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Embracing a target marketing philosophy that

attracts new clients rather than chases them

(This is the first of two sequential Actionable Tips on Target Marketing)

James Allen, author of many great books including As a Man Thinketh, had several memorable quotes including, “Circumstances don’t make the man, they reveal him.” Circumstances in the financial services industry over the last three or four years have revealed that trust between many affluent clients and their financial advisors has been adversely impacted and in some cases shattered. And while several high net-worth clients are disillusioned with their current advisor and are open to considering their options, they simply haven’t made a switch because, in their view, a superior option hasn’t come along yet.It is for that reason that there has never been a better time to implement a professional target marketing strategy that differentiates you from the pack and elevates your image and branding in the marketplace.

And while this is simply a compendium of an in-depth process, the content in this tip stems directly from the Pareto System coaching and consulting program and has been proven to not only be effective at consistently attracting good prospective clients but it is also philosophically consistent with our Stewardship over Salesmanship model. In other words, this process will reflect very favorably on you as a professional financial professional providing advice and solutions as opposed to a salesperson selling investments.

As a quick synopsis, this process will help you achieve the following:

Identify your MVP’s – who are your Most Valued Prospects?

Create an Inside Champion – someone who can help you become a trusted guru within the target market

Develop an Insider’s Reputation – acquire essential knowledge to be compelling to prospective clients within the target market

Deploy a Process – to connect with the target market and create a nagging feeling they are currently with the wrong advisor

Position Yourself as #2 – help your MVP’s contrast you favorably and become more acutely aware of the doubts they have about their current advisor

Be Consistent and Persistent - use a knowledge based communications and permission marketing to make it easy for MVP’s to connect with you.

Allow me to begin by taking one step back. You’ve heard the expression that it is more important to reach people who count than it is to count the number of people you are reaching. I bring that up because it is essential that you get focused and establish what are called your MVP’s before you get started.

MVP stands for your Most Valuable Prospects. There are all kinds of prospects out there. The key is to zero in on and consistently attract those who are the most valuable and who meet your AAA ideal client profile based on their assets, attitude and advocacy.

Obviously the friends and family members of your clients are your very best MVP’s and the clients of your strategic partners are a close 2nd. Assuming you have done a good job maximizing your existing client relationships and you have professionally engaged strategic influencers such as accountants and lawyers, and you still find yourself with some time to deploy a pure prospecting campaign, well then let’s get started.

The first step is to understand the difference between narrowcasting and broadcasting. Broadcasting consists of classic marketing concepts such as direct mail, cold calling, newspapers ads, tradeshows, etc. We liken to this kind of marketing as spray and pray and it’s often about as effective as cutting down a tree with a hammer. There is an old saying in marketing that half of all advertising is wasted, we just don’t know which half. Broadcasting is expensive, time consuming, laborious and worst of all it sets you up for the most brutal emotion in marketing – it’s called anticipointment. You pour so much into a campaign and it turns out to be incredibly anticlimactic.

Narrowcasting on the other hand is far more effective. You simply pin-point a specific geo-graphic, demographic or socio-economic sector in your marketplace and you methodically and relentlessly turn it upside down. Broadcasting is a mile wide and an inch deep. Narrowcasting enables you to go deep and literally turn a target market into an impenetrable proprietary asset that your competitors will never crack.

So how do you identify a target market to narrowcast? The first place to start is to look at your favorite clients and Identify an Inside Champion. A good place to start to is look at what your favorite clients do for a living? I know of a financial advisor who had a great client who was an audiologist. We suggested that he contact the client and ask him out to lunch. At the meeting the advisor simply said, “Look I really enjoy our relationship and frankly I’m fascinated with what you do. I want to become a specialist in your field rather than a generalist trying to be all things to all people. Tell me, what do I need to know, what do I need to read and where do I need to go to be a specialist to people just like you?”

The lunch meeting lasted a couple of hours. The client did a majority of the talking first by applauding the advisor for his initiative and then went on to counsel him on what it would take to be a specialist to Audiologists. The rest as they say is history. A few years later and after a lot of effort and homework this advisor pretty much owns that space.

He then, with the help of the inside champion, began the process of Developing an Insiders Reputation. This simply means that he developed the knowledge, insight and visibility so that he could connect and relate with his target audience in a way that made him compelling and unique.

And there are no limits. I’ve seen an advisor who owned a BMW motorcycle accidentally uncover that one of his best clients also owned a BMW motorbike. After making the connection that owners of BMW motorcycles are usually somewhat affluent, he approached the local dealer to see if he would sponsor and help promote a fundraising ride for the local children’s hospital. That was just the beginning to what has become an incredible target marketing effort.

I’ve seen seasoned advisors establish target markets with orthodontists and other professional sectors within the health and wellness community all stemming from one existing relationship. I’ve seen newer advisors establish target markets with franchise owners and other entrepreneurs. You can pretty much name it. From airline pilots to zoologists, advisors have built target markets based on a diverse array of affinity groups. Still to this day, one of my favorite examples is an advisor whose assistant’s father, who happened to be a dairy farmer, became a client and quickly developed an incredible relationship with the advisor. That one relationship along with some sustained effort led to dozens of new clients. And talk about an insider’s reputation, this advisor went to county fairs, wrote financial planning articles in trade publications and today is the go-to guy for dairy farmers in his area. He lived by the mantra that you have to pull in the direction that people are already pushing you. That is where momentum develops.

Clearly, identifying an inside champion is a lot easier than it is to develop that insiders reputation. This is what separates the best from the rest in target marketing. And based on our many years of consulting advisors in this area, We’ve created an acronym to frame a proven process and game plan to help you get started. The acronym is DRIP. And we’ll be focusing on this process in next week’s Actionable Tip of the Week.

Contributed by: Duncan MacPherson

Topics: Business Growth, client acquisition for financial advisors