by Tony Vidler
One of the best marketing ideas I have come across is the “Second Opinion” service, because it positions you as a professional, and as an “adviser” rather than a product centric financial services person.
The concept is brilliantly simple, and firmly centred upon providing sound professional advice.
You provide a service to the colleagues of your clients which is a professional second opinion on the suitability of the portfolio, products or advice that your clients friends and colleagues have received. The assumption is made at the outset that the friends, family or colleagues of your clients already have received advice and have plans and products in place. That assumption pre-empts one of the biggest barriers to obtaining introductions, as it asumes that of course they have received advice…but it questions that advice at the same time.
This service can be drawn to clients attention via any of your usual correspondence or marketing material, or perhaps with a special introductory card or voucher that can be physically given to clients to pass on to those whom they feel may need it. It is positioned purely a second professional opinion for those whom your existing clients care about. It is reassurance based on authority.
Here’s the key: It is a complimentary professional courtesy to those who are referred by trusted clients and colleagues only – it is not an offer to the public at large. Therefore it has some “scarcity” value…or exclusivity which adds to the attractiveness.
When a clients’ colleagues take up the offer you engage in your usual advice process and procedure, though with clear explanation it extends only to the “Statement of Advice” stage. That is, good discovery, analysis and written professional advice will be delivered. A professional opinion in other words. From that point on the client is able to decide whether their existing advice or portfolio is serving its purpose, or whether changes are needed. IF changes are needed, then they are free to engage whoever they choose – including you or your firm.
The beauty of this is that it is a highly perceived value-add for existing clients that absolutely plays to the advisers professional strengths. It is also very professional and objective in approach, and there is no doubt that professional service is being offered, rather than the adviser seeking a sales opportunity. The Second Opinion service also reinforces the value of the work done for your existing client, and cements the belief that your own clients have in fact chosen the right adviser to begin with.
It is quite brilliant I think.