We live in a world where simply being a financial advisor is no longer “niche” enough. At one time, this was the case. There weren’t very many independent advisors out there, so just the fact that they existed was plenty! However, now the market has become flooded. I don’t think this is a problem. In fact, I think it helps advisors truly focus on the clientele they love (and find clientele who love them!). I’m a believer in the fact that there is a whole ocean of clients out there, and there is plenty to go around for each one of us. The more advisors there are, the more support new advisors can get when they’re just starting out, and there are more ongoing networking and referral opportunities for everyone. Not a bad deal, in my opinion.
However, this flooded financial planning market does mean that, as an advisor, you must truly hone your message and keep your branding consistent. The more niche you go, the more consistent you must be. One way to continually appeal to your clients through your messaging across all channels is to put yourself in your clients’ shoes. Let’s dive into a few ways you can keep your message on brand so that you’re attracting the clients you want and not getting inundated with client contacts that aren’t a great fit for you.
Skip the Jargon
You may know exactly what it means when you talk about the specifics of investing, portfolio management, or how to mitigate the impact of taxes for high income earners. But here’s a news flash: your clients and prospects don’t know what you’re talking about. That’s why they’re coming to you. Even if they’re more knowledgeable about finances than the Average Joe, they don’t want to be spoken to in jargon lingo. It’s a huge turn off, and you will scare people away. There’s a temptation here to use financial planning jargon because a) you’re comfortable with it and b) it makes you sound like you know what you’re doing. But I’m telling you, Albert Einstein was right on this one. “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Make things simple, easy to follow, and give details where they’re needed. Just skip the jargon.
Stop Discussing Your Clients’ Net Worth
Obviously, I’m not assuming that you’re running around chatting about the confidential details of your clients’ finances. I mean stop saying things like, “My average client has a net worth of x.” While advisors may hear this and know exactly what kind of client you work with, the approximate professions you specialize in dealing with, and more, clients only hear one thing:
This advisor has a minimum.
Maybe you do have a minimum. However, the likelihood is high that you’ll scare away clients who may not feel they meet your implied “minimum” if they don’t lump themselves with that group. And you don’t want to scare some of these people away! They may be your ideal client, but they might not even reach out to you if they think you won’t be willing to work with them.
Let’s Not Say “Prospects” to Our Prospects
This is tricky, and requires some legwork on your part, but let’s take a minute here and think: What does your calendar scheduling notification say to the recipient for a prospective client phone call? Does it say, “Prospective Client Meeting?” I wish I could say that wasn’t the case, but I’ve seen it repeatedly. Clients want to be more than just a “warm lead” or a “drip campaign prospect.” They want to feel like you care and that you’re not entering the meeting like a sales call (even if, in all honesty, selling them your services is part of what the call will entail). Make sure all outbound communication to new clients feels warm and inclusive. We want to start building those relationships early so they can blossom into a happy, healthy long-term client relationship.
Keep Messaging Positive
Anything that comes out of your mouth, blog, newsletter, or social media feeds needs to have one thing in common – unrelenting positivity. Avoid messaging that pigeonholes clients into a stereotyped age group (I recently saw the phrase “adulting” on a site targeted at millennials – even though the millennial age range includes people who have been “adulting” for quite some time and would probably take offense to this). Avoid messaging that talks down to clients or comes off as superior in any way. The most important thing you can do is stay positive and open in your message.
Whatever your message to clients and leads may be, stay consistent. Stay consistent in your policies, the content you produce, and the generalized advice you provide on social and content-oriented channels. This is helpful for clients (and leads!) because it lets them know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, who you are, what you do, and what you stand for. Consistency also comes in handy for big-picture marketing concepts, like brand loyalty. Whether you’re an independent advisor or a full-fledged, multi-advisor firm, you are your brand. Having a consistent message that’s being shared regularly will help people recognize you for exactly what and who you are – and if they’re a good fit they’ll be drawn to working with you. In the end, that’s what you want.
Marketing is not easy, and as an advisor you’re busy enough as it is. But taking the time to make sure what you say, write, and put out into the world portrays a consistent and positive message will pay off. You don’t have to get overwhelmed and nit-picky about it, just keep it in the back of your mind when you’re writing that next blog post or the next time you’re at a networking event. Consistency should always be key.