As marketers, advisors often view the world through a narrow lens–whether a sales technique is effective or not. Although that’s an important consideration, equally crucial is whether the tactic is ethical. Unfortunately, too many advisors rush to adopt effective actions without considering their ethical implications. Here’s a case in point.
In a website posting, a senior market newbie requested feedback on a prospecting technique–sending marketing letters to the relatives of recently deceased people. (“Uh-oh,” I thought.) The agent had tried sending 100 letters to people mentioned in a newspaper obituary but didn’t get any responses. Given the time investment required, the agent was wondering whether anyone else had achieved success with such letters.
Why “uh-oh?” Because in this day and age, shouldn’t the impropriety of ambulance chasing be self-evident? We’ve all read about personal-injury attorneys trying to solicit clients at the scene of accidents. I believe most reasonable people view such behavior as morally repugnant. And bar associations often sanction attorneys who engage in this practice.
But the newbie was oblivious. He was 100 percent focused on marketing utility, not ethical practices. Even more shocking was the response of several of his peers. “You’re nuts with a capital N if you expect people to get a letter and call you from it,” counseled one agent, who then, equally oblivious, recommended adding a follow-up phone call.