Before you write an article, blog post, create a presentation, design a web page, prepare for a client or team meeting ask the following 5 Questions for better results. You can download a PDF of the worksheet here.
Create a trailer for your business message. Like a movie trailer or book trailer on Amazon. Then send it out to everyone and have them forward it to others. Make it provocative (create curiosity or controversy), maybe you will be lucky and it will become viral.
Tim Ferriss on How to Make a Movie Trailer for Your Product (or Book)
Until a practice becomes an Exponential Business and has over a hundred unsolicited introductions a year, it must focus on three areas of marketing simultaneously. To maintain consistent revenue a practice must have short, intermediate, and long term revenue sources.
Short Term Revenue
The best source for short term revenue is conversion of non-fee clients to fees. This first step helps simplify the management of the practice and creates and immediate increase in revenue. To learn how to transition your non-fee clients to fees read pages 133-138 in Attract Clients.
Intermediate Term Revenue
The most effective means to create revenue in the next quarter is the Mini Dinner. Invite one of your top twenty-five advocates to dinner and ask them to invite another couple that looks just like them. Then the six of you go to an exclusive restaurant for dinner together and talk about life, not business. The more exclusive the restaurant is the better. The dinner gives your prospective couple the opportunity to meet you. There is no need to convince them of your expertise, your client's attendance is proof enough. They need the chance to see if they like you. The next day offer to take them through the same analysis you do for your clients at no cost or obligation to say thank you for the evening together. If you conduct ten dinners over the next twelve months and close eight of the ten, this will be an outstanding source of intermediate term revenue with clients that look just like your top twenty-five.
Long Term Revenue
Over the next twelve months identify the next dream and next action for each of your top one hundred clients and help them achieve their dreams faster. As you become a strategic partner for change in their life, they will want others to benefit from your partnership and you will begin to receive unsolicited introductions. For more information read pages 31-92 in Attract Clients.
As you complete converting your clients to fees over the next twelve to eighteen months your long term strategy will begin to create introductions. If you will use all three simultaneously it will only be a matter of time before your short, intermediate, and long term revenue are secure. Those these steps are easy to implement few will follow through to completion. If you do your practice will be on the way toward and auto-pilot exponential business.
Less than 5% of clients give referrals on a consistent basis. Why is this number so low despite our efforts to deliver great service to our clients? I believe it is because of the inherent risk of referrals. When your client endorses you to somebody else, they put themselves at risk to loose two relationships. They have the chance of losing their relationship with their friend whom they have referred and they have a risk of breaking up their relationship with you. Not because of something they have done, but because of something outside their control. Because if the referral doesn’t work out with you, who are they going to blame? And if he loses his best friend, whom is he going to be upset with? You. That’s why people don’t make referrals, there’s too much at risk. But if you can find a stranger that they don’t know, and have them talk with the stranger about what it is like to work with you. This is a safe way for them to learn the Language of Endorsement™.
As the client answers the strangers questions he is building an endorsement script. So the more they are a reference with you, the more comfortable they becomes talking about you.
This is the simplest way to remove the risk of referrals.
For years, experts have maintained that, before you can build trust, you need to build rapport. But these days, everyone knows the basics of marketing and selling—a strong handshake and straightforward eye contact, for example. These techniques are now so overused that the stronger the handshake and the longer the eye contact, the more uncomfortable the prospect becomes, feeling they are dealing with a used-car salesman rather than a professional. Over the last decade, surveys of baby boomers have consistently yielded the same result: investors are chiefly interested, when dealing with financial advisors, in information that can help them make better, more informed decisions. They want an expert, someone who knows what they are talking about and can provide them with better knowledge. Rapport building is not the beginning of the relationship process— expertise is. This is even more important following uncertain economic times.
How should you approach the "head, heart, feet" relationship-building process? First, you'll need to identify whether a client or prospect is a thinker or a feeler.
Prospects who are feelers tend to process information in their hearts. Typically, a feeler will accept the advice or recommendation of a third party regarding your expertise. When attending a conference or workshop where the speaker has the endorsement of a larger group, for example, the feeler will tend to assume speaker is an expert, then spend the bulk of their time trying to see whether they feel comfortable with them. They will ask themselves, "Do I feel I can trust this person and what their saying?"
A thinker, on the other hand, will spend the bulk of their time trying to figure out whether the speaker knows what they is talking about. They will continually ask themselves, "Is this person an expert?" Once they determines that the speaker is indeed an expert, they will trust them implicitly, then move quickly to the "feet" stage.
Very rarely do prospects have enough information to understand whether you can truly deliver on the promises you make. This is why using references or advocates is a critical step in the marketing process. A solid reference will bolster a prospect's trust and reassure them about the quality of your performance.
As you review this relationship-building process, take a moment to answer these three distinct questions:
• Do you have advocates up-front to disclose your expertise on the topic at hand? • During the conversation, do you allow an exchange of dialogue where trust can be built? • Do you use reference advocates to help the client better understand your ability to follow through on your promises?
Using this approach to building relationships allows you to better understand and meet your prospects' needs. And by identifying whether a particular prospect is a thinker or a feeler, you'll be able to focus your time and attention on the area of your presentation that's most important to your prospective customer.
Winning prospects' trust doesn't begin with building rapport—despite years of expert testimony to the contrary. To kick off solid relationships with prospective customers, you'll need to focus on one thing: positioning yourself as trustworthy. Suppose a couple, after spending an hour in your office, leaves thinking exactly the same way they did when they arrived. Somewhere in that hour, you've fallen short. To win new business and forge solid relationships, you need to change prospects' perspectives, build trust, and demonstrate that you can deliver on your promises. I call this three-step process "head, heart, and feet."
Let's start with "head." During your meeting with a prospect, you want them to undergo a transformation: to add to their knowledge base and change the way they views things. They may come in thinking one way, but they leave with greater knowledge, more information, and a new perspective that challenges them and demands that they respond.
The next step: "heart." Prospects are always on the lookout for evidence of whether or not you're trustworthy. To convey your credibility quickly and effectively, engage each prospect in a dialogue—a give-and-take that demonstrates that you understand them and their particular configuration of needs. Doing so will help you earn their trust and respect.
Finally, "feet"—the stage where the prospect contacts existing clients and learns that you've made a difference in their lives, that you do what you say, that you show up on time, and that your team follows through on what you promise. Now their ready to engage their feet and to build a relationship with you.
Clients learn about us by what we do and not what we say. Our actions reflect what is most important to us. If our customer contact time is spent talking about our products, our services, and ourselves, the customer soon understands what is truly important to us and it is not the customer. As Peter Drucker says “the aim of marketing to to make selling superfluous, to so know and understand our clients that the products fit them and sell themselves.” The financial services industry even has the “Know Your Client” Rule and we all agree this is important. The problem arises when we start to work with the customer. Our need to close the business, to generate revenue, and to feed our families, forces us to speed up the process and “get to the close.” These motives reveal themselves in our initial contact, when we do not focus on the client and their needs but rather on our agenda. If this shift from the customer to ourselves is generated by what motivates us, are we realizing what we truly want? Or are we selling ourselves short and settling for something less than the best in our business. In the coming weeks we will look at what we really want as business owners. Before that we need to understand how relationships are built.
Creating a professional image is doing the small things right. Throughout my career we used a channel lock binding system to create hard cover presentations. ChannelBind is the best company on the market today. After you purchase your binding machine you can baind as many covers as you desire. We had the cover embossed with "Confidential" and our contact information so we could use them for any type of presentation.
The website includes a video that explains how the system works. This will separate you from the herd.
No matter what business you are in, everyone wants to maintain and enhance their lifestyle throughout their lifetime. This basic desire is forgotten many times when clients visit their financial advisor. The products and services offered by the advisor are insignificant if this primary concern is overlooked. Why is the most important financial concept rarely discussed? What is retireability? Some say they have no desire to retire or do not believe they will ever be able to retire because of the difficulties in the economy. Retireability is not just a state of mind of wanting to retire, it is also a capability of having the resources to fund that desire.
"Anything the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve."
Though many would like to retire, most do not know what is required. This is where many people prematurely jump into a financial plan. Analysis of what you have is the last step in determining your Retireability Factor.
First, your advisor needs to know you. What is your purpose in life, what is important to you, what challenges are you facing now, what opportunities would you pursue if those challenges disappeared, what are you passionate about? These questions help your advisor know you. They need to understand your life story because without it how can they know what is important to you?
Second, your advisor needs to know where you want to go. What is your life dream, the vision of your future you and your spouse discussed when you were just dating? Too often this is a black and white, out of focus picture of the future. It needs to be a widescreen BlueRay movie with surround sound. The more we are able to visualize our future the faster it becomes a reality. Make sure your advisor helps you clearly define your dream for the future. A clear vision of your future becomes the catalyst for making it a reality.
Third, now you will need to determine why this dream is truly important. Is this dream necessary or just a nice idea? Unless your dream is vital you will not put the required motivation behind it to make it a reality. So take a moment and consider why this dream is necessary for you to achieve.
Fourth, at this point your advisor should ask when do you want to make this a reality? Too often we push our retirement into the distant future, when most of us can start to retire now. Why not start doing now what you want to do in the future? How many people do you know delayed their desires until retirement only to miss their dreams because of health concerns or an early death? This is unfortunate because everyone can start to retire now. By making your retirement urgent you can enjoy now what many will wait for and lose.
Fifth, now comes the difficult question, how do we make this a reality? If your advisor knows who you are and where you want to go and you believe this is truly important and you would rather start sooner than later, then they will be able to do the analysis necessary to create a plan of action to make this dream a reality. Too often this analysis is attempted before these questions are asked and answered. The result is clients are unprepared. These questions set the stage for the last step.
Sixth, and finally. After the important questions are answered and understood, both you and your advisor can go through the analysis necessary to build a bridge to where you want to go. Now your advisor can ask what do you have and it will have a context and can be used in the analysis to determine how to build your action plan to take you from where you are to where you want to be in the future.
Too often advisors start off talking about the money and then never get back to asking you about your life. This results is prescriptions being written before proper examination and diagnosis has occurred. In the health care industry this is called "malpractice".
This conversation creates a different result. These six questions, asked in this order will assist both you and your advisor in creating a compelling future, and building a road map to achieve your dreams.
This conversation is not a fifteen minute meet and greet. To do this properly you and your advisor should set aside a couple of hours. You can not tell your story in a few minutes and your vision needs to be more than a vague concept.
If your advisor is not doing this with you, find someone. If they will not take the lead, then require them to slow down and listen to you first, before they try to give you a solution.
We will talk more about the "retireability factor" in the coming weeks. If you find the information helpful send it to someone you value.
David Allen as just released his new book Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and Business of Life, following the success of Getting Things Done and Ready for Anything. His new book Making It All Work pulls all his thoughts together in a very organized way. This book is much easier to read and implement and has many new tools. I recommend it highly.
John Bogle the founder of Vanguard Funds has written another important book. Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life is a must read.
The window of time left this year is small, but the opportunity is great. In the next four weeks you can make a significant difference in the lives of others. And as they see in your actions your desire to help them achieve their dreams you can replace the lost assets that the market has temporarily taken away. So instead of just breaking even when the market returns, you can have a significant gain in assets and revenue, while having added outstanding value to the relationship. Example script for call to Top 25
Mr. Client over the past several weeks we have talked to many people who are worried and fearful. They had no one to help them understand their situation. If you know someone you respect and value who is worried, there is no need from them to be in that situation. We’ll be happy to take them through the same analysis we use with each of our clients, at no cost or obligation, to make sure that they know where they are today, where they want to be in the future, and have a plan of action to get there. We do not what someone you care about to be afraid.
We will post the audio file and notes from the conference call next week.
The following is an excerpt from the new Second Edition of Attract Clients that will be available soon. There are times when the biggest difficulty you face in business is getting clients to commit their funds to an investment choice. Perhaps they agree with the concept of fee-based assets and even go so far as to say they want to place their money with professional managers, but then the question becomes not so much what to do or how to do it, but more importantly when. When is the best time to make the change and move the assets?
When asked about the best time to invest in the market, Warren Buffet said, “Whenever you have money.” Most of the time the market will be higher in the future from a present point in time; 60% to 70% of the time the market will be higher 18 months out than today so Warren Buffet is correct. The best thing you can do whenever you have money is to invest it.
That said, there are two types of money: money at risk in the past and money that was not at risk in the past. If we all had the risk profile and confidence of Warren Buffet to say, “I am setting these funds aside for an unlimited period of time and I will not worry because I will buy good companies and just hold,” then we could invest whenever we have the money. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case and we find that many investors are anxious. The stock market is a scary place for them. The funds they invest may never have been in the market before - a rolled over CD or GIC, or funds received from a business sale or real estate sale. These funds may also represent a large portion of a client’s total asset base. Therefore, prudence may encourage us to move into the market gradually. Some people like to put their toe in first and test the waters then gradually move in, while others are fine diving in. For “divers” the best thing to do is invest fully whenever they have the money. However, for the ones who want to wade in gradually, we created a model that assists your clients in adding funds to the market on a systematic basis.
I believe there are four important dates for the investment of new funds into the stock market. These dates are March 15th, June 15th, September 15th, and December 15th.
The dates are significant in that they precede the last two weeks of each quarter.
Something significant happens in the market during the last two weeks of a quarter called window dressing. When managers, investment advisors, mutual funds, and institutions liquidate underperforming positions, selling is the order of the day. This practice presents an ideal time for investors to add funds to the market as the institutions are in sell mode.
The dollar-cost averaging model starts with today’s date. If the client agrees the investment is a good thing to do, then they put 50% of the money in the market today. Then you determine future investment dates. For instance, if today’s date is February 20th, then select March 15th and June 15th as the remaining two date lines. Half the remaining assets, 25% of the total, will be invested into the market on each of these two dates.
Three scenarios can occur in the market after the initial investment of half the assets. Historically, over an 18 month period, the market tends to be up about 70% of the time. The other 30% of the time, the market could be down or flat. If we are bullish and think the market will be up in the future, it would be foolish to hold back part of the funds and wait to invest them later at a higher price. But what if we take a large portion of a client’s assets and invest today and then, in 2 months, the market drops significantly? The investment timing seems imprudent and the client might be upset. By using the Dollar-cost Averaging model a disciplined approach to making the investment decision of adding funds to the portfolio is established.
In my practice, when a pool of money accounts for 25% or more of a client’s existing assets, the Dollar-cost Averaging model was presented to the client as an alternative to investing all funds at once. If the client agreed, we immediately invested 50% of the assets in the market that day. We then determined the next two investment dates and allocated 25% of the total to be invested on each of those days. The client gave us a market order for those specific dates. My team wrote the order tickets for those dates, but the tickets were not dated for reasons I will explain shortly. My service assistant kept a folder for each of the four important dates: March 15th, June 15th, September 15th and December 15th. When a predetermined date arrived, all order tickets in that folder were executed.
Assume a client has $100,000 to invest, a large portion of their current assets. They agree to invest 50% today, 25% on March 15th, and 25% on June 15th. However, during the period between today and March 15th, the market pulls back and drops 9% below the previous quarter. That means the designated funds can buy at a 9% lower price than originally paid. It is not March 15th yet, but because the market is down 9% from the previous quarter, the folder of order tickets for the next important date are executed now. It is important to note that we never took discretion and contacted clients by phone to explain the opportunity to buy in earlier at a reduced price and to obtain their authorization. If you take discretion in client accounts, you can explain this possible scenario to the client up front.
Along comes March 15th. Since we already invested the funds, we do not do anything until the next quarter’s investment date. The market continues to go up. By June 15th, the market is higher. That is alright though because the client understood in advance that 70% of the time they would pay higher prices.
On average, the market may drop 9% inter-year about once every 18 months. If the market drops 18% inter-quarter, take the next two investments, the remaining 50%, and invest them both early. Over the last decade we invested near lows of the cycle by using this model.
When an investor is nervous, the Dollar-cost Averaging model is the best way to get their money into the market. Dollar-cost averaging renders a disciplined approach and the potential to pay significant benefits by investing at or near lows of the period. Even if you do not reap the additional benefit of investing at a lower price, the client still benefits by investing over time without missing the opportunities of a market that on average is up more often than down.
With the markets in turmoil and your clients worried, what do you tell them and what is your most important next actions. This podcast will help you focus your attention on what to do now in you practice. The notes for this Podcast are here. [display_podcast]
Lloyd Williams' Conference Call Subject: What To Do NOW in Your Practice...
Date: October 27, 2008
Time: 2:00 PM Eastern
Call in number: 646-519-5883 (note please mute your phone)
Bridge Instructions: The bridge will open up 5 minutes prior to the start time.
Functions for Callers: To place oneself in mute, enter *6 To remove oneself from mute, enter *6
NOTE: The bridgeline is limited to 500 callers. If you call in after the max is reached you will recieve a busy signal. Branches please use conference room with speaker phone on mute.
Please read Lloyd's Mastery Habit post titled In Good Times Focus on Clients, In Bad Times Focus on Prospects (click on the link)
Dedicating yourself to being a lifetime learner is the greatest gift you can give yourself and those around you. The following are twelve books I recommend unconditionally.
Reading a book a month will impact your personal and business life.
Peter Drucker influenced much of my thought and practice over the years. This book is a compilation of essential ideas from twenty five of his best business writing. Pine and Gilmore redefined marketing.
David Allen helps us to understand that actions always take place with a specific context. Without having a system to handle the daily stuff of our life, we are held back by the thoughts and messes in our lives.
These three writers help us look at the world differently and with purpose. They give us new tools to re-imagine our future.
These three books are life companions of mine. I read each, every year, and will continue to do the same forever. These book are life transformers.
Click on these titles and look inside each for the value they contain.
Do you have a special book you would recommend we read? Please comment below.
In this new edition, I present the material covered in my popular 2-day workshops conducted in over fifty financial service firms across the U.S. and Canada. I begin with the importance of advocacy-based marketing in contrast to solicitation. Next, I walk you through the all-important First Conversation, which establishes the trust necessary to build deep relationships. Finally, I deliver the scripts, presentations, and tools required to build and manage your business. These are not just concepts to consider, but deliverables to implement in your practice today. Lloyd’s new book is now available at Amazon