be displayed clearly, and your products and services should be explained easily. In a nutshell, online financial advisors who have great websites have one step through the door when it comes to prospect conversion.
Marketing Ideas And Strategies For The 21st Century Financial Advisor
Successful virtual financial advisors are those who use effective marketing strategies and ideas for the promotion of financial services. Success will find its way to you when your marketing efforts are a combination of different ideas and strategies that work together towards optimizing your business and profile. Whilst trying different marketing strategies is great, they should work with each other to maximize its effect. We teach a lot about building a Robust Digital Footprint in our Conneqtor Cohort.
It’s never a good idea to cut out marketing strategies that are working for you because you want to try something new. Rather, try building on that existing strategy to see if that makes it more effective. Eliminating a successful strategy because you intend to try a new approach is rather brave, but not very wise. With that being said, always stick with marketing strategies that are working, and cut off those ideas that constantly lead to dead ends.
Set definite goals
A key component of being a successful online financial advisor is to set goals for yourself. Having a goal and setting targets gives you direction and purpose, and that helps you to focus your marketing strategies and efforts towards that. Virtual financial advisors with clear goals have a definite purpose about their work which prospects and clients easily pick up. This in turn makes prospects and clients more confident in the abilities of that online financial advisor, and this undoubtedly boosts business in the process.
Understand your target market
While we’ve touched on client lists earlier, it is a great idea to write down all the qualities of your perfect client. Once you have a better understanding of the demographics and psychographics of your ideal client, your job becomes easier as you can develop and implement specific strategies aimed precisely at these prospects and clients.
Whilst using a scattergun approach may appear to be easy, most online financial advisors who employ that marketing strategy usually ends up with unqualified leads or prospects who are not suitable. By being specific about the niche that you want to infiltrate, your entire marketing strategy is given clear direction. You can then use specific ideas to attract exactly who you want to deal with – qualified clients with the qualities of your perfect client.
This makes your job as a financial advisor much easier as you can work much better when dealing with a specific profile of a client who you understand. By being on the same wavelength as your client, you are able to provide more personalized services that are tailor-made to the client’s unique circumstances. This builds trust and rapport with your ideal client base, and over time, will make you indispensable.
Get your financial house in order
A key element that virtual financial advisors must possess is the ability to market their products and services through their own personal experience. This means that financial advisors should own or possess what they plan to market and sell to prospects and clients. What this essentially means is that if you are selling insurance, you should have insurance of your own. Similarly, if you are selling financial plans, you should already have some financial planning cover under your own portfolio.
Online financial advisors must have a sense of pride when selling something to a prospect or client. This pride automatically surfaces when that online financial advisor is already in possession of that product or service because they truly believe in the value that the product or service and are in a better position to facilitate the promotion of financial services. By speaking to a prospect or client with authority about a product or service that you are in possession of, they appear to have more confidence in your abilities and are subsequently more likely to agree to your offer.
I realize that it is hard to own every product & service out there, but being your own customer shows you believe in what you do and helps build your confidence which in turn can be seen in your marketing and interactions with clients. Know as much about what you are helping others with to be the subject matter expert they want you to be.
Understanding your client’s motivations
Whilst many financial advisory companies appear to provide tailor-made services to their client base, the actual truth is that most of their offers and products have been commoditized. A vital concept that online financial advisors must take time to understand is the motivations of each of their clients. By having a deeper understanding of what motivates your clients and their perspective on their goals, you will be able to forge a long-term relationship with that client that has the potential to provide profitable rewards. This human connection and understanding can never be commoditized and are what will differentiate you from the rest.
A great way to understand a client’s motivations is to take the focus off your product and/or service. Instead, you should look at how such offers will benefit this client specifically and what about your offer will motivate your client to achieve their goals. If your client has a minor child, for example, discussing their child’s dream to become a doctor one day would be a great motivating factor for such a client to consider an Education Savings plan to make such a dream a reality.
Clients don’t want to be confused with complicated jargon that would repel any thoughts of doing business with you. In an effort to understand their motivations, you must ensure that your conversation is effortless and smooth, and speaks to the heart of their circumstances. Once you have ascertained their true motivations, it is much easier to create tailor-made solutions addressing their real needs.
Essentially, as a virtual financial advisor, you must learn what motivates your clients or prospects, and then focus your marketing strategies towards tailor-made solutions that meet your client’s needs.
Grow your potential client list while you sleep
Most advisors have been taught to focus on colder, outbound lead generation. Yes, these tactics have worked for a long time, but times have changed and the consumer is not responding to them like they used to.
The consumer is much more receptive to inbound marketing. This is where you create content of value, content that enters the conversation a potential client is already having in their own mind and helps them answer a question. By providing this value you attract people to you, they start to get to know you, trust you, and eventually will reach out to you for help. This is inbound marketing and it can be done 24/7, even while you sleep.
You do this with a variety of digital assets and tech, most of which can be set up once and then automated.
Than use virtual meetings or a combination of in-person and virtual to take potential clients on your new client journey, which will eventually lead to new business for you.
While the pandemic has forced most financial advisors to change their prospecting and marketing strategies to keep up with the times, it is clear that the core elements of traditional prospecting and marketing strategies are still relevant in today’s world. By integrating these techniques and ideas with technology and digital platforms, they can become even more effective tools for the new-age online financial advisor to leverage.
These are certainly very exciting times, especially as I am about to release a new ground-breaking product to help advisors connect with more potential clients at the right time & place, for the right reasons. Stay tuned on this…..
Perhaps now is the time to change your focus and tactics to take full advantage of the 21st-century world we live in. The consumer already has.
Thanks a ton for reading and please let me know if you have any questions.