The Holy Grail of Financial Marketing

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Professionals in financial sales often make the sales part harder than it need be.  I have seen the following occurrence many times.  You may recognize it:

Finally, the Holy Grail

holy grailA producer tries a new system of generating business.  Everything works well and they capture a few easy and profitable sales.  They think that they have found the holy grail so they do more of the same, but soon the results stop coming.  So they abandon that holy grail and move on in search of the next holy grail.  These producers move from product to product, system to system, broker dealer to broker dealer, etc.  They are always looking for the one activity that will turn them into a large producer.

This model of searching for the next greatest thing is the road to permanently low production or inconsistent flash-in-the–pan results.

Take a lesson from marriage relationships.  If you want a marriage that works, you need to stop dating.  You make a commitment to one person. You work out the kinks, get professional counseling if you need it, do some soul searching but you commit to making the marriage work.  You do not change spouses every year or two like you do your business activity.   If you treated your business with the same commitment, you’d be rich and retired by now.

How to Get Committed

You say you’ll get committed as soon as you find a system that’s worth getting committed to?  You’ve got it backwards.  The system that works is the one you commit to.

Let’s say you start doing seminars.  The attendance is great at first and you open a lot of new accounts and gather new clients.  But then the attendance starts falling, appointments drop off and it’s costing you the same amount to hold the seminars for reduced results.  Right at this point when you are ready to chuck the system, stop!

There is nothing wrong with the system!  Rather, there are variables affecting your results that you do not yet understand or identify.  Your job at this point is not to chuck the system and start your searching, but to dig in your heals and commit to finding the key variables which cause the best results.

False Simplicity of Cause and Effect

I think there’s “simplistic thinking disease” we catch from being in the financial services business.  The “gurus” reduce everything to a few simplistic variables such as rising interest rates, a falling dollar or the employment report.   So we begin thinking that there are only a few variables that matter with any system that we select for generating business.  We get the “simplistic thinking disease” and stop trying to figure out what causes our results.

We adopt this simplistic thinking when in reality, there are thousands of variables that affect the market.  Similarly, there can be thousands of variables that can affect any business approach you take.  The key is to find the “key success factors” and control these to maximize your outcomes.

Continual Experiments Lead to Perfection

With seminars, you can experiment with several factors:

  • Change the day
  • Change the time of day
  • Change the location
  • Invite people from different zip codes or with different demographic criteria
  • Change the seminar title
  • Add a picture to your invitation
  • Remove the return address from the envelope

There are dozens of factors you could change.  Use your intuition and your gut to select the key factors you should change first and make only one change.  You can only carry on a scientific experiment and measure the results of changing a factor if you change one factor at a time.  This is the type of tenacious research that had Edison invent the light bulb or is responsible for the development of any medication you can buy.  Trial and error based on educated guesses.  Those who are most committed get the extraordinary results.

The process is never done.  I did seminars for 20 years and was always experimenting.  These seminars have been very profitable during my career, but I can always achieve better results.

I once had a teacher who told me, “Don’t expect to get heat from the fireplace until you put the wood in.”  Great results follow from committed action, not from a continual search for the next idea you hope works better.

Identify the last approach you employed that initially gave good results and then you stopped using the system.  Return to it, commit to it and master it.

 

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