Annuities

How to Use Automation to Build Relationships


Annuities

Effort.

It’s one of the main things that separates a High Performing Practice. Yes, it’s really that simple.

But, you should focus on where you put that effort. Ultimately it should be on practices that create unique, personal connections with your clients. Marketing can either be the way you make that happen, or for some, the very reason you’re spinning your wheels.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked about gaining more exposure through marketing. How it’s difficult to commit the time, energy and effort needed to do all the right things. And how important it is to create content that adds value for your clients.

But we’ve also provided solutions to make it easier to hit your marketing goals. Today, I want to offer you another solution: automation.

By adding automation to your marketing plan, you can spend your time building relationships and really getting to know your audience instead of sending emails and chasing leads.

You’ve created content that is valuable to your clients. They are willing to exchange their email address for it. Now, what are you going to do with their information? How do you proactively follow up with customized content for each individual client? In other words, how do you automate?

The good news is, compared to writing an effective email and creating content that matters, automation can be the easy part. There are several different vendors out there that can create automated emails for each different type of client. I’ve broken it down into three easy steps:

  1. Create valuable content that requires an email address to download
  2. Use a vendor to build an automated nurture campaign
  3. Chose topics that can be easily translated into different forms

Let’s look at an example. You created a downloadable pdf about asset management and you want it to be the first step in a compelling five- to six-step automated email campaign. To get the pdf, clients offer their email address, which can automatically be entered into a proactive email nurturing campaign. Once it’s turned on by your vendor, you are using automation to talk to your target audience!

Many vendors can do this easily, and for a low cost. You decide when to turn on the campaign whenever the time is right.  Maybe you want to wait a few months and use the campaign to remind people that you’re still here and that you still offer that item that interested them in the first place.

Think about ways to automate your campaigns — and, to some extent, your content. Using video, for example, can allow you to create multiple pieces of content from one source. Inexpensive translation software can turn video into a written blog.  It’s an easy way to accumulate content for your website. Try it with a few different subjects, and then track which ones are the most popular. Requiring an email address to download makes this easy to track — and, of course, adds them to your nurture campaign. Automatically.

One word of caution: Automation isn’t a golden ticket. It’s a tool. You’ll still need to create good content that attracts clients and offers value. The key here is to value your time. Look for a partner who can help with tasks that don’t demand your individual attention, so you can spend more time focused on your clients.

 


 

Transformational Tactic

Automate as much as you can.

Giving Back from the Heart


Annuities

We all have causes we’re passionate about. From church groups to local community arts programs, to research for the cure of a disease that has affected a loved one, and all kinds of things in between. The choice of which charity to align with is personal. It comes from the heart.

Personally, I’m passionate about basketball. I was a student manager for our boys’ basketball team during both high school and college. I was fortunate to work with one of my heroes, Bobby Knight, at Indiana University and was proud to be part of the team that won the national championship my senior year. Because I love basketball and am at a place where I can help my community, the proceeds from my most recent book, Free Throws for Financial Professionals (featuring 10 principles I learned from Bobby) go to help students at my high school. Each year, one student manager is awarded a partial scholarship to help cover tuition and books. It’s something that I care deeply about, and something I am proud to support.

Find out which causes are near and dear to your clients. It will help create deeper relationships with your target clients. And the time might come when you’re asked to donate to their favorite cause. Before that happens, it’s wise to have a process in place to handle those requests.

Creating a process requires just a few simple steps.

  1. Define your charities. I’ve found that it’s essential to determine the types of charities that matter. Generally, you can determine two or three categories of charities that you care about. For example, you could have children’s needs as one cause. A heart association might be another. Or maybe you’re interested specifically in helping your community. Take a minute to think about what causes you want to dedicate your time and money to.

  2. Only donate to charities that fit and matter to you. Of course, you never want to risk alienating a potential client. But it’s just not possible to say yes to everyone who asks for a donation. When a client or vendor asks you to donate to a charity, let them know what types of causes you are currently supporting. If their charity doesn’t fit one of your categories, politely decline. Instead, talk about other ways you might be able to assist with their community.

  3. Before deciding, find out more. If a client supports a charity you’ve never heard of, or don’t know much about, find out more. Where does the money go? What is the charity’s mission statement? Who does it benefit? You might be surprised by what you learn.


So, when a client asks you to donate, the answer is a resounding “maybe.” It all depends on how your philanthropic tendencies line up with theirs. And, as you build your business to a High Performing Practice, you’ll be able to support more of the causes you love. Just remember to give from the heart.  

 

Transformational Tactic

Stay true to the causes you love and give accordingly.

retirement high performing practice charity

Creating Content That Connects


Annuities

Everyone wants to stand out.

To stand out, you need to carefully consider what you want to say.

We’ve discussed strategies to take advantage of free marketing, and how important it is to get your brand amplified through radio and newspaper articles. But even more important is carefully considering the value your content is delivering to your audience. If your message is the same as everyone else’s, how can you stand out?

It is challenging to come up with content regularly — and especially high-quality content. It takes time, effort and energy to commit to consistently writing a blog or creating something unique enough to catch the attention of a television station or a newspaper.

It can be tempting to subscribe to an online newsletter for content — it’s reliable and simple. It’s also the same content that every other financial advisor is using. You don’t want to be just another of the endless financial planners who appear in a Google search. 

If you want to commit to creating high-performing content, it’s a tall order. The key is to start somewhere. Here are two strategies to help you get there.

  1. What does my target market want to hear?
    Here’s your challenge: Don’t think about investments or insurance. Instead, think about what your target market really wants to hear. And why do they want to hear it from you? What unique perspective do you bring?

    Is it something focused around retirement? Great. That’s clearly going to help your business.

    But maybe your local community is going through a recession. In that case, maybe you talk instead about controlling debt. Or how to sell a home at a higher price. If your target market is business owners, maybe your message is concentrated on corporate America.

    The point is to think about what your audience wants to hear, not just about what you want to tell them. Your sweet spot for content will come when you connect your passion with subjects your audience wants to hear about.


  2. Is the content worthy?

Today, especially in a prospecting call to action, you need to make sure that that content is worthy enough to give up the new currency of digital marketing – personal data.

In other words, is your content worth exchanging their email for? Are they willing to give up contact information to secure the information you are offering? If not, you lose access to your market. You have no way to contact them, add them to a nurturing campaign, or let them know about changes to your website.

It’s critical to hit your target market with meaningful, value-added information, even if it’s not necessarily about financial planning. Whether or not you ask for an email address to read your content, ask yourself before you start: Is this meaningful enough that my audience would share their email address?

Hitting both of those every time should bring greater success with your content.

I heard a great line at a conference last summer: Content does not need to be cringe-worthy, but it has to be binge-worthy.

For example, if your target market is younger, think of what they are exposed to every day. Topics like:

  • Five steps to becoming a millionaire by age 30
  • Five ways to illuminate student loan debt
  • Five ways to purchase a new home

These types of stories are meaningful. Even though they may not apply to your practice, they add value and draw attention. Meet your audience where they are.

 

 

Transformational Tactic

Don’t just create content as a touchpoint. Keep your target market in mind and develop meaningful content that improves your relationship with your audience.

retirement high performing practice content

Personal Connections that Lead to Professional Growth


Annuities

When you’re looking to grow your business, the goal isn’t to aim for the top one percent. Instead of focusing on how to be that top producer, focus on how to improve your personal performance. Keeping up with the Joneses — both professionally and personally — always leaves you wanting. A smarter move is to look at those areas you want to improve and focus on them.

One of the best ways to do that is to connect with others. Seek out people within the industry that collectively can lift your business. What does it mean to truly connect with someone? On a personal level, it happens when you share the same interests or laugh at the same jokes. On a professional level, connections can be made when you have similar goals or the same basic philosophies.

Here are three ways to start making better connections.

  1. Join a professional association. I’ve been a member of NAIFA and the Financial Planning Association (FPA). I’m currently really involved in the Society of Financial Service Professionals (SFSP). It’s a unique organization where people with different credentials can be in the same room, hearing the same ideas, working together and pulling the rope the same way — all with your client’s best interests in mind. Consider joining with people in estate planning, asset management, insurance, accounting and more. And all of them ready to pull the rope in the same direction.

  2. Be intentional about attending conferences. It’s happened to all of us. We get to a conference, dutifully sit through the required CE, and then just kind of have sidebar conversations with whoever is near. Instead, look at the attendee list for the conference and reach out to those people that you really believe can help grow your practice. By that, I mean people who could be collaborative, educational and willing to help grow your business. Try to connect with them before the conference and then have intentionally meaningful 10-minute conversations during breaks, as opposed to the default tactic of saying “hey, how are you doing” to the person nearest you.

  3. Look for people who understand how to grow a business online.  How can you tell? Start by checking out their online presence. Connect with them through LinkedIn and then follow them on Twitter.  Read their blogs and get to know their business intimately before you reach out to them out of a personal level. Follow their practices as a template for your online growth.

Ready to create new, meaningful connections? We can help. We’ll help you organize the tools and tips we’ve been sharing into a plan designed to grow your business, attract quality people, and help you stay relevant during one of the greatest workforce shifts the United States has ever seen. Let us put our experience and wisdom to work in your business.

Transformational Tactic

Connect

retirement high performing practice connect

How to Stay Motivated in a Difficult Business


Annuities

Achieve a 20-Point Day

Occasionally, most of us experience a lack of motivation. You might have distractions in your personal life. You might be discouraged by bad markets or low interest rates. Or maybe you’re just burned out. Whatever the cause, when you’re just not feeling it, it’s hard to stay focused and do the things necessary to grow your business. Specifically, it can be hard to find the energy to track quality people and remain relevant.

When you lose your motivations, you’re allowing external forces to push you off course to your success, potentially causing a downward spiral. When you’re not enthusiastic about your work, your clients can tell. They are trusting you with their financial future. They need you to be as excited about it as they are.

And, most important, when you lose your motivation you forget about doing the things that matter for long-term growth. Namely, prospecting for long-term clients. How do you do the things today that will result in more, and better, clients two, three and five years down the road?

There’s not just one answer, but I want to share a simple solution with you. When I worked in retail, I found it helpful to gamify my activity. The goal was to work for a 20-point day. It didn’t matter how I did it, but as long as I hit my 20 points, I went to bed knowing I had a successful day.  

Ready to give it a try?

Your 20 points can come from a variety of different sources. So, for instance, every time you pick up the phone and speak with somebody, you get a point. Every time you ask for an appointment, you get three points. Secure that appointment to get four points. A face-to-face meeting is worth five points—seven if you meet with a center of influence.  Earn 10 points for another revenue-generating activity. And, if you meet your daily revenue goal, that’s 20 points.  

The key is that there is no carryover to the next day. Every day when you wake up, you start brand new. You’re not focused on the successes and failures of clients choosing or not choosing to do business with you, but rather you’re focused on the revenue-generating activities important in your business, regardless of what those are. It doesn’t matter if your business is assets under management, selling life insurance or retirement income planning.

What matters is that those key revenue-generating ideas are assigned point value and importance that will keep you motivated.  By focusing on what you can control, you can avoid letting the things you can’t control start playing with your head. Instead of focusing on “why can’t I get anything done,” “my market’s down,” or “my income’s dropped 20% because the market correction,” make sure that you have the right revenue generating-activities in order to take your business to a different level.

Think about what you are trying to do. You could be working to expand your client base or develop deeper relationships with your existing clients. Whatever the case, working to become a High Performing Practice can start right now.

Need help? I encourage you to schedule your transformational call. Spend an hour with us talking about where you are and where you want your business to be.  We’ll reach back out to you in a couple of weeks with a plan about how to get there.

Transformational Tactic

Try for a 20-point day every day. Gamify your revenue-generating activities and you’ll stay motivated.

retirement high performing practice motivation