Blogs

Month: January 2020

How to Reach an Audience of Message Scanners

How to Reach an Audience of Message Scanners

Transforming your business requires a marketing strategy
that works. Over the past few months, I’ve talked about the importance of clear
and concise messaging, the advantages of automating where you can, and how to
earn free marketing reach from news sources.

I believe in the value of marketing. It’s a great way to
open the door and start building a strong, lasting relationship. If you’ve
started implementing some of these suggestions, but haven’t noticed a change
yet, it’s important to examine why.

When I talk to advisors about their marketing and client
acquisition plans for 2020, I hear more discouragement and frustration than
anything else. Do any of these answers sound familiar?

  • My website is not creating enough qualified
    leads for me.
  • Buying lists are too expensive today.
  • I can’t get enough people to my seminars.
  • The response to my mailers remains low.
  • It’s too expensive to engage in digital
    advertising.

Marketing and prospecting have always been a challenge in our industry. For everyone. But instead of letting it discourage you, let’s step back and examine pieces that might make a difference. It’s not necessarily new information, but it is extremely relevant to your plans for 2020.

  1. Simplify and Clarify Your Message

People are distracted. This isn’t the first time you’ve
heard that, and it surely won’t be the last. To be heard above the noise, you
must make your message extremely clear. Most likely, you are catering to
prospects, not to clients. Your message needs to be so simple, so thematic and so
compelling that the prospect wants to engage with your personal brand.

Think about how you use the internet. Today’s audience likes to scan, not read.
Your business has seconds to get a point across – not minutes. As consumers, we
stay on a webpage for fewer and fewer seconds every year, less with every added
distraction.

Your brand must speak to the emotional transformation that your prospect wants to create in their financial life.

You know what they are looking for. Confidence. Knowledge.
Security. Organization. Peace of mind. You need to be writing the story with your
prospect as the main character — the hero. Too often, we make ourselves the
hero and lose the prospect during the initial interactions.

So, how do you do that? How do you make your client the hero and guide them
to their goals? Most clients are looking for someone to guide them through the
complexities of their financial decisions with a simple and clear path.

Think about avoiding analysis paralysis. If the information is too
much, the person will simply not do anything and save embarrassment, fees and
time. And they won’t find out how bad their situation might be. That’s
extremely frustrating for everyone when a professional (YOU!) can help rectify
the problem.

Clients are seeking advice. Specifically, they want to engage with a
professional in a low-risk manner. One of the best ways to do this is to get a
feel for the advisor before agreeing to meet. Many would prefer to see their
prospective planner in action during a seminar. For them to do this, your
website needs to clearly show them how to register, call or reserve a seat.
They need a simple call to action to focus on, without a lot of other distractions.
We’re scanners, after all. No one’s going to hunt and peck.

Simplifying and clarifying your message can keep prospects on the path, speed up your sales process, and save you thousands of dollars.

2. Understand the Algorithms

Unless you live and breathe data and consider yourself to be
one of the tech-savvy, the mention of algorithms probably takes you outside of
your comfort zone. But stay with me for a minute. You can have the best site in
the world — one that speaks to the heart of the problems your target market —
and still not get results. Why? The rules of the internet search game change
frequently.

In October 2019, Google changed its algorithm for searches.
Their BERT
algorithm
is an expansion of their 2011 PANDA algorithm that scores clarity
and quality higher than quantity.

This matters because it’s now more important than ever to be
crystal clear. Understanding how searches value a site is critical to
marketing. 93% of online relationships begin with an online search and Google
controls 65%-70% of the searches.

Chances are, your site is not getting the exposure it deserves in a world of noise.

You must understand the rules of the game to succeed. It
means staying on top of changes and making sure you have the right messaging to
drive prospects to your site. Although it requires some hard work and
diligence, it could be exactly what you need to distinguish yourself and
attract clients.

Transformational Tactic

Take time to create a simple, clear brand message that resonates with your target audience and maximizes current algorithm searches.

Recognize the opportunity to transform your business by taking our free course.

Posted by hpp
Don’t Blend In. Stand Out.

Don’t Blend In. Stand Out.

We’ve all been warned against the dangers of succumbing to
“herd mentality” and blindly doing something just because everyone else is.
There’s a reason that clichés survive, usually based on a grain of truth. As
humans, we feel validated when we know that others are doing the same thing or
following the same thinking.

Take asset allocation, for example. Not long ago,
ThinkAdvisor.com published an
article warning large brokerage firms against using a 60/40 allocation strategy
.
On the plus side, the article noted that larger firms are recognizing how
global markets affect investing. The point of the article, however, is that
bonds may not produce the same return as in previous years. Treasury yields are
low and global events have put foreign bonds in negative yields. Those are all
real possibilities that need to be considered when advising our clients about
investments.

But despite these warnings, financial advisors continue to
present solutions that are eerily like previous recommendations. The
recommended allocation presented different asset classes with more and less
risk than bonds. Arguments were made that the discussed asset classes performed
better than bonds. But they didn’t ask some important questions:

  • For how long will the discussed asset classes
    outperform bonds?
  • When will real estate suffer a recessionary meltdown?
  • Are we monitoring credit as closely as we were
    directly after the financial crisis?
  • If the goal is to find a replacement for bonds,
    previously used to balance the volatility of equities, why do we think private
    equity firms with fewer disclosure requirements will balance equities in the
    future?

And here’s where herd mentality rears its ugly head. We
continue to do the same thing we’ve always done. The same thing everyone else
is doing. We chase yield and returns.

And that leads to an opportunity for you.

Move Away from the
Herd

Here’s your chance to gain market share, grow your business
and attract clients with innovative new ideas. While everyone else is repeating
the same old lines and offering the same tired recommendations, you can provide
a new strategy to your clients — one that is impactful beyond preservation of
capital and a few basis points in yield. Thinking differently makes you stand
out in your community and with your clients. And it attracts prospects.

Providing a solution that meets the demands of changing demographics and reaches the most needed segment of the population – near and current retirees – positions you as the thought leader in your market.

Anyone can move money with a click of a button to chase yield. Honestly, that is the least valuable service we provide. But as a thought leader, you’ll have clients coming to you for ideas that work.

What Makes You Different?

You still may hold yourself out as a money manager with a
focus on asset allocation. And you’re right —asset allocation is important. But
in the new world of relevance, you must also provide income. The more stable
and dependable your retirement income strategy is, the better positioned you
are to take advantage of the greatest shift from the workforce to retirement we
have ever seen. 

By providing income strategies, you separate yourself from
the herd of other asset gatherers and managers. That separation wins clients
and prospects. They don’t want to pay for something they can get from anyone
else or even do themselves with today’s technology.

They want answers to their most difficult problem –
retirement income.

It’s Time to Stand
Out

You won’t separate yourself as a thought leader by following
the herd. Clients don’t win in investing when they invest based on herd
mentality, and neither should you. If you do the same thing as others or stick
to the outdated strategies used in the past, you will get the same results.
It’s time to transform your business and step out in front.

Transformational Tactic

Separate yourself from the herd.

Recognize the opportunity to transform your business by taking our free course.

Posted by hpp
Generate More Income with Fewer Assets

Generate More Income with Fewer Assets

It’s a new year with new challenges and new opportunities.
But even as we set resolutions and think about how we want to change, as
financial advisors, the need to maintain balance stays the same. The question remains:
How do you find the right mix of advisory and commission-based products in
relation to what is best for the client?

Before I answer that, let’s look at what we’re dealing with
— specifically, dramatic shifts in our country that continue to affect retirement
income planning. You’re probably aware of these shifts, but it’s worth
identifying them.

  1. We are saving less
    money for retirement and at a much lower savings rate
    than most of the last
    quarter century.
  2. Our life expectancies at age 60 continue to
    increase. (Female
    expectancy
    ; male
    expectancy
    )
  3. The United States continues to see a shift
    to defined contribution plans and away from defined benefit plans
    .

Together, these shifts paint, if not a bleak picture,
certainly a more challenging one.

Advisors will have to create more income, for longer periods of time, with fewer assets, than ever before.

What it really means is that you, like other advisors, are left trying to figure out how to drive value in your business by increasing recurring revenue. And, at the same time, you’re responsible for addressing your clients’ retirement outcome with non-advisory products. Piece of cake, right?

Fortunately, the answer can be found in a single strategy. And it’s one I’ve talked about before.

Our industry needs to behave, act and think differently than ever before if we’re going to help Americans secure their financial future. It’s time to execute on Income Alpha strategies that both increase the outcomes for many Americans while creating a long-term increase in revenues and assets under management.

Bonus Content – Income Alpha

Get straight to the numbers! Download the visual case study on how to win the retirement game.

  Get the Case Study Now  

How it works

It can be summarized in three simple steps. The strategy
employs:

  1. A percentage of income dedicated from guaranteed
    income sources
  2. The proper asset allocation of the largest
    segment of assets under management
  3. Creation of an equity bucket for long term
    legacy goals

The benefits can also be easily pinpointed. The strategy
results in:

  • Using 15% fewer assets
    than a typical systematic withdrawal strategy
  • Providing over $600,000 more value to the client’s
    estate
  • Driving the revenue for the advisor up 26%
    during the client engagement.

Start 2020 off with a win-win-win strategy and get that much closer to transforming your business. Find out more.

Transformational Tactic

Deploy strategies that let you generate more income, with fewer assets, while maintaining the value of your business.

Learn more about Income Alpha strategies by registering a free demo of the JourneyGuide software. For more ways to learn about how to transform your business, sign up for our free course.

Posted by hpp
Overcoming Communication Failure

Overcoming Communication Failure

Client perception is our reality.

As financial planners, we solve problems. But, you can only
provide meaningful advice if your clients understand the correct problem.

I’ve talked
in the past
about how we have so much information available, we get
paralyzed by indecision. And with so much information available, it can’t all
be accurate. Just turn on cable news and you’ll see more speculation than
factual reporting. People believe what they expose themselves to – and that
messaging is constant. Our clients focus on the media at least as much as they
focus on what we say. More, if we aren’t providing them with the information
they need.

A client’s sentiment, right or wrong, affects their
behavior. It’s also constantly changing – especially if you are only meeting
with clients annually. So, it’s no wonder that it can seem almost impossible to
keep up.

That’s where our alignment needs to change. We’re in a place
of communication failure. Not about portfolio performance or basic information
… we’re missing how a client’s changing emotional mindset can impact a
far-reaching financial plan.

Misaligned Assumptions

According
to a recent survey
, 65% of Americans believe there will likely be a
recession in the next year, while most economists indicated that during the summer,
those winds have subsided. The survey was conducted in early fall after
economists changed their predictions. Yet our clients’ beliefs didn’t change. That
tells me either we are not communicating properly, or clients have fallen
behind in obtaining important economic data.

Either way, the burden falls on us to communicate clearly.

Preparing … Partially

The survey asked what Americans are doing if they believed a
recession is imminent. Smartly, most respondents indicated they have begun
building an emergency fund or paying down debt.

Unfortunately, only 13% of the survey participants have
taken the time to reallocate their investments. This is in the backdrop of one
of the largest increases in market value since the financial crisis.

Few are taking risk off the table. Probably because we are
not advising them to do so.

Clients move. The market experiences poor performance. A friend enters the industry and your client transfers business to them.

Planning vs Reality

Most Americans are saving
less money than our parents
, but we are
saving money for retirement. But our clients save based on the expectations
(that we help set) they will reach their ideal retirement age before leaving
the workforce. What’s on your clients’ plan? 65? 67? 70? For more than 40% of
Americans, that won’t be the case. 4 in 10 will
have to retire early due to health concerns or being forced to leave the
workforce
.

Will your client still be set up for success if they retire
earlier than projected? Have you talked about it?

Overcoming Communication Failure

In a worse-case scenario, failing to help clients change
their perception and understand the financial market can cost them security and
wealth. Selfishly, it can also cost us the ability to gain new clients.

If we don’t prepare our clients for contingencies, they will fail to enjoy the lifestyle they have been envisioning. If that happens, we risk not only the client relationship but future relationships of generations to come.

We must be better at communicating the risks and solutions
associated with retirement income planning. And, we need to do that in a way
that is so simple, thematic and compelling that our clients tune out the noise
of friends, family and media to use us as the trusted source.

As a StoryBrand Guide,
we tell our advisors, “If you confuse, you’ll lose.” Getting your message clear
is difficult, but leads to exponential gains in your business. When you correct
how you communicate, you will impact your clients’ lives because you have a
better chance at being aligned.

So, how?

This is where High Performing Practice can help. In past
blogs we’ve talked about some of the techniques: finding the
right clients
, building
deeper relationships
, automating
your message
, and most importantly keeping your message
clear
.

But it really comes down to you and your clients. Are you
understanding their reality? And what are you doing to meet them where they
are, then guide them to a place of security?

If you’re ready to have that conversation, we can help.

Transformational Tactic

Improve your communication – and effectiveness — through simple and consistent messaging that connects with your clients.

Posted by hpp