Here’s the truth — you can be a brilliant salesperson, but if you don’t know how to be a successful marketer, you’re probably not going to get anywhere. As financial advisors, we need client relationships to embody three qualities for us to make a sale: they must know you, they must like you, and they must trust you. You develop these qualities through smart marketing. I use a variety of unique marketing strategies to show both current and potential clients I know who they are and what they need.

Create an experience

When a client walks into our office, they’re greeted with warm chocolate chip cookies. We offer them every day, without fail. We also provide cappuccinos and espressos, going beyond the normal office fare to create an environment that is more welcoming than a run-of-the-mill financial practice.

I don’t put any plaques on my office walls, either. I’m less concerned about accolades from the financial industry than I am about the personal impact I’ve had on my clients. Because of this, I’ve also done away with the traditional coffee table clutter of financial publications and newspapers, and instead, I have a book filled with thank you notes from satisfied clients. When prospective clients come in, they can see I have about 75 clients who trust me, believe in me and are happy to do business with me. This way, I’ve marketed myself as a trustworthy advisor to those who matter — my clients.

Pictures of my family and our vacations can be found in not just my office, but in conference rooms as well. This encourages the visitor to ask questions and engage in conversation on a personal level. Clients will trust an advisor whose family is at the forefront because they are often seeking our help in protecting their own families.

More than a sale

We take copious amounts of notes, so we know even the minute details clients assume you will forget. For instance, my assistant greets our clients with their drink of choice; be it a coffee with two creams and one sugar, or water with lots of ice. We know what our clients like.

Remembering clients’ birthdays is another small but meaningful gesture. In addition to sending a birthday card, I make a personal call to the client in the morning to wish him or her a very happy and special birthday. I make it a priority to ensure my clients our relationship is more than just a sale to me. As a trusted financial advisor, I’m eager to engage my clients on a personal level.

Sales and marketing go hand-in-hand, but it is crucial for advisors to remember that, in order to be successful, you can’t focus solely on being good at sales. You need to create and use a set of effective personal marketing tools to position yourself above the competition and make you stand out as a preferred advisor. If you don’t build a strong reputation through smart marketing, your sales skills will be virtually useless because there won’t be any clients willing to listen to your pitch.

Marc A. Silverman, CLU, CFP, began his financial planning career in 1983 and formed Silverman Financial in 1989. He chose this career because he enjoys meeting people and helping them in achieving their financial goals. A key to his success is the exceptional service he and his staff provide to clients. He has a diversified client base including public corporations, closely held businesses, individuals, trusts and estates. His motto is, “promise a lot and deliver more.”

Marc has an M.B.A. from the University of Miami and is the past president of the University of Miami Alumni Board School of Business. He is a past president and board member of the Miami Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals and a past member of the Board of Shaare Zedek Medical Center and the Florida Bar Grievance Committee. He is a past chair of the MDRT Top of the Table and has served on the MDRT Advisory Board.

Marc has addressed audiences in the United States, Canada, South Korea, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Singapore, Taipei and Australia. He lives in Miami with his wife, Patti, and daughter, Cara. He enjoys playing golf, maintaining his saltwater aquarium and traveling.

For more marketing advice, see:

Postscript: Marketing: For the Fun of It

Marketing 101

Branding vs. Timing: Maximize Your Marketing Efficiency