Annuities

Successful Marketing During a Pandemic


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As stay-at-home orders continue and conditions remain uncertain, you should be thinking about reevaluating your marketing strategy. After all, the information your clients are searching for is probably different from just a few weeks ago. Think about what you’re focused on now. Is it the same as it was before the pandemic hit?

I’ve been reading a lot of industry articles and talking with a lot of advisors. One of the first things advisors tell me is that they are thinking about discontinuing marketing to avoid laying off support staff. If that’s your thinking, I commend you. But as an alternative to cutting marketing altogether, maybe the answer is to determine if you’re spending too much. If the marketing budget is the first thing to go, it may be too large to begin with. So, how much can you cut? Let’s start with what we’re trying to accomplish.

High Performing Practice has three main goals:

  1. Grow your business
  2. Create a sustainable pipeline of prospects coming into your business
  3. Remain relevant in the greatest shift from the workforce to retirement that we’ve ever seen

 

Today, more than 51% of American retirees retired before the age of 65. Early retirement is usually caused by job layoffs or a health crisis that forces them into retirement. Today we are facing a looming recession and more jobs lost than ever before and soaring unemployment claims. It’s likely that many clients between the ages of 55 and 62 will opt-in to premature retirement and sustain themselves for a longer period of time with fewer assets. Certainly, a bad market situation gives us an opportunity to help and to capture more business. Of course, we need to market ourselves if we are going to make a difference.

Let’s keep it simple and effective. There are three main items you should focus your marketing on over the next couple of weeks:

1. Consider developing transitional call-to-actions. Post downloadable one-page fliers on your website on topics that are relevant right now. Ideas include:

  • Five different steps to recovery
  • Lessons learned from the financial crisis that apply to the pandemic
  • An overview of your practice philosophy

All pieces should be basic and easy-to-read and understand. These are topics audiences are searching for now and will hit search engine optimization. Capture email addresses from downloads and use them for proactive marketing

2. Focus on emotion. As you also rearrange your digital assets and determine how you want to communicate, make sure that you speak to the three levels of emotion: the external, the internal and the philosophical.

You can’t listen to the news without hearing about market losses of 20% or more, a fact that creates fear and anxiety. Instead of focusing on the market, help fill a prospective client’s larger concern — finding an advisor that aligns with their philosophical beliefs. We believe that everyone should have a secure retirement and free of worrying, not to run out of money. Convey that message to your clients. You can’t help if they don’t trust you.

3. Create a clear and defined path. Many clients have been exhausted by a relationship with the previous financial planner, or they have exhausted themselves trying to plan their financial futures alone. Most clients are looking for a solution that requires the least amount of time, effort and energy. But they still need your advice. Cut through their fears with a clear and simple strategy.

Although we are experiencing challenges we didn’t anticipate, clients are ready to focus. They need your help now more than ever. And with a clear message, you can provide a valuable service, for a smaller budget, even in the midst of a pandemic.

How Are Your Clients Measuring You?


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How Are Your Clients Measuring You?

We keep hearing about living in “unprecedented times.” It’s become a catch phrase overnight as we adjust to a new environment. But it’s an accurate statement. It’s a challenge to stay connected from your home. And right now it’s more important than ever.

Whether your clients realize it or not, your value to them has never been greater. Now is the time to exceed expectations. But first, you need to understand how your clients are measuring you. The main thing we don’t want is to be measured in a down market by the same parameters used in an up market.

In an up market, it’s easy to define bad. We have a certain rate of return, we see our assets go up, and we see a modest decrease in terms of the fee structure. That difference measures our value as we build the portfolio.

In a down market, and especially in today’s climate, we bring so much more value than just performance. We need to redefine how we are measured to include:

  • Timely reviews
  • Explanation of type of holdings
  • Types of retirement solutions, and how they’ve performed

But our most valuable service right now comes from calming fears and anxiety. From previous down markets we’ve learned that we can’t afford to let someone else define our value. We must define it for them.

Think about the last major market correction from 10-12 years ago. How has your client’s behavior changed? If it hasn’t changed, we need to provide enough value now to encourage a change going forward. And to do that, we need to evaluate our business model, our education and how we, and our clients, view their retirement income outcome.

Let’s use a new measuring stick when it comes to how we are measured by our clients. We offer more than just a financial portfolio. We offer clients the opportunity to be active participants in their finances, with an expert guide to help them stay the course.

 

Transformational Tactic:

Provide value by offering reassurance and education. Redefine how you are measured during uncertain times.

What Does it Mean When Your Clients Go Quiet


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It’s a weird time.

With all the recent market volatility and social distancing, it’s hard to know how to reassure your clients. And every client is different. You’re probably hearing from your more vocal clients. And they are most likely demanding your attention first. The squeaky wheel…you know the rest.

But what about those wheels that aren’t squeaking? You also have clients with concerns that aren’t reaching out. At least, they aren’t reaching out to you.

Be careful of the quiet people. Have you ever heard that phrase? In today’s climate, that’s good advice. With market volatility, it’s easy to focus in on the people who are calling us to calm them down. We take the necessary time to talk them through the market’s ups and downs and focus in on the long-term. And that’s an important part of our job. But we also need to talk with the people who are not calling us. Often, these clients are introverts.

Introverts tend to rely on their own research. And because they’ve taken the time to research, they tend to be more confident. But, even though they’ve done the research, they will seek out other people’s opinions to shape their own. That's significant for us as financial planners. They may very well be seeking out other financial professionals for ideas during these rocky times.

So regardless of your client base, whether they're calling you or not, you need to systematically reach out to all your clients.

The ones who are calling you, and, most importantly, the ones who are not.

 

Transformational Tactic

Develop a consistent, scalable message. And use it to reach out to all your clients. Especially those who may be calling somebody else.

high performing practice retirement message marketing communication Transformational Tactic: introverts

A Healthy Dose of Perspective


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Fear around the Coronavirus is deeper than a run on hand sanitizer. It’s also driving a lot of recent market volatility. Considering all the information floating about, I remembered an article by Dr. David Katz that I read a few weeks ago. Dr. Katz is a leader of the Yale Prevention Center, and his article put things in perspective for me.

He begins by pointing out that, in America, the chances of being affected by the Coronavirus – at the time of his writing – was one in 100,000. That has likely changed by now, and probably continued to change from the time I wrote this to the time you’re reading it. Still, for most Americans, if you follow recommendations such as proper handwashing and social distancing, there’s a good chance of never being infected.

Now, the perspective. The chance of an American being struck by lightning is one in 3,000. It’s a significantly greater risk, and yet it’s one that, as a society, we’re apathetic about. Why? As Dr. Katz points out, there’s a larger apathy when no one’s talking about it. After all, when’s the last time you read a major news story about being struck by lightning?

In his article, Dr. Katz also brings up the continued misuse of food and diet, and its link to obesity—another topic we are apathetic about. Here in the United States, more than half a million people will die this year because of a poor diet.

Right about now, you might be wondering how this relates to you and your financial services practice. It’s a fair question. Let’s start with the market volatility I mentioned earlier. So far, it’s been about 10 days of an unsettled market. Your clients feel this uncertainty. And the uncertainty feeds the volatility.

What we should be worried about, though, is not just the last 10 days, or the immediate future. We need to be considering a larger epidemic. And we need to be talking about it and countering the apathy that comes when we ignore it. Are you ready?

People have not saved enough for retirement.

In addition, they continue to misuse Social Security. They are losing guaranteed defined benefits. Add that to the fact that we’re living longer than ever before. In fact, in today’s world, if you take a couple aged 45, there’s a 50% chance that one of them will live to age 95.

So, what do we need to take from this? Basically, it’s vital that we address the larger epidemic as opposed to talking about short-term blips in the market. If they aren’t addressing it with you, they’re probably talking to someone else. And that’s definitely not something to be apathetic about.

 

Transformational Tactic: Make sure you’re talking with your clients about the end goal. The biggest fear you have should be about the client who’s not calling.

retirement high performing practice coronavirus epidemic market volatility apathy

Think Like a Navy Seal


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What makes the best be the best? Dedication? Determination? A little bit of good luck?

For the last few weeks, I’ve been traveling – seeking out industry experts to help me learn and grow. My travels brought me to Coronado, California, to attend the Society of Financial Service Professionals (SFSP) Institute.

In addition to a famous hotel and some incredibly good Mexican food, Coronado is also home to the Navy base where they train the Navy Seals. My meeting was literally footsteps away, and I couldn’t help but see the commonality between our two worlds. The individuals training to be Seals are in excellent physical shape. Even though they are the best the Navy has, they are determined to continue to improve. Nothing but perfection will satisfy them.

At the Institute, I saw professionals with the same dedication and determination. They were spending significant time and energy sharpening the saw — getting better at their craft and understanding all the changes happening in the retirement income planning space. They were continuing their education and learning about the massive demographic shifts in the United States. These shifts shouldn’t be a surprise, although the size of them is pretty staggering.

According to LIMRA, today we have about 71 retired baby boomers for each active financial planner. By 2025, it will be 163 per planner. Did you follow that? In five short years, if every boomer had a financial planner, the ratio of clients to planners would be double. That’s a lot of people who need your advice!

So, how do you prepare to serve the market? Dedication. Determination. We need to be in peak condition to be able to serve our market. We must figure out how to increase efficiency and effectiveness. The challenge will be to maintain our customized focus within a much larger client base.

With more and more Americans needing our help, we must be able to focus on our advice and expertise and let automation and technology work for us to make our client relationships more efficient. In a recent post, I talked about the need for automation in marketing. That need is going to be ever more present in the years to come. If you haven’t researched technology vendors and platforms yet, there’s no time like the present. It’s the best chance we have of becoming more repetitive in a scalable business model.

Practice really does make perfect. Repetition is a large part of the Seals’ training. And it’s a big part of what we learned at the Institute.

Transformational Tactic:  Prepare now for the shift of the future. Establish a practice of repetitive goals, while maintaining a customized relationship with each client.