Years ago, I had an amazing epiphany about financial advisors and the essence of team building in wealth management, “No financial advisor makes it to high seven figures without a team.” And further, “A financial advisor and one assistant don’t make a team. The minimum team size is advisor, assistant, and part-time computer operator…
The Ultimate Marketing Strategy for Financial Advisors
First, let’s lay out one expectation:
Your quickest source of growth will not come from getting new clients.
It will come from the current clients with which you already have a relationship. It will come in the form of windfalls, referrals, and held-away assets.
But to galvanize your base of clients into raving fans, you must implement a marketing plan that is designed to build unshakable top-of-mind awareness.
And the easiest way to build that TOMA is through your Monthly Drip campaign.
What is the Monthly Drip?
Creating top-of-mind awareness is key to converting prospects and maintaining good client relationships. The easiest way to do this is to send a message to your mailing list at least once a month.
A well-organized monthly drip campaign can help you to coordinate and automate your direct mail so that every client and prospect receives at least one message a month that is on a topic of interest to them.
Monthly drip messages CAN include financial advice, but should not be exclusively so.
Monthly Drip cannot be electronic. It must be a letter sent via mail with a postage stamp on it.
A newsletter is not a Monthly Drip message. That is a newsletter. The key to a successful monthly drip is to keep your calls to action to an absolute minimum. This is not a prospecting strategy that produces overnight results. This is a long-game prospecting technique that enables you to stay in front of prospective clients, current clients, and even new leads you will add.
The Importance of Having a Monthly Drip
Do you have clients with whom you only communicate with once or twice a year?
And certain clients, almost never?
When a prospect says, “I have to think about it,” or “I’ll contact you in 6 months,” do you leave the ball in their court and just wait for that inbound call…only for nothing to ever happen?
Do your Strategic Partners fail to send actual business your way?
When there is volatility in the markets, do you wait for clients to contact you? Or are you inundated with client calls to the point that nothing else can get done?
If any of your answers are “yes”, then you probably don’t have a great monthly drip in place.
If “Sales is a contact sport,” and you don’t have a good contact strategy in place, then your business is open to poaching by other financial professionals.
In the minds of your clients and prospects, there must be no more room for other advisors.
The easiest way to squeeze them out is to claim that top-of-mind real estate.
Numerous studies have shown that when it comes to an advisor’s clients there is one major complaint that has stayed at the top of the list for years.
“I don’t hear from my financial advisor.”
A 2020 study showed that:
- 64% of clients hear from their advisor less than 4 times a year.
- 50% of clients did not hear from their advisor within the first 3 months of the pandemic.
- A whopping 85% of clients said that advisor communication impacted their decision to stay with their current advisor or go to another one.
These numbers highlight the importance of having consistent communication with your clients. But they also show a huge opportunity for prospecting. Chances are good, in fact there’s a 64% chance, that your target market does not hear enough from their current advisor.
So how do you shore up your financial planning business from other financial advisors prospecting efforts?
The easiest way is to create a consistent Monthly Drip campaign that is filled with heartwarming, easy-to-read, and enjoyable content.
How to Capitalize on the Biggest Complaint in Financial Services
If you’re like most advisors, you probably have anywhere from a few ideal clients to several hundred current clients. You also have hundreds of potential clients, some close to buying, some not.
Then there are your social media friends, LinkedIn connections, business contacts, small business owners, strategic partners, wholesalers, vendors, centers of influence…
All told, you have thousands of people connected to your wealth management business in some way. And they need to hear from you.
Clients who don’t hear from their advisor regularly look elsewhere for advice. They turn to social media platforms, other advisors, and sometimes even their Uncle Joe.
It doesn’t matter how great that seminar you gave was. If you don’t follow up with regular messages, and the occasional phone call, your potential clients quickly forget who you are and why they were interested in the first place.
But because you have so many people to stay in front of, and because there are only so many hours in a day, how can you handle it all?
The answer is – you guessed it! – you must have a content marketing strategy that keeps you in front of them.
Without a good contact strategy, that include the all-important Monthly Drip, you will overlook key groups. You will miss opportunities. You will inadvertently ignore important clients and prospects. You will fail to build any brand awareness within the minds of your vital target audience. And most importantly, you will not create the trust needed for prospects to take the next step.
Create Real Client Retention with Your Contact Strategy
Bill introduced the basic steps of the Client Retention Formula in 1989. He based the steps in the formula on a survey in the Wall Street Journal®. It was a survey of investors who had left their advisor.
There were three principal reasons for leaving cited:
- Bad investment advice.
- Bad or no service.
- Little or no communication.
The impetus behind the formula’s creation was this thought: “If these really are the reasons people leave their advisor, and if we handle those, then that solves the problem of client retention.”
And so what we now call the “Client Relationship Retention Formula” was born.
About two years later, we got surprise confirmations that he was right. The surprise came from advisors who had changed firms, arguably the hottest crucible financial services industry creates.
We had many conversations that went like this: “Bill, something’s happened. Five years ago I changed firms. It took six months and was awful. It was like getting poked through a keyhole. But two months ago, I changed again. It’s mostly done. 90% of my clients transferred and I got 100% of those I really wanted.”
Let me introduce you to one of our long-time clients. We’ll call him Glen.
Here is what Glen’s Success Coach had to say about his firm change:
“Glen moved from one Broker Dealer to another on January 18th. In the last 4 weeks he’s brought over about $85 MM of the $120 MM in AUM that he wanted to bring over. He’s at approximately a 71% conversion rate after only 4 weeks. Anyone who has been involved in a B/D change before knows that this is a great success!
He credits this success VERY heavily to working with us for the past many years. He said the Monthly Drip messages, calls, and cheesy birthday letters work so well that it’s made this move much easier. He said that we can tell other advisors: ‘if you’re ever thinking about moving, you better be with BGM!’
Thanks for all of your help with Glen’s transition, Bill. He really appreciates it!”
71% AUM moved in a month is great. 90% in 2 months is the target. I would fully expect Glen to be right on the money.
So Why Was It Different?
After getting a few of these types of successes, we began asking the following questions:
- Are you sending your birthday letters? (Not cards! LETTERS! In the mail. Hand addressed, with a gorgeous stamp.)
- Are you doing regular outreach to your client base through Personal Contact Calls?
- Are you regularly doing your Monthly Drip?
- Sending lots of etiquette letters?
- Client appreciation events?
The usual answers: yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.
Is it still working? Like the sun rises in the east, and sets in the west, this contact strategy can preserve what you have worked so hard to create.
If you did not answer YES to the above questions, then you are making a mistake in your marketing that will cost you down the line.
Fortunately, you don’t have to create your own communication plan. You can use ours, which has been tried, tested, updated, and successfully implemented by thousands of advisors over the past 45 years.
What Is a “Good” Monthly Drip?
A Monthly Drip is the foundation for our Client Retention Formula. Our most successful financial advisors use it as a means to create new business.
But your Monthly Drip creates more than client retention. It’s a powerful tool for lead generation.
Within six months of launching Monthly Drip, you will note an uptick in unsolicited referrals. Clients will appear at your networking events with friends in tow. Dead assets will come to life. New AUM will appear from clients. In-person meetings will experience a renaissance.
Monthly Drip is also a branding tool. Properly scheduled, your Monthly Drip letters help you build and maintain three critical brands.
1) Expert financial advisor.
2) Caring, trustworthy, well-mannered individual.
3) Good citizen.
In time, these brands coalesce in your clients’ minds into the one brand that most protects your business—that of Trusted Advisor. People only need one trusted advisor per category. They have one dentist, one primary care doctor, and one CPA or Enrolled Agent to prepare their taxes. They only need one trusted advisor to ensure they are properly invested.
Talk about a best practice! Monthly Drip is a critical tool in achieving trusted advisor status.
To be an effective prospecting strategy, a good monthly drip must have a mix of four categories of communication.
Educational letters are exactly what they sound like—they educate the reader on a specific financial topic. While there may be a call to action at the end, these types of letters should not be heavy on solicitations. Educational letters are usually suitable for both clients and prospects. Education-Investing-5 Investment Tips for Women is a good example.
Concept letters, on the other hand, are all about getting the reader to take action on something. For example, one of our most popular Concept letters is to prompt the reader to take action on their IRA accounts. Concept letters often do contain some educational content, but it’s mainly to inform the reader about the benefits of whatever concept you are trying to promote. These letters can be suitable for clients, but are most often used with prospects.
Pre-Retirement letters are for our . Each letter centers on a specific issue or topic related to preparing for retirement. Check out our for an example.
“Wilson” letters are for your social connections and business contacts, and all the people it would be inappropriate to solicit, but with whom you would like to do business. Years ago, we had a client who built a multi-million dollar business by sending only feel-good letters. His name was Dick Wilson. Many of his letters are in our content library. He started his campaign with a target audience of 30 people. These were all people he wanted to do business with, but couldn’t solicit because it would break the social taboo. So, he added them to a mailing list and sent them “feel good” letters that had nothing to do with financial services. In fact, the only connection to his business was the fact that it was sent on his letterhead.
Once a year, he called the people on this list and asked if they would like to remain on the list. It was a wildly successful version of our Monthly Drip campaign. So successful that today, just last year, one of our clients brought in $99M in new assets, just by sending out these types of letters.
These are the categories of messages you should have in your mix of Monthly Drip content.
Hopefully, you use good data management practices so these marketing efforts are maximized to their full potential.
And while you can send them out as emails, we recommend you send them as direct mail through the postal service.
Every message you send should be written in simple language. We recommend that you target a Readability Score of 8th Grade. The reason for this is simple. Many of your new prospects are not going to be university professors. Writing at a college level is not going to make you look smarter. It is going to make fewer people read what you write.
So, keep your sentences short, and your syllables simple. And send out your monthly drip every month without fail. And a few months from now, you’ll find that your business is expanding.
If you’d like to find out more about how you can leverage our decades of experience with your email marketing, your direct mail efforts, or any other prospecting strategies for financial advisors, then feel free to reach out. We’d love to see how we can help you!
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