Opportunities to Serve
Nate BiddickPractice Development Director, 1st Global
Nov 29, 2011
“Wise men make more opportunities than they find.” – Francis Bacon
Many new CPA wealth management advisors, accustomed to tax deadlines driving business, view marketing on par with snake oil hucksters and plaid-coated used auto dealers. But what separates truly communicating your value from a “sales pitch” is this: the truth of your statement, the strength of your conviction and the intention behind each to benefit others.
Simply put, marketing is telling others how you can benefit them, how good you are at what you do and how excited you are to do it. You can then listen to their responses and find out together if there is an opportunity to serve them. As the quote above indicates, creating these opportunities takes preparation, intentionality and effort.
The time you take upfront to set your marketing plan pays off each month so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Set an hour appointment with yourself to lay out your plan for the next six months. There are many great topics you can choose from various resources.
Action Steps: During your planning hour, choose the date to e-mail one piece monthly to all current clients. Next, preselect six articles or letters to send in the mail, one for each upcoming month. The easiest is the monthly economic update, but you can also choose Method 10 (TM) wealth care issue component topics or articles on general financial planning topics relevant to the time of year. For example, proactively bringing up 401(k) plans in July (ahead of the October deadline) shows you are thinking ahead for your clients’ business retirement needs.
Once you’ve chosen the materials to be mailed, like the 401(k) information for example, and the dates to send them, delegate as many of the steps as possible. You’ve decided what materials to use and when to use them – now assign the implementation of these tasks to whomever you’ve given ownership of the execution of your marketing plan.
Making your own opportunities takes the courage to be intentional in your interactions with clients. This is where the confidence in the job you can do for them and how excited you are to do it really matter. If you place value on what you do – you believe in it – then your clients can too.
Action Steps: For current tax clients who are not yet wealth management clients, use the same general financial planning piece as you chose for the action step above. Consider the general planning topic chosen for the month. Who in your current tax and accounting client base comes to mind when you consider the topic? From assistants to partners, ask each to come up with ideas for clients who may benefit from a conversation about (in our example above) a 401(k) plan.
Then, whether it’s by e-mail or regular mail, send something about the topic to 10 clients. Follow this with a call that starts with small talk and moves to the “I thought of you and our previous conversations about retirement plans when we sent our marketing materials this month … I think now is the time to sit down and consider if a 401(k) plan is a good fit for your business, your employees and your family’s retirement plans.”
“Advertisements are now so numerous that they are very negligently perused, and it is therefore become necessary to gain attention by magnificence of promises, and by eloquence sometimes sublime and sometimes pathetic.” British author Samuel Johnson said this in 1759, and the same is true today.
Marketing research firm Yankelovich estimates that a person living in a city sees up to 5,000 advertising messages per day. One response to this is to not add to the cacophony – but then your clients are at the mercy of the very salespeople you were earlier concerned about becoming.
The better option is to be selective and direct your communication efforts to the people who count: your clients. They need you to rise above the noise and make sense of it for them. Fight to place yourself and your firm in your clients’ minds as the “first next thought” for each category of wealth management by repeatedly reminding them you are the best person to serve them. Consistently communicating, even if it is just to remind your clients what you do and that you are there, gives you mindshare.
Action Steps: You now have a six-month plan set and the activities delegated. You also have a weekly routine of reaching out to approximately 50 current relationships per year that do not currently take advantage of wealth management. The final action step is to do what you planned. This does take effort and energy, but mostly at the beginning. Once you’ve got the routine down, it becomes a constructive habit.
Remember: the truth of your statement, the strength of your conviction and the intention behind each to benefit others are the important principles to follow when communicating with clients. It is on old adage that clients don’t care what you know until they know that you care. Let them know by proactively and consistently communicating your value.