by Tony Vidler
Financial advisers who need more clients need to be better marketers than salespeople in todays environment. For most that means they probably need new, or more, skills. Not more technical skills; more commercial skills.
While financial advisers have been figuring out how to get ever-more-compliant and deliver yet-more-paper over the last few years, consumers have quietly changed how they buy stuff, including buying professional advice.
It is not “happening”. The change has already happened of course, but most marketing of adviser services hasn’t changed substantially. Too much energy perhaps has been dedicated to fighting change instead of buidling new systems that exploit the changes.
The old world of “Push” selling to get prospects to engage is pretty much dead – unless you actually have some special and compelling “deal” going which is rooted in price, scarcity or exclusivity. If the advice or financial service offer isn’t tapping into one of those though we now have to “pull” consumers towards us with tempting content, stellar personal branding and perfect positioning. And patience. Definitely lots of patience.
Our selling role really only comes into play when the prospect is already close to deciding upon whether to engage or when we are making recommendations.
Everything else is a function of marketing now.
Which means that today’s professional has to develop, or have, a wide array of, marketing skills as they are now probably far more important than personal sales skills. Marketing does not just focus on creating opportunities and initial enquiries any longer; it handles every step of the nurturing and engagement right up until the point where the prospect is signing engagement terms and stepping over the line to becoming a client.
Marketing is now the “make or break” skill set for professionals wanting to grow their business, and generate more prospects who can turn into clients. Building these new skill sets and the infrastructure to execute great ongoing marketing is where we need to focus resources and energy in our practice development because the consumers have already changed. Financial advice firms that are still trying to grow and acquire more clients need to invest in more commercial skills, like becoming good marketers and building good communications systems.