Your client acquisition and marketing plan needs to be about much more than just your UVP and elevator speech. It should be almost solely focused on the UVP of the client.
What are the takeaways?
Ask yourself and your team:
- Does the prospect receive touchpoints from us routinely throughout their life cycle, either digitally or in person?
- Does the client have the ability to get to know us — and our perspective of wealth management — before meeting us?
- Are we SURE we are what the client wants?
- Can the client imagine how they can grow and evolve with us?
Welcome back, everyone! I am going to be speaking today about client acquisition and marketing. If you follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter, you’ll see that I started to rant and vent about this topic last week. I am still always so fascinated – and it actually boggles my mind – that we’re still talking to advisors about how to answer the question of what do you do and how do you do it differently. And anytime I see a sales and client acquisition expert being brought into a firm, they’re talking about the “power of why” and helping advisors craft their UVP. And you know what, “haven’t we moved beyond that?” is always the question that comes to my mind. And so my message today is that having a succinct, unique value proposition, being able to talk about wealth management in a way that is conducive to what we know clients want to hear, is table stakes in the industry.
If you are an advisor who still cannot answer the question, what do you do and how do you do it differently, then you’re probably not going to be in business over the next 10 years. You maybe are building a lifestyle practice where your value proposition is the value proposition of the BD or firm, which is fine. Or you’re an advisor who’s inherited a book of business, and the value proposition is the value proposition of the successor advisor. If you’re not in one of those scenarios, and you’re an advisor who actively wants to grow, then marketing, sales and client acquisition has to be about much more than discovering your why and crafting a UVP. The UVP for advisors today – and by the way, this has changed completely in the past couple of years – is less about you as the individual advisor and so much more about what makes the client unique.
In other words, the advisors and firms who are best positioned to thrive over the next two decades, the advisors and firms who are going to win over the next two decades, are the advisors and firms that understand the client best. And I don’t just mean the demographic data on a client, I mean the psychographic consumer profile. What a client wants, when they want it, how they want it, who they want it from, who they confer with to make buying decisions, what they think about before they make a decision, what they’re doing immediately after. That’s a value proposition now with a wealth management firm. It’s the folks who understand that best. The value proposition is no longer that you got in the business because you watched your parents struggle and you wanted to ensure that you didn’t watch other retiree couples struggle that way. Now, that is part of it, by the way. So don’t go ahead and wholesale change your entire marketing page on your website.
But real value proposition and real client acquisition strategy has to be about much more than just us as individuals. It has to be client-centric. And so if you’re thinking about client acquisition and growth this year, I want you to ask yourself and your team a couple of questions. They’re all rhetorical, right? We want the answer to most of these to be in the affirmative. But it’ll get you thinking a little bit about where you actually need to be in terms of thinking about your marketing plan for this year, or your client acquisition plan. So the first question is,
Does the prospect have access or receive touchpoints from us through some medium? In other words, does the prospect see or hear about your name at some point during their life cycle without and before they’ve engaged with you?
So we’re thinking about digital platforms, we’re thinking about prospects who are connected to your current clients. Have you identified them? Are they within your social media networks? Have you created a community, maybe through a blog, or a Facebook group or a podcast, where you’ve corralled these like-minded people, and they are consistently seeing your name, and hearing about your brand and hearing about what you do. If you’re not totally active on social media, think about touch points and access as in-person. So are you engaging with folks routinely throughout the year who could potentially be top clients, who maybe have similar interests and consistently see and hear about your, not just you, but your firm name throughout the year? The second question to ask yourself, if the answer to that is yes. The second question is, does the client, or the prospect rather, have the ability to get to know us before meeting us?
So it’s not just good enough to have your name out there on social media and have a, I call it the “ghost LinkedIn account” where you have a page that’s set up and you post ghost written articles. But does the client or prospect really have the ability to get to know you and team before meeting you?
Do they have access to any thought leadership or perspective you have on wealth management?
So here’s where I’m talking about inbound content. In other words, content or marketing that you’ve put out specifically for a prospect or client in their unique situation that speaks to exactly where they are at the life cycle. So this could be in the form of a blog, it could be in the form of a newsletter and commentary you send out to all prospects and clients that you’ve included them on. This could be videos that you shoot on your iPhone and post on your Twitter or website. This could be speaking engagements that you’ve done on TV or for some publication that you’ve posted. So does the client have the ability to get to know you and your perspective on wealth management before meeting you?
The third question is:
Are you sure that you are what the client wants?
So many times, I hear advisors answer this as if it’s a really obvious question. Of course, we’ve been doing this for a long time, we’re retirement planning experts. Of course, we are with the client wants. And the truth is they’ve never verified that information, and verified that information over a period of time. So consumers change now year-after-year. And especially as we see a generational flip and change in wealth holders, we want to make sure that the way in which clients are experiencing wealth management with us is the ideal way in which they want to experience it.
So year-after-year moving forward, you may want to consider talking to top prospects, maybe they’re not even clients, top COIs and top clients, about what the ideal scenario is for them in terms of having a wealth management experience and advisor. Not only is this going to help you change and be better for current clients, but it’s going to give you data points and help you make some generalizations around what every prospect who’s maybe in a Gen-X business owner, entrepreneur category might want from an advisor. Hint, hint.
Okay. And the final question is:
Does the client have the ability to grow with us? And do they know what that means?
So many advisors who are worried about next-gen wealth transfer and want to focus on the next generation while also serving clients, have websites and marketing and talk scripts that only talk to the retiree client. And when you look at the services page of their website, it talks about, “we do retirement planning and financial planning and investment management and risk management.”
In that case, the client, especially younger clients, maybe the Gen-X entrepreneur, the Gen-Y 35 year old young executive, doesn’t really see a pathway for themselves within your business. And so it’s really important that advisors… Because the industry is going to shrink, we know that. And because a lot of advisors are going to be out of business because they can’t keep up. It’s really important that you prepare to capitalize off of that opportunity by showing the different levels at which you serve clients.
- Level one: fee based client who maybe doesn’t have a lot of assets to manage, but is engaged with us and we’re helping them plan.
- Level two client: who’s maybe built a nice nest egg and we’re managing their assets, and we’re doing planning for them and they’ve bought insurance from us.
- Level three client: who’s now a business planning client and a personal planning client.
So if we really want to engage clients across the life cycle, we have to show them what that life cycle is, and prove to them that we know what that life cycle looks like and we’re equipped to serve them across the entire spectrum.
Okay. I hope that was helpful and thought provoking. Thank you for listening. I will speak to you next week. Same place, same time. Take care.