“What worked 5 years ago, doesn’t work today,” Peter Montoya told a packed room at Thursday’s T3 conference in Florida.

What is Out

Like in the movie Boiler Room, many advisors grew up being trained that cold calling to sell a specific product was the right way to gain revenue. Financial planning was a transaction-based game in which the advisor casted a wide net, baiting it with a single product. 

Now advisors have hundreds of thousands of products to use and the traditional marketing tactics are not as effective. 

Montoya shared how things like seminars are not as productive, joking, “You’ll probably just end up getting a room full of professional plate lickers that just show up for the free food.”

Direct mail, where advisors buy a list, is never effective for lead generation. Montoya said he did not know of a single example where an advisor was happy going that route. 

On the other hand, direct mail can be effective in two areas: Client maintenance and prospect nurturing.

Montoya explained why some marketing techniques now fail, “These things work better in markets of confidence and greed.  Now there is a different market mentality.  The number one thing on clients’ minds now is ‘don’t lose my money.’”

Relationship Marketing – The New Shift

Montoya presented 6 marketing tactics guaranteed to work:

  • Client referrals
  • Professional referrals
  • Networking
  • Website
  • Client events
  • Client and prospect communication

Client referrals are by far the biggest area for advisors’ to grow their businesses, but an advisor has to have clients to be successful with that tactic. 
Montoya said that he thought that networking was the most important thing, as it leads everything else.

“Your clients are a direct reflection of your network,” he said. “If you want to change your clients, you need to change your networks.” 

As networks are very time consuming, he thought an advisor should be in two to four of them.

When it comes to websites, Montoya said that “they can be shallow, but high quality.” 

[Note, I agree with all Peter’s advice, but have a varying opinion here.  Read 10 Tips for a Successful Website for my insights.]

Montoya went on to say there are five sections essential to any website:  The homepage, which should quickly answer who you are, what you do and who you do it for; personnel; product and services; contact information; and account access.

Touching on social media, he said Facebook is not for lead generation but for keeping in touch with clients, like learning if a child is born or if there is tragedy in a family.

When it comes to referrals, there are three approaches: Solicit referrals, promote referral, or spontaneous referrals.  Two ways to get these types of referrals are to have world-class service and to be a well branded specialist.

Marketing Campaigns

For ideal clients and prospects, Montoya recommended 60-plus  contacts per year.  Of the 60 contacts, 52 can be in the form of a weekly email commentary.  Good clients and prospects might only get 24 contacts and the fair category can probably only get 12 touches.

Montoya said the closing ratio is ridiculously high for advisors as a whole – maybe the highest of any industry. 

To get prospects to that stage, he showed how a typical sales and marketing funnel might look.

  • Meet five to 50 new people per month.  He said advisors should be able to state, “Who you are and what you do – that’s the minimal requirement from a branding perspective.”  Then it is important to systematically follow up, an area where a lot of advisors fall short.
  • Perform two to 10 new prospective client meetings per month.
  • Create one to five new clients per month.

Along with economic updates, Montoya recommended advisors use client letters, event invitations, thank you notes, and congratulations mailings for weddings, anniversaries and retirement.  He said, “You can even mail a client’s pet a birthday card.”
He explained how one advisor was able to convert 50% of prospects off of a list of 400 with a pre-retirement campaign, in which nine months before these individuals retired they received a series of 21 notices of the biggest retirement mistakes to avoid. 

Montoya said that he did not think a list of prospects and their retirement dates exists, so he recommended that if advisors do educational events that they ask attendees for retirement dates, then systematically pick up dates over time. 

“You’re looking for prospects that are qualified and motivated,”  he said. That is when advisors’ marketing is going to be the most effective.

Mike Byrnes founded Byrnes Consulting to provide consulting services to help advisors become even more successful.  His expertise is in business planning, marketing strategy, business development, client service and management effectiveness, along with several other areas.  Read more at www.byrnesconsulting.com.