Dry spells can happen to the best of us – and they are always a source of concern. As you realize your new business “well” is running dry, you may even feel a sense of alarm. If the dry spell continues, you may begin to feel panicked sense of desperation. This is not good, as strategically allied professionals, prospects and clients will (whether you know it or not) get a funny feeling that something’s wrong. This may create a self-fulfilling prophecy; as your confidence erodes, things go from bad to worse.
Nip It In The Bud
Let’s assume you have already contacted all your clients to remind them to come in for their annual or semi-annual check-up. Just like seeing the dentist for good oral health, it’s important to adhere to a regular plan to meet with the financial planner for good financial health. You can use postcards, emails or phone calls to remind your clients of the need to come back in for a check-up to ensure everything is on plan and working as it should be. You might also want to invite your clients to attend a special event and to bring a couple of friends.
For postcards, I have long liked Amazingmail because you can actually pull up the desired image/message for the front, add your pre-planned message to the back, select one or more clients for the postcard mailing, and then – and this is the cool part – select a date in the future for the card(s) to be produced and mailed. They go out like clockwork and, if colorful and well designed, these well-timed Amazingmail postcards will almost certainly stand out in a stack of mail.
I strongly encourage you to, as a routine part of your wrap-up in client meetings say, “I’d like to see you again in 6 months. Just like seeing a dentist for good oral health, it’s important that I see you for good financial health. How about I send you a postcard in 5 months to remind you to set up your appointment – or would you like to schedule it now and I’ll send you a postcard in 5 months to remind you of the day and time?”
Of course, you can also send an email or place phone calls. But you might want to consider automating the process and making it a bit more novel than a text message, an email or a regular phone call.
For phone calls that you need to do in bulk, consider VoiceShot; you upload your client information, record your message, select your time and day and the robo-calling service delivers your pre-recorded message at that time. Imagine you are a client hearing, “Hello, it’s Tom Smith from Smith Financial Planning. Spring is here and that means it’s time for you to come in for your financial check-up. Please call the office today to schedule your appointment. Much like seeing the dentist regularly for good oral health, I need to see you for good financial health. Hope to hear from you this week.”
Lou Stanasolovich, CFP®, president of Legend Financial, and publisher of the new information service Global Economic and Investment Analytics, told me in recent conversation that while his clients tend to be older, they respond well to the robo-call system; Lou typically uses the calling system to quickly convey important information about market changes and world events. Other planners I know use the robo-call system to remind clients and prospects about events such as the annual company picnic or a special town hall event.
You could also deliver the same types of messages via video email. All you need is a web cam or a camcorder to record yourself reminding clients to join you for the town hall meeting or to come in for their spring cleaning (think of it like a mental and financial housekeeping ritual every spring).
To learn more about an easy-to-use video email system that brands each video email message with your company’s template and can be set up to go our immediately or at some date in the future to one or more clients / prospects, visit http://www.impactproductionsgroup.com/.
Let’s assume, as well, that you have already sent out your quarterly newsletter or e-newsletter (or an educational recap of what you have published on your blog), and that you have sent out some sort of special offer to prospective clients – maybe a spring housekeeping “special” via postcard, email, video email, etc.
What else can you do?
Keeping The Three Funnels Full
Last week, I reminded readers of The Marketing Maven column that they should always have a good mix of marketing tactics going for them and to focus on serving and prospecting in 2-4 niches over time. In addition, it is important to realize that there are really just three main ways that financial professionals generate new business:
-- Event Marketing
-- Referral Marketing
-- Credibility Marketing
In last week’s article, I provided Tip #1: Fill your calendar with purpose-driven events and take a leadership role. Events are a great way to create partnerships with strategic allies, to build buzz in the community and to share news with journalists. The trick is to keep a steady stream of events on your calendar and to give yourself lots of lead-time for promotions related to the event.
Just promoting the event can be as important as holding the event. Let’s take a look at how Garrett Planning Network member Jean Keener is partnering with the local library to offer financial education classes once a month:
-- March: Making the Most of Your Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan
-- April: Couples and Money: Harmonize your Finances and your Relationship - jointly presented with Marriage and Family Therapist, Maryellen Dabal
-- May: Structuring your Retirement Income (designed for those in retirement or within 5 years)
-- June: Social Security Planning for baby boomers
Tip #2: Find New And Interesting Ways to Reach Out to Clients and Strategic Partners
The most successful business-builders in our industry are continually thinking up new and interesting ways to have more and better conversations with their current clients and strategic partners. Holding purpose-driven events is one way to have something relevant and timely to talk about – and to ask for their partnership or participation.
Look at the calendar 3-6 months out. What are some of the seasonal events that occur every year? What new events can you create that put a stake in the ground? Here are a few ideas to get you going:
-- It’s income tax season and number crunching time for many people. It’s not too late for you to send out some last minute planning tips and reminders to your in-house email list.
You could also send a list of last-minutes tips to your local newspapers, online outlets, television and radio stations. Be sure to post the tips on your website or blog, and post short bits of text and a link back to your blog or website on your social media networks. See how Garrett Member Jean Keener does it here.
-- How about assembling a First Aid Kit and dropping it by your CPA colleagues’ offices? Just buy some white gift boxes that open from the top like the one you see here: http://tinyurl.com/firstaidbox. Buy some white mailing labels that look similar to this: http://tinyurl.com/78mclqx.
Create a fun label that says “Emergency First Aid Kit” “Open Only When Stressed” “Compliments of [your logo] and [your name]”. Fill the box with small packages of Tylenol, a bottle of 5-Hour Energy drink, a small package of coffee, 2-3 tea bags, a granola bar, an apple, a handful of Hersey’s Kisses and other snacks. Include your business card. Consider including a handwritten “sympathy card” or “hope you’re feeling better soon” type card with a note of encouragement. Time your visit so you are most apt to catch the CPA in person for hand delivery.
-- April is also Financial Literacy Month so you might be able to tag-team with likeminded advisors in your community or to tie in with NAPFA and FPA activities in your locale. The Federal Reserve also promotes and is looking for reputable partners to participate in their Money Smart Week activities see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cr4UfdFQNGY and http://www.moneysmartweek.org.
The Jump$tart Coalition and the Council on Economic Education are championing Financial Literacy Day on Capitol Hill (April 17 - http://www.jumpstart.org). You might also look at Money Savvy Generation (http://www.msgen.com/) for ideas (be sure to “like” these organizations on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, etc.)
-- May is National Heritage Planning Month. If you or some of your strategic partners are interested in getting behind the idea that it’s not just valuables (financial assets and tangible items such as homes, cars and collectables) but values (stories, philosophies, personal passions) that create/demonstrate a full and rich life, then check out the month-long agenda being developed and championed by The Heritage Planning Institute (http://theheritageinstitute.com/).
Most of the Certified Wealth Consultants associated with the institute are interested in working with complex situations and ultra-high-net-worth clients. It would be a good strategic move for more financial planners and investment advisors to get to know these Certified Wealth Consultants and Heritage Planning Institute Members as they will not be seeking the same types of clients that you hope to attract. As you get to know these heritage planners, you may realize some good cross-referrals and synergy. Contact Lori Coonen, director of education, at firstname.lastname@example.org to express an interest in helping with National Heritage Planning Month.
-- You might also be interested in What Matters, a novel that has just come out. Written by Heritage Planning member Cameron Thornton and founder Rodney Zeeb, the book makes the points about values and valuables in the form of a personal story. This novel would make for a book discussion group or a webinar/seminar for clients. You might even consider asking the authors if they would be willing to call in for a virtual book discussion or presentation.
Next week, I’ll share a variety of drought-busting tips that hinge on Credibility Marketing as a primary strategy.
Hope spring has sprung wherever you are!