Prospecting, selling and closing are always going to have their challenges, and the global pandemic only magnified them. The financial industry has changed, permanently. The old ways aren’t coming back, and only those willing to continually adapt will thrive.
White Glove was thrilled to convene noted professionals willing to share their hard-earned knowledge on navigating the massive industry changes we are living through today, via their annual event, Host University. We’ve compiled the top 10 insights garnered from Host University to help you move the needle in 2021:
1. Virtual appointments are here to stay
We learned that going virtual doesn’t have to stop you from securing new clients. In fact, mastering virtual workshops and appointments can lead to amazing results. Maybe you aren’t yet confident in your ability to hold a virtual audience’s attention and deliver a compelling engaging story about yourself. Or perhaps like most great relationship builders, you rely on eye contact and body language, which is often hard to decipher through a screen. If that’s you, you aren’t alone; many advisors feel the same. The challenges are undeniable but not insurmountable. Virtual client contact can be mastered. Your prospects are now comfortable meeting virtually, and in some cases prefer it, so you must become comfortable as well. Financial advisors who are willing to adapt and persevere, who seek out training, best practices and who make it their business to be just as great on screen as they are in person will find themselves in high demand.
2. Authenticity is a must, whether virtual or in person
Be upfront, open, honest and authentic. Brad Gotto of Fiat Wealth Management shared one of the ways he personally shows up authentically to his audience. He literally addresses the elephant in the room. When conducting in-person workshops, he starts with a giant stuffed elephant behind him. He holds it up and says, “let’s just address this.” Gotto openly admits he wants his audience to be his future clientele. This immediately relieves any tension in the room. He is freed to move on and deliver quality information that his clients need and want. The audience is no longer waiting for the hard sell; they can just focus on absorbing the content. This same strategy has been proven to be effective when conducting virtual workshops. This tactic may not be for you, but finding a way to be vulnerable and transparent with your prospects is an impactful tool that bridges the gap between a virtual and a physical handshake.
3. Focus on the emotions that drive action
It is our human nature to make decisions based on emotions and then justify our decisions using logic. Thus, Deirdre Van Nest, a noted financial advisor trainer, stressed the importance of leading a client into their emotional heart center. It is much faster and easier to secure a ‘yes’ from a prospect if you first forge an emotional connection.
When you ask a prospect, “why have you decided to meet with me?” you’ve helped them drop their defenses and you create a space for them to share their values, motivations and dreams. You have allowed them to engage with you from their emotional side. This is where you want them.
4. Stop. Before getting tactical
You’ve appealed to the “why” behind a prospect’s decision to meet with you. Now, you must resist the urge to immediately recommend solutions. Show that you’ve closely listened to their answer by asking relevant follow up questions. Encourage them to share even more. Take your time getting to know the client. Remember, a lot of people love talking about themselves. At this stage, an open, validating, exploratory conversation is more important than any recommended solutions you may provide.
5. Local marketing is about to change
Anybody remember Yellow Pages? Long ago, every business needed a local marketing strategy. Then the internet arrived, and things changed very quickly. Social media and digital marketing were suddenly here, and here to stay, and very few people were using local print media and Yellow Pages.
Hyperlocal marketing is back, and you’d be unwise to ignore these opportunities. With Google My Business, new options for Google ads and the new SEC rules regarding reviews and testimonials, advisors are now able to enter the hyperlocal market in new and exciting ways. Advisors are urged to educate themselves on the details of the new SEC regulations so they can claim their online Google real estate without fear of SEC compliance violations.
Friendly reminder: when opportunities like these emerge, it is the early adopters who reap the most benefits.
6. Yes. You really do need a Google, Facebook and LinkedIn profile
Maintaining a robust and professional presence across several social profiles can seem daunting and time consuming. However, financial advisors who resist doing so risk being lost in the shuffle. Today, most prospects research their advisor online before meeting with them. White Glove has noticed that advisors who have a compelling online presence convert leads more quickly.
In addition, utilizing all three platforms will allow you to cover most of the avenues ideal prospects use to find you. It also gives you a platform to share credibility pieces created by you. Guest podcast appearances, information packed blog posts and video presentations are a few examples of credibility pieces that can be hugely beneficial in building your brand awareness.
You may want to consider partnering with a social impression management service which will free you to focus on your primary business activities and generating branded credibility pieces that can be widely shared on your social profiles and with prospects.
7. Financial podcasts are dramatically increasing in popularity
A guest appearance on a podcast lends instant credibility. It is a powerful way to showcase your personality and expertise. An added benefit is that your audience gets a chance to sample your personality and learn about you without any pressure. If they decide to reach out to you, know you have attracted a warm, motivated lead who isn’t just interested in financial advice but interested in financial advice from you. Find a way to participate in this space, the return on investment is impressive.
8. Consumer demand is high for education relating to estate planning, taxes and college planning
Is it time for you to consider developing a niche? If so, consider tax, and or estate planning. Currently, demand for education on estate planning is outpacing supply from the advisor and EPA community. Education on tax strategies in retirement and college planning remains in high demand as well.
9. Buy low, sell high, always
Ed Slott, a nationally recognized IRA distribution expert, warned of what he is calling “the new retirement savings time bomb.” He is urging financial advisors to educate themselves on the updated rules regarding IRAs and retirement savings. He reminded us of # 1 rule of investing: buy low, sell high. He then explained how this mentality can be applied to taxes. Ensure your clients’ savings aren’t depleted by taxes by staying abreast of both recent and potential changes.
10. It pays to be action oriented
Forecasters predict massive changes will continue throughout most industries. The ‘set it and forget it’ approach is obsolete. Dynamic, tuned in professionals who are committed to turning knowledge into action, quickly embracing new opportunities and remaining undaunted by industry disruptions will be poised to seize success.