The Financial Advisor's Guide to Advertising To The Affluent
If you’re serious about rapidly growing your business in 2016, it’s no secret that you need to figure out how to get more new clients. Not just any new clients… but the right kind of clients. Millionaires and multi-millionaires who are eager and willing to work with an advisor just like you.Let’s face the facts.
Traditional direct sales tactics just don’t work on millionaires.
Wealthy people — by the very fact that they are wealthy — are constantly dealing with sales people who are trying to separate them from their hard-earned money. After years of real world business experience, dealing with vendors, consultants, and a whole host of sales people… millionaires just know how this game gets played.
In fact, I’ll be most millionaires have more experience dealing with people like you than you have experience working with millionaires.You’re probably not the first advisor that’s ever tried to get access to their money.
You’re probably not the first advisor they’ve ever worked with. In fact, they are probably have some kind relationship with another advisor right now.
Chances are also pretty good that they’ve had more than one bad experience with someone selling some kind of financial service or product… some insurance salesman, a broker-dealer, or a hedge fund manager... and are now very skeptical about letting another “advisor” anywhere near their money with a 10-foot pole.
How do you overcome their skepticism? How do you stand out from the sea of other advisors that have called on them? How do you even get in front of these ultra-wealthy prospects in the first place?
The "Attracting Affluent Clients On Autopilot" System
Step 1) Identify — Uncover your most profitable opportunities
Step 2) Position — Establish authority in the niche market
Step 3) Attract — Get qualified prospects to come to you
Step 4) Engage — Educate and motivate prospects to take action
Step 5) Enroll — Selling conversations that convert prospects into customers
Step 6) Deliver — Designing and delivering an ideal customer experience
Step 7) Retain — Creating long term clients out of first time customers
Step 8) Refer — Getting high quality referrals to high value prospects
The only way to predictably and consistently get millionaire and multi-millionaire clients to come to you is by using marketing and advertising. But… marketing to well-educated and sophisticated millionaires isn’t like marketing to the masses. It requires a very specific strategy.
It’s a strategy that has worked for more than a century and is the foundation of all successful modern day marketing methods.
You see this kind of marketing dozens of times per day without even knowing it. In fact, this kind of marketing works so well… it sneaks past the normal sales resistance of millionaires and influences them to buy in a way they actually enjoy.
Master this Millionaire Marketing Strategy and you’ll watch your firm grow by leaps and bounds. Because you’re no longer wasting huge amounts of time doing things like cold calling… you’ll make more money working fewer hours (with much wealthier clients). You’ll finally have the successful business you’ve always wanted to build.
If you don’t learn how to properly use this strategy, it’s going to be a long hard road to building your clientele. You’ll watch as your competitors reap the benefits and steal your top prospects and clients away from you. You’ll continue to waste piles of money on steak dinner seminars and other prospecting methods that don’t work… and when they do they only attract the low-end clients you don’t want.
Why Most Advisors Suck At Marketing
(and Why That’s Good News For You)
I say this from having reviewed hundreds of firms websites, social media profiles, newspaper ads, email campaigns, direct mail campaigns, brochures, flyers, and seminars.
Most advisors are absolutely awful at marketing.
The 2014 Fidelity RIA Benchmarking Study confirms this as well:
Over 85% of RIAs in The 2014 Fidelity RIA Benchmarking Study (the “study”) cited growth as being highly important to their firms, with 87% of their focus on organic growth. Yet, when it comes to marketing and business development, key enablers of growth, many firms recognize they need to improve. Only 5% of participating RIAs felt their firms were advanced in these areas, and 75% said that improving marketing and business development efforts was a top strategic initiative in 2014.
While these firms realize the importance of improving their marketing and business development plans... the majority of firms are severely lacking when it comes to actually implementing any solutions.
The majority of RIAs suffer from 6 major problems:
#1) Lack of Written Marketing Plans
According to the report, only 31% of RIA’s have written marketing plans… a number that is essentially unchanged since the 2011 Fidelity RIA Benchmarking Study.
It’s ironic considering that the top strategic initiative for RIA’s involves improving marketing and business development efforts, yet most firms haven’t even addressed this basic fundamental concept. Financial advisors already know how important it is to create a written financial plan for their clients… yet they struggle to apply the same logic to their own business problems.
Most advisors are woefully ignorant when it comes to marketing and advertising. It’s no surprise that they have trouble creating a plan. But… what makes this problem surprisingly worse is the complete lack of commitment to doing anything about it.
#2) Low Commitment To Actually Improving Marketing
Even though most advisors lack marketing experience, few plan to hire a marketing professional. Despite the desire to invest more time and money in the marketing process, just 16% of firms report they will consider hiring sales staff, 12% will consider hiring marketing staff, and 14% will consider hiring a marketing consultant.
Why the huge disconnect? Personally, I think it has to do with the irrational commitment to the direct sales model.
Despite being professional whose sole purpose is to help people make smart investments to grow and protect their wealth… financial advisors as a group just can’t seem to figure out that marketing is an investment in their business that pays dividends over time and protects competitive advantage.
#3) Over-Reliance on “Rainmakers” to Produce New Assets
Direct sales is great because it allows the business to push all risk onto the sales person. The business owner can put in minimal investment with the hopes of getting a high return. While this strategy is really useful in a small business that has limited funds… it is a horrible strategy long term.
Not only does it put a huge amount of pressure on a small minority of producers… but it gives those people an absurd amount of bargaining power.
In fact 80% of firms report that they are either entirely dependent or highly dependent on the firm’s principals for generating new business.
The make things worse, most firms reveal that they aren’t committed to doing anything about it! Only 18% indicate that hiring someone who will generate new business is a high priority. Even among the largest firms ($1 billion+ in AUM), only 32% say it is a high priority.
Can you imagine looking at your clients portfolio and seeing all of their money in two stocks? You’d be beside yourself in disbelief. Yet this is what you are doing if your entire business relies on the production of just a few people.
What happens if that person leaves to start their own company? They not only take a huge amount of assets with them… but they cripple your business in the process.
#4) Lack of Clear and Consistent Marketing Message
It continues to get worse. Most firms have a difficult time deciding what it is they actually do (and who it is they want to get as customers).
The lack of a clear marketing message has significant consequences. Because there is no agreed upon marketing message, all channels of new client acquisition suffer.
56% of all firms have a clearly defined firm story that differentiates them from the competition… but only 39% of client and prospect facing associates tell the firm story consistently!
It’s no surprise that most advisors aren’t getting referrals...
#5) Poor Ability to Generate Referrals From Clients and COIs
75% of new client acquisition is going to come from some kind of referral — either from clients (52%) or from centers of influence (23%). However, the data shows that most advisors are awful at actually getting referrals.
In fact, RIA firms reported that approximately 50% of their clients are willing to make referrals, but only 10% have made any referrals in the past year, and just 4% have made more than one.
Efforts to get referrals from COIs aren’t much better...
The vast majority of COIs were attorneys (cited by 88% of firms) and CPAs (86% of firms), with local business leaders a distant third (42%). In the past year, only 40% of firms’ COIs made a referral of any kind, and only 13% made more than one referral.
Top COI Referral Sources
Keeping consistent with their general lack of written marketing plans... it’s no surprise that most RIA’s have no plan for finding key COIs and creating effecting plans to drive more referrals.
#6) Poor Tracking and Measuring of Sales Performance
Don’t worry. It keeps getting worse.
Not only are most advisors bad at hitting the ultimate layup in business (referrals) but they even worse at getting new business from an un-referred source.
Only 13% of RIAs agree they are conducting win/loss analyses to understand what they did well (or not so well) in the sales process, and only 24% are using CRM to track leads and drive efficient follow-up. With more focus on processes and training in these areas, firms could potentially see improvement in closing business already in their pipeline.
Most Advisory Firms Are Extremely Vulnerable to Competition
I’m continually amazed that financial advisors are actually in business at all given how bad they are at generating new business. But… when everyone else sucks too, it’s not like the bar is set very high.
This presents a very interesting opportunity for you. Given that the majority of your competition is in complete disarray when it comes to getting new clients… you can very quickly crush your competition if you just learn a few basic things about marketing and advertising.
How To Think About Advertising
Advertising has one purpose and one purpose only. To generate a lead.
Not to sell your product or service. Not to tell people how great your firm is. It's to generate a lead.
If all you get from this article is this one concept, you will know more than 99% of all the other advisors out there. An absurd amount of money gets wasted every single year by companies who pay big money to run ads that don’t generate a single new lead.
By the way, if you are working with any marketing consultant or anyone selling advertisement (especially newspapers and magazines) that tries to tell you about how they are going to “build your brand” with some fluff image ads they want to use… get rid of them immediately!All your ad needs to do is get an email address, a physical address, or a phone number… and permission to send the prospect more valuable information that helps them solve their problem.
Keep in mind that most people — and especially most wealthy people — are bombarded with advertisements on a constant basis. Even if they are interested in a product and service, if you aren’t capturing their contact information (the purpose of the attract phase) so you can follow up with them (the purpose of the engage phase)… you are just flushing money down the toilet.
It doesn’t matter what media you use (print, radio, tv, social media, website). All of your ads must be held accountable to generating new leads.
This is called direct response marketing. It is the foundation of every successful advertising campaign and is the only form of marketing that is completely trackable and completely accountable to producing results.
What Every Ad Needs In Order To Work
If you want to create effective lead generating advertisements, it’s important to understand a few basic concepts.
An advertisement has two key parts:
#1) Traffic Source
The hardest part about advertising is getting eyeballs on your message. Whenever someone is sending eyeballs to your offer, that is a traffic source. This can be something as simple as a client sending a friend of theirs a link to your website, sending direct mail to a targeted list, or running an advertisement in a newspaper that gets hundreds of thousands of readers per day.
You have two types of traffic:
- Warm Traffic — This is anyone who has an existing relationship with you that refers someone to you (75% of your business)
- Cold Traffic — This is anyone who has never met you before and wasn’t referred to you by someone they know (25% of your business)
Obviously warm traffic converts much better than cold traffic. With that being said, you still need to have a strategy for converting both types of traffic.
#2) The Offer
In order for an ad to be effective, you need to ask your prospect to do something. The best thing to do is make them an offer of some kind. Typically the offer is to get something that is free or low cost.
The three most common offers are:
The Free Report: I’m sure you’ve seen this plenty of times. “Click here to download your free report” or something of that nature.
The free report can take a variety of different forms (ebook, physical books, video series, email series, audio). Trading an email address for a free report is very low commitment from the prospects point of view.
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Seminar: This can be a live event or a webinar. Events are a great way to position yourself as an authority. Your prospect is in a situation where they are a captive audience and you are teaching them something valuable.
Because a seminar is going to be a scheduled event, it has a higher level of commitment than getting a free report. If someone is serious enough to take time out of their day to go to a seminar or attend a webinar, they are a serious prospect.
Free Consultation: This is a one-to-one phone call or video call with a prospect. It can be as short as 15-minutes or as long as an hour.
Personally, I’m a big fan of getting live prospects on the phone. It’s a great way to quickly get a feel for how your advertising is working (and what kind of prospects it’s attracting). Also, you’ll have the opportunity to really learn about your prospect and what kinds of challenges they are having.
If someone is willing to get on the phone and talk to a live human being about their problems… that is definitely a good sign they are a serious prospect.
Creating Compliant Advertising
Before we go any further into actually creating advertising... it’s important that you know how to keep your compliance officer happy (and you out of hot water with the SEC and FINRA).
The SEC Advertising Rule has a pretty broad definition of what constitutes as “advertisement”.
Rule 206(4)-1 under the Advisers Act prohibits SEC-registered investment advisers from using any advertisement that contains any untrue statement of material fact or that is otherwise misleading. The rule broadly defines "advertisement" to include any notice, circular, letter, or other written communication addressed to more than one person, or any notice or other announcement in any publication or by radio or television, that offers any investment advisory service.
In addition, an advertisement may not:
- use or refer to testimonials (which include any statement of a client's experience or endorsement);
- refer to past, specific recommendations made by the adviser that were profitable, unless the advertisement sets out a list of all recommendations made by the adviser within the preceding period of not less than one year, and complies with other, specified conditions;
- represent that any graph, chart, formula, or other device can, in and of itself, be used to determine which securities to buy or sell, or when to buy or sell such securities, or can assist persons in making those decisions, unless the advertisement prominently discloses the limitations thereof and the difficulties regarding its use; and
- represent that any report, analysis, or other service will be provided without charge unless the report, analysis, or other service will be provided without any obligation whatsoever.
To keep things simple, any kind of “client getting” material that is going to be sent to (or viewed by) multiple people is considered “advertising”.
But… not all advertising is created equal under the rules.
The Advertising Loop-hole Most Advisors Don’t Know About
If you look at the enormous amounts of rules and regulation regarding advertising… the majority of it is directly linked to buying/selling securities and “performance advertising”.
With good cause, the SEC and FINRA want to protect the consumer from fraudulent or misleading claims about a firms performance. However… if you look a little bit closer at the supplementary material for FINRA Rule 2111: Suitability, you’ll see an interesting loop-hole.
FINRA Rule 2111: Suitability
.03 Recommended Strategies. The phrase "investment strategy involving a security or securities" used in this Rule is to be interpreted broadly and would include, among other things, an explicit recommendation to hold a security or securities. However, the following communications are excluded from the coverage of Rule 2111 as long as they do not include (standing alone or in combination with other communications) a recommendation of a particular security or securities:
(a) General financial and investment information, including (i) basic investment concepts, such as risk and return, diversification, dollar cost averaging, compounded return, and tax deferred investment, (ii) historic differences in the return of asset classes (e.g., equities, bonds, or cash) based on standard market indices, (iii) effects of inflation, (iv) estimates of future retirement income needs, and (v) assessment of a customer's investment profile;
(b) Descriptive information about an employer-sponsored retirement or benefit plan, participation in the plan, the benefits of plan participation, and the investment options available under the plan;
(c) Asset allocation models that are (i) based on generally accepted investment theory, (ii) accompanied by disclosures of all material facts and assumptions that may affect a reasonable investor's assessment of the asset allocation model or any report generated by such model, and (iii) in compliance with Rule 2214 (Requirements for the Use of Investment Analysis Tools) if the asset allocation model is an "investment analysis tool" covered by Rule 2214; and(
d) Interactive investment materials that incorporate the above.
If you focus your advertising efforts on educating your prospect about investing… and more specifically how they can solve a specific problem they are having that investing can fix… you are going to side-step a huge amount of red tape.
Now, this doesn’t mean you don’t need to run things by your compliance officer and keep good records. However, it does give you a much greater degree of flexibility to create advertising that actually works.
Why Most Advisors Are Bad at Advertising
Why are most advisors bad at marketing and advertising? It’s because they focus WAY too much on how great they are and how great their business is... and not nearly enough time focused on the prospect and the specific problems they have.
It’s one of the great ironies that the strategy most advisors try to use (talking about themselves) is the strategy that is not only the least effective... but the hardest to implement and most heavily regulated.
Think about it. When it comes to talking about how good you are, you really only have two strategies:
- Use testimonials (which you can’t do)
- some kind of performance advertising (which is difficult under regulation)
The biggest reason why most advisors (and really most businesses) fail to achieve the kind of success that they want is because they are too focused on “this is what I want to do” and not focused on “this is what people will pay me lots of money to do for them”.
It’s a much better strategy to focus on the unique needs of your target market and create a service that is specifically tailored for the types of problems they have.
The Profitable Niche Checklist
- Is the prospect experiencing pain and urgency?
- Is the prospect proactively searching for solutions to their problem?
- From the prospects perspective, does he have few or no options?
- Is demand in the market increasing?
How Most Advisors Think About Target Markets (and Why It Doesn’t Work)
62% of advisors are using some kind of target market in their sales and marketing effort… but the majority of them think about their target market in completely the wrong way.
The majority of advisors limit their target client profiles to “investible assets” and “net worth”.
Are those two things important? Sure. But… it doesn’t take into account any of the real reasons why people are motivated to buy.
Only 27% of advisors consider profession or age and only 13% of advisors consider lifestyle, interests/hobbies, or special needs.
Because the majority of advisors don’t really understand who their ideal client is… they have an extremely difficult time finding open minded prospects that have a problem the advisor can solve. Instead, they waste huge amounts of money sending a glorified business card to “rich people” hoping to get new clients.
What You Should Do Instead
The biggest obstacle we face in advertising is a closed mind.
People — especially wealthy people — are bombarded with advertising messages on an hourly basis. As consumers, they have become especially talented at tuning out the majority of advertisements that get thrown there way.
After all, there is no way they can possibly give their attention to every single ad that gets sent their way. So what does the brain do to prevent information overload? It shuts the mind off from the outside stimulus.
It isn’t until a problem becomes a priority that people become open minded and are open to receiving new information.
Humans go through a very predictable process when they are trying to solve a problem:
- First, they hide the problem and try to solve it themselves.
- Next, they “try harder” (which usually makes the problem worse).
- When that doesn’t work, they look for other models of past success and try those.
- Finally, they start to look outside of their mental models and search for new information.
The only way to get advertising to work is to aim your message at the people who are already open minded and are actively looking for solutions to their problem.
And here lies the key to advertising. You need to look for prospects that are looking for you. But… your ideal prospects probably aren’t looking for the things that you think you sell (like “wealth management” or “investment advice”). It’s more likely that they are looking for something that helps them solve a very specific problem they are having.
Lucky for you, the wealthier people get the more sophisticated their problems become.
Common Problems Wealthy People Have
It’s really no surprise that the majority of AUM that advisors have are people who are older than 50. Most people don’t accumulate a meaningful amount of wealth until later in life (especially if we are talking millions of dollars in net worth). Additionally, older people have a greater sense of urgency to get their money situation handled as they approach the Retirement Red Zone.
Remember, problems aren’t relevant until they are. Most young people — even if they have a lot of wealth — have decades to continue to accumulate wealth. Even if they have some financial hiccups, they have the illusion of time on their side.
What are the major concerns of aging Boomers?
- Retirement Income / Maintaining Lifestyle in Retirement
- Rising Healthcare Costs
- Rising Taxes
- Charitable Giving
If your ideal prospect is a Baby b=Boomer business owner nearing retirement... they are probably very concerned about selling their business so they can finally cash out the years of hard work they put into it.
Advertising Action Steps
- Know who you want to target.
- Identify the big problem they are eager to solve.
- Find the places they go when searching for a solution.
- Deliver a message that clearly communicates “here is how to solve your problem"
What Advisors Need To Properly Implement Advertising
If you’re serious about growing your business in 2016, implementing marketing and creating better sales processes are going to be key. This probably doesn’t come as any kind of real surprise. Most RIA’s know that they need to get this area of their business handled...
But all the statistics clearly show that despite knowing the problem… most advisors just aren’t doing much to fix it.
It’s largely due to the fact that they don’t have the internal resources to get it done… nor do they have anyone that even has the skill sets necessary to implement any kind of marketing strategy if did!
Listen. I’m an entrepreneur too. We are control freaks by nature and want to believe we can (and should) do everything ourselves.
But growing a business just doesn’t work that way. You’ve done a fantastic job of getting yourself to where you are today… but if you’re serious about getting to the next level, you’re going to have to do something different.
Let’s face it. You’re already way too busy running your business and making sure your clients are happy. You have plenty of other problems and fires to put out on an hourly basis… not to mention your life outside of work.
Even if you wanted to become a marketing ninja, you just don’t have the time to learn it yourself.
The best thing you can do for your business (and for your overall sanity) is to get serious about getting some help with your marketing.
You might not be ready to hire someone today… but at the very least you need to come up with some kind of marketing plan to get you moving in the right direction.
If you’ve read this far, you’re clearly motivated to get this thing handled. That’s why I’d like to make you a special offer
The Millionaire Marketing
How different would your life be if you were getting new multi-millionaire clients every single month like clockwork… without having to waste hours of your time cold-calling and going to networking events?
This isn’t just wishful thinking. In fact, for several advisors around the US… this is their reality. They no longer worry about where their next client is going to come from and instead get to spend their time doing what they really want to be doing…
They get to focus on serving their clients to the best of their ability, spend more time with their family, and do more of the things that they love doing.
You don’t need to keep doing business the hard way. There is a better way to get more millionaire clients… and I want to show you how.
In the Millionaire Marketing Strategy Session, you will learn:
- Who your ideal client really is… and where you can find them
- Simple strategies for finding COIs and building a solid referral relationship with them
- A 30-day action plan that you can implement immediately to start getting more millionaire clients
Who this strategy session is for:
- Growth Minded Advisors: First of all, you need to be focused on growing your business and be willing to try some new things
- Willing to Invest in Marketing: If you haven’t made the decision that you’re going to invest resources into creating and implementing a marketing plan… nothing I tell you will work.
- Coachable: You’re going to need to do some different things and be open minded to new ideas if you want to see results.
Who this strategy session is NOT for:
- Wirehouse Advisors: Unfortunately, my hands are tied when it comes to working with large corporations. Most of the things I’d suggest you do, your company won’t let you do.
- Expecting Overnight Results: Listen, you aren’t going to see results tomorrow. Yes, you will see results quickly, but like anything this does take some time.
- No Marketing Budget: If you are just looking for some “free” ideas, I don’t really have any for you. If you aren’t open to the idea of spending money to make money… I can’t help you
Normally for a 30-minute strategy session like this, I charge $247. But… I know that if you’re reading this now, you are truly motivated to figure this whole marketing thing out. For a very limited time, I will be offering this session free of charge.
Click the button below book your Millionaire Marketing Strategy Session Today. You’ll be taken to my ScheduleOnce page where you’ll see an option that says “Millionaire Marketing Strategy Session”. Just click the option and fill out the pre-call questionnaire.