Every senior advisory practice needs to be in a constant state of forward motion. It needs to consistently grow through a regular stream of promising prospects, new products and services, state-of-the-art technology and access to the latest research.
Promising marketing tactics can come from a variety of sources and take many shapes. There are professional services offering to regularly fill your inbox with promising leads. Others offer the latest and greatest in technology. Yet others promise illuminating research that will arm you with enough knowledge to destroy any previous sales record. Those not wishing to venture into new territory can rely on various grassroots marketing efforts, such as asking clients and associates for referrals, working the local Chamber of Commerce and even cold calling. But a scattershot effort will generally bring scattershot results.
How do other successful senior advisors stay ahead of the pack and consistently meet higher goals for themselves year after year? According to those interviewed here, variety is the answer. What attracted Client A may not work for Client B or C. Or the technique that created a steady flow of appointments when the bull market was raging may not be as effective in the middle of a recession. Despite the obstacles and challenges, learning how to get an edge on the competition by consistent marketing will help your practice to steadily move forward.
Take the Initiative
“Always schedule annual client reviews and have an agenda prepared ahead of time,” counsels John Graziano, PFP and CPA with Future Financial Planners, Inc., in Bayonne, N.J. Graziano advises senior planners looking to grow their businesses to regularly utilize a “sales process to go through with every client during the initial meeting/client interview.” Another tip from Graziano: “With the client’s permission, use their tax returns from the last two years to look for sales opportunities. If the client has a lot of taxable interest, dividends and capital gains, calculate if deferring this income would reduce the taxable portion of their Social Security and decrease or eliminate their required estimated tax payments. While the client is not excited about tax deferral they do get excited about reducing their tax bill.”
Mark Snyder, ChFC, has a one-word answer for the advisor seeking marketing’s Holy Grail. “Listen,” says the perennial top producer, with 30-plus years of experience. “After meeting with a steady stream of similar clients, say recently retired seniors, themes or trends will emerge form the conversations. These trends are opportunities and should be acted upon. Another way to substantiate client claims is to watch the media.”
What Snyder means is if he notices from client meetings and conversations that a particular issue is consistently emerging such as the future strength of Social Security or the high price of assisted-living facilities, he’ll present solutions addressing these concerns. And once he’s on to a promising solution, Snyder delivers an orchestrated marketing campaign that frequently encompasses local print ads, a custom newsletter, a media-relations campaign, client events and nearly anything else that will put him in front of clients and prospects as their solution provider.