Dustin Hall, a CFP and partner in independent financial advisory firm Hall & Burns, told me that hosting interesting events is the main way he keeps out in front of clients and prospects.
"There's nothing better than getting out of the office to, say, play a game of tennis with a client who has a passion for that, or to spend time meeting their friends and family at a culinary institute or baseball game. Our clients know we are looking out for their best interests on the financial front but what sets us apart is knowing how much we really care about them as people, not just a client account."
Hall, who is affiliated with LPL Financial, said they had a great response to a "ladies only" event they held at a local art facility. "We called it 'Wine and Design'. Everyone was given a canvas on an easel and, after a short painting lesson, invited to paint their own masterpiece. They each took home their painting and some great memories."
You can be sure that when they hang that painting in their home or vacation cottage that visitors will ask about it and the client or guest they brought will remember the event and that Hall & Burns was the host.
"What a coincidence," I smiled. "I am just now putting the finishing touches on an article for Financial-Planning.com. Your examples come at just the perfect time."
THREE PRIMARY FUNNELS
There are really only three primary marketing methods that work for independent financial planners:
-- Event Marketing
-- Client and COI Referrals
-- Public Relations
Filling each of the three funnels is a sure way to ensure you have enough qualified client inquiries come down the spout and, ultimately, become right-fit clients.
This week, we'll talk about Event Marketing. In future weeks, we'll talk about referrals and public relations.
THE FIRST FUNNEL TO FILL: EVENTS
Events can be a great way to help enhance relationships with current clients, position yourself in front of qualified prospects, and build important mutually beneficial relationships with Centers of Influence (COIs). In fact, I think it's the most important funnel for you to fill. Filling your Events Funnel will inevitably lead to a spillover into your Referral Funnel and Public Relations Funnel. But, while it is true that nothing will ever replace the warmth of a handshake or the ability to build rapport in person, yesterday's event marketing strategies may not work today.
There are three primary types of marketing events that work for financial planners:
-- Affinity event
-- Client appreciation event
-- Public forum
At the end of this article, you will be invited to envision three different events and to pencil in the initial framework for a successful event. Take notes as you read from here on down - something I say may spark an idea for you and you'll want to capture your insights as they occur to you.
THINK BEYOND THE NORM
Times have changed and people are tired of the same old thing. They want information from an authoritative source, presented in a fun and dynamic way - on their terms (e.g., live in person, live in a virtual setting or recorded and available 24/7 online).
Today's consumers are not the "Pollyanna" type. They're more skeptical and better informed than ever before. They don't want to be told what to do. They want a chance to interact and shape the discussion, to check you out ahead of time and to challenge the status quo.
The Internet has changed the playing field. Most people can get answers to financial questions with a few clicks of their mouse. They can get insights and advice from colleagues, peers and other professionals through interactive social media sites such as LinkedIn, Eon, Twitter, Facebook and more. With the advent of Web 2.0, people have instant access to professionally produced, dynamic multimedia presentations on websites, blogs, Scribd, SlideShare, Vipe, Vimeo and YouTube.