Professional Triage: "Targeting The Life Threatening"
Sales & Marketing for Professional Services & Sales Tips

Professional Triage: "Targeting The Life Threatening"

July 10, 2015

by Tony Vidler

Sometimes the ambulance goes out and collects patients, and sometimes the patients make their own way into the hospital.  The ones that get themselves to hospital are usually motivated by an immediate need called “pain”.  That is their trigger.

What is the usual trigger for a typical advice client?

I started thinking about this after recently hearing (for perhaps the thousandth time) that “insurance is not bought, it is sold“.  The same is true of many professional services of course.  People rarely make spontaneous impulse-driven purchases of tax returns, or mutual funds, or legal advice….the need for such things is “sold to them“.  But it is often not the professional with the solution who is doing the selling; it is something or someone else.  A catalyst event.  A trigger.

When the trigger event occurs, the typical consumer seeks professional help.

They react.

We respond and treat the immediate concern.

The thing that got me thinking about this was a review of some promotional material which was heavy on the minor matters….the bandaid stuff that isn’t sufficient to make a consumer drive to the doctor.

Do I really want a mortgage broker to help me work out which bank account is optimal?  nah…not really. I’m sure not going to go out of my way to call and set up a meeting at their office over it.  Is the accountants enthusiasm for an accounting software package that will greatly assist sales tax returns going to make me want to attend a seminar after work to get all the great guff on how the coding works in the journals?  Nope. Definitely not.  The insurance broker wanting a couple of hours to talk to me at home about what might happen if I get sick one day?  Nah, I’m fine thanks….

It IS a bit of an exaggeration to suggest that financial planners, insurance brokers, accountants et al step in and deal with life threatening things. Perhaps Lawyers do occasionally though…

If we accept however that for most consumers the purchasing of professional advice or services happens either because someone did step in and educate then disturb them, or an external trigger motivated them to seek advice or a solution, then it follows that we need to match the marketing to the trigger events that most often lead consumers to take action themselves.  That is; the things that they perceive as affecting their life, or rather “their lifestyle”.

People will pay a lot for gadgets, and convenience, and luxuries, and indulgences.  So paying good money for lifestyle stuff is not really a major issue.

Paying someone a fee to get them the loan that they couldn’t get by themselves easily to buy their dream home:“that’s worth considering…”

Paying someone a fee to get the tax department off their back:“that’s worth considering…”

Paying someone a fee to make sure there is a predictable and reliable income stream coming in for the next 20 years that pays for the luxuries:“that’s worth considering…”

Paying someone a fee to find and put in place a contract that guarantees to deliver cash every month for the rest of your working life if you can’t work: “that’s worth considering…”

For our marketing to be most effective with people we haven’t met yet we have to think of how we address the things that they consider a risk to their lifestyles because that is what triggers their action.  That is what motivates them to move.  Our solutions or specialty advice areas need to be marketed in terms and language that match those immediate “lifestyle threatening” needs.

We may well be able to provide a holistic planning process which ensures that they are fully planned for life in all financial respects, however until we have addressed that first urgent need which motivated the consumer to move into action we have no opportunity to engage them in the comprehensive process. When we have a patient and have managed to move that patient from “immediate treatment required” and into “recovery” mode then we can talk about the rest of the health issues and put a full plan in place.

But when they are only concerned about immediate treatment and are looking for the right person to help they are going to choose the professional who is expertly positioned to deal with that pain.  Your marketing material needs to address those immediate pain points: get the patients to choose you at the outset. Then you can perform the necessary triage.  After that you can deliver holistic care.

You may also find this post useful: A Surefire Way To Get A Prospect To Choose You

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