In 12 months, the world has changed. If you don't make radical changes in the way you do business, you will experience professional death. Like the dinosaurs that got wiped out in months from a meteor striking earth, this economic meteor will also make you a dinosaur. Future posts (and posts on related blogs) will detail specific actions you can take to capitalize on this new world. For today, let's start with some general direct marketing concepts:
1. You cannot continue to do the same things you have done and have them work when the environment has changed
2. In order to know what is on your prospect's mind, you cannot guess. Most advisors THINK they know what's important to clients and potential clients, but they don't. You need to have a focus group with your clients (or prospects) and ask them. More specifics on this in a future post.
3. You must design your marketing, your communications, everything about your financial advisory practice around what's important to your clients/prospects. As an example, if you serve seniors, have your office on the first floor or make sure you're in an elevator building. Have your office in the suburbs where they live because retirees don't go downtown. Wear a suit because older people expect a certain degree of formality with business matters. Get the idea? Cater everything about your business to your customer.
4. If you are currently not using the Internet and email in a big way in your business, you're 75% of the way to dinosaur. You need to have a web site (more on how to use it), you need to be emailing your clients, you need to be sending prospects your email newsletter, and you need to be using pay per click advertising to draw new clients. You may ask how you learn about these things. Simple--everything I know about all of these things I learned on the INTERNET. No one will come to teach you. I just had an advisor today who registered for one of our web-based services and he emailed "my computer skills are marginal." What? That's like saying "my ability to speak is marginal." If you don't have the skills you need, then hire someone who does or learn them. The future is here.
5. The is an age of self learning. I often ask people to tell me the last book they read and they look at me with a blank stare. if you are not a reader, an Internet explorer, you are 90% to dinosaur. You simply won't keep up with your competition or the public. Once this group of seniors dies off and the baby boomers become the seniors, you are toast if you don't stay ahead of the curve with your knowledge. Baby boomers are smart, Internet savvy and you will need to immediately prove why they should do business with you.
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