If you missed The STP Approach to Business Building for Financial Advisors or Publishing, Media Participation Can Boost Advisors’ Credibility, you will want to go back and read them before proceeding with this week’s article on Relationship Marketing. This week, we’ll continue our series with a second installment on Key Strategy #2: Relationship Marketing. Below you will find a real-life advisor story that will bring this week’s concept to life for you.
BREAKING BREAD, ONE-ON-ONE
This is the story of Navigation Financial Group, a 30-year-old wealth management firm based in Dallas.
Clyde Wyatt, CLU, CFS, Managing Director, and his partners, Roger Gekier, John Wolverton and Steven Hagemann, who jointly manage a branch office chain under the Navigation Financial name in six different South Texas cities, determined that they needed a more cost-effective option to group dinner seminar events. Navigation is one of Securities America’s largest branches with more than 25 independent financial services professionals and approximately $1 billion under management.
While group dinner seminars had once been the backbone of their marketing plan, the executives at Navigation began to see that there is a large segment of the population that will either not respond to a traditional seminar invitation or are uncomfortable discussing financial matters in a group setting. In 2008/09, they decided to try a more personal approach and have continued with their “concierge consultation” plan ever since.
They started by crafting an introductory letter inviting prospective clients to meet them for a no obligation dinner to discuss their personal financial situation. They sent the personalized letters to 1000 households. They purchased the names based on demographics from a list broker. In fact, they outsourced the entire process to a turnkey service provider, Seminar Success, a division of Response Mail Express (RME).
According to the Seminar Success website: Concierge Consultation is a one-to-one lead generation program that uses a "dinner" meeting concept rather than a "dinner seminar." It utilizes RME's experience in seminar marketing, full printing and production services, custom RSVP, telephony and customer service support to provide a one-to-one lead generation and appointment setting product.
The service includes a personalized invitation printed on card stock, a bio card insert printed on matching card stock, appointment pre-screening and setting performed by the RME telephony department and a password protected website that enables the advisor to view and listen to all of the incoming prospective client calls in response to a set of survey questions designed to elicit a response.
Out of the 1,000 invitation letters that Navigator sent out, fifteen qualified prospective clients agreed to go to dinner and get acquainted with Clyde and/or another advisor in the firm. Usually, a two-person advisor team was present at every dinner meeting; this made it easier to build rapport and keep small talk going during lulls in the business conversation. Typically, both husband and wife would attend as a prospective client unit. Clyde or his colleague would typically use an iPad to show visual elements, which proved to be a great way to explain complex ideas and demonstrate their expertise over dinner.
Of the 15 dinner appointments they conducted, 13 of the dinner guest-units agreed to come into the office for a more formal meeting. Of those thirteen meetings, seven of the original guest-units became clients. The firm’s approximate $8,000 investment paid off handsomely – and the advisor-teams enjoyed 15 dinners at a great steakhouse, to boot.
With time and follow up, my hunch is that they will be able to stimulate some additional interest with the prospects who said, “no thanks, not now” during the first go-round.
POWER MAILERS, SECOND OPINION CAMPAIGN
Power Mailers Direct seems to be offering something very close to what RME does, while The Second Opinion Campaign (brought to you by Steve Anderson, who was perhaps best known for his Multi-media Business Cards and Audio Business Cards in the past) is a bit higher tech, utilizing the Web and email communications to supplement traditional direct mail tactics.