Do you have a hole in your digital presence?
Do you have a hole in your digital presence?
A lot of advisors do.
I think some of it is because of how business used to work but I think it’s also because planners aren’t aware of the series of objections that a prospect needs to have sated before they are going to pick up the phone.
I’m at a conference as I start to write this article and checking out the websites of the firms attending. From an opt-in perspective, every one of these websites will work for someone ready to call and consider being a client but the site doesn’t serve people who are still at the evaluative part of the process. If I just came to these websites from Google and I didn’t know if I needed a planner, I’d close these tabs and probably not make a decision.
This can be such a large phase of the decision making process for something like choosing their financial planner. In the eCommerce space, which is easier than ours, 86% of the buying process occurs before they reach out.
Your Firm’s Story
The firm name is the beginning of your story.
It’s where your narrative starts; but all too often there isn’t a strategy to guide the visitor.
Yes, the site shares the firm’s values. These are great planners with great hearts but… from a digital marketing perspective, the customer experience often misses the mark regarding how an effective website should be laid out in 2019.
It is critical to consider your prospect’s process, called the “customer journey,” which is creating a plan and strategy how you will magnetize the right clients (start here). You don’t want to be one more business listing. You want your prospects to clearly understand your unique value proposition and how that client’s life will be better after they are working with you.
Financial Planning 3.0
From my definition of Financial Planning 3.0, you are making a HUGE impact.
The people who are evaluating you are learning from you. Improving their lives. Testing out your wisdom and thought leadership before they pick up the phone. They consider working with you over the dinner table and in their conversations about the household. They are taking your thought leadership and becoming a more financially well human being. You have the opportunity to foster that and in return they let you become their trusted advisor. You get the benefit of building your firm at the same process, but don’t miss the point; people with accrued wealth are aware of financial services and, hopefully, the CFP Profession.
We want them to become aware of *you* and the unique positive impact you could have in their lives.
“65% of customers tell us that they spent as much time as they’d expected to need for the entire purchase just getting ready to speak with a sales rep.
Clearly, much of what makes the process so hard has nothing at all to do with suppliers and everything to do with customers themselves.”
Your secret ingredient
If you only describe your services, have some bio information and ask them to contact you, that is a disservice to both your firm and your potential clients. By dumping your visitor into a superficial expression of your firm’s culture and services they aren’t experiencing your secret ingredient, YOU!
Part of the courting process is sharing your flavor with your prospects, whether that’s in your social media posts, website structure, blog posts or newsletters. Give them a taste of what it would mean to be your client. Giving them some value for free that informs the prospect about the value that they would get from you as an actual client.
When people are in pre-mediation zone, preparation and contemplation places, folks don’t want to pick up the phone. They want to do research and reflect before reaching out. Telling them to just call without understanding them and the value they get for your services is not as an enticing prospect experience as firms that clearly share their culture, benefits and experience digitally, and then carry that experience consistently as the prospect comes in to be a client.
You need to answer the questions that the visitor has at their stage of the journey. Cultivate the relationship. Getting them to the point where they are ready for the prospect meeting by meeting their precursor objections through your digital presence. If you don’t meet their objections in the right sequence, they might think you’re just going for the sale and get turned off, rather than you being the professional with the wisdom they’ve been seeking.
“On average, B2B buyers will spend up to 20 hours researching before they contact a sales rep,” the survey says.
Most product research is done online, it says. For senior executives including CEOs, the web is the preferred method of learning about a particular product or service”
“Do you have a missing link in your digital presence?”
Speak to your client. Ideally it is comfortable for you to speak with the jargon and nomenclature of your niche’s culture. Online this means that you demonstrate an insider’s understanding of their pain and problems. In the client meeting this means that you match their tone and energy while demonstrating an understanding of their needs. Online this means that you need to understand the process, experience, and objections of a client-to-be while they follow the road you’ve laid to become a managed client.
“Cold hands, cold heart.” If their interaction is cold they aren’t mentally/emotionally warmed up either. It is important to have rapport at the stage of the engagement where a prospect considers being a client. With our clients, the prospect should know the firm’s mission, vision, values, approach, etc. but the advisor should also know a lot about the client. If you take our Digital Presence Quiz and then schedule a call, we come to that meeting having the answers to many of our discovery questions without having to spend time getting those answers.
The Referral Debate
There has been a long debate around referrals for advisors. Is it because that is the best way for an advisor to acquire a client or are referrals such a strong channel for advisors because it covers the advisor’s lack of addressing a cohesive ideal customer journey? By asking the questions in the wrong order you can confuse your prospects, which is a disservice to you, them, your firm and the profession.
Part of what I love about Money Quotient is their experience for the clients. Don’t skip a step, if you do the results aren’t as good. Each step builds on and is pre-requisite for the next stage of the process. Your courting your prospect requires that same diligence.
About the Author
Jake is trained as a Certified Digital Marketing Professional. He is called to connect true financial planning professionals with their clients and prospects through effective digital marketing. He understands the needs and concerns of the financial planning profession and the wide range of regulatory compliance needs and concerns.