Is financial planning boring? I don’t think so, and you probably don’t think so, but it is almost certain that a large number of our clients and prospects think so. The perception that our industry is boring is actually a gift. If it were fascinating and easy to understand, clients wouldn’t be so interested in outsourcing the job. However, marketing a less-than-exciting product takes some extra creativity in order to stand out in the minds of potential customers. Check out these three tips on how to market a boring product in a memorable way.
Engage Your Clients’ Imaginations
The U.S. Navy owns thousands of technologies, many of which they market to the public in order to create licensing agreements with private industry. Some of the technologies are complicated early-stage engineering ideas in the form of patent filings. However, when the marketing team for the Department of Defense made this video about the Robotic Relay System, they focused on what the technology can do, not how it is used. The viewer is free to use their own imagination to come up with unique possibilities. As a result of the video’s success, the Robotic Relay System was licensed to multiple different private companies for completely different applications.
Focus on what financial planning could bring to your clients’ lives and let their imaginations do the rest. Invite them to dream about what they would do with an early retirement, or fully funded college plans, or excess savings to travel anywhere in the world. Their imagination will create a scenario far more exciting and motivating to them than anything you could prescribe.
Weave a Story
Humans are social creatures, and we relate to each other through stories. We also perceive more value in objects if we attribute an interesting story to an item. It is for this reason that great works of art can be worth millions and conversation pieces in a home create interest. Consider The Significant Object Project, an experiment that set out to prove the hypothesis “Narrative transforms insignificant objects into significant ones.” The study’s authors purchased $128 worth of junk from a thrift store and sold the items for over $3,600 on eBay after crafting a unique backstory about each object.
This experiment proves the value we place on a compelling narrative. What is your story? Clients love a context with which to relate to their financial advisor. Think about where you came from and your core values to hone in on your story. Successful examples include father-daughter teams or San Diego’s Callan Capital, made of three brothers: Tim, Ryan, and Trevor.
One very successful financial advisor engages clients with the story of why planning is important to him. Before he was an advisor, he worked as the business manager of his local art museum. Members of the museum were setting off for a trip overseas to tour the great museums of Europe when their small plane crashed, killing several married couples (who had small children) that had not had life insurance in place. He witnessed the devastating effect, inspiring him to make a career change in order to offer comprehensive financial planning to the families in his community. These types of narratives allow prospects to understand why you do what you do and to put their faith in your services.
Find a Niche
Everybody wants to feel special. We don’t want to eat in generic restaurants, we don’t want to drive boring cars, and we don’t want to hire forgettable advisors to invest our money. Clients want to feel like they’ve found the very best-suited advisor for their unique circumstances. We hear it over and over, but it being all things to all people doesn’t do well. Find a niche and embrace it.
Whether it be a nonprofit Christian financial planning firm, specialty planning for divorcees, wealth manager to dentists who own their practice, you must know exactly who your customers are. As a specialist, you are able to better serve your clients and understand their unique needs. Owning a niche also allows you to know exactly where to find your prospects and to market directly to them. They will feel special in your hands and be much more resilient when approached by generic competition. Another important benefit of nurturing your own niche is that clients have friends who are a lot like them. It’s easy for your clients to refer friends to your specialty practice if you are the best in your niche.
(Not sure what your niche is exactly? No worries—check out our Narrow Your Niche Challenge for Financial Advisors to identify your ideal clientele.)
We agree that financial planning is fascinating and complex, but our prospects see it as a problem to solve. It’s up to you to engage their imagination and help them feel unique. The key is to tell your story, embrace a specialty, and be the most memorable advisor within that niche. It may be challenging to put an exciting spin on financial planning—just be grateful you aren’t an accountant.
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