Recently, I was at a meeting of insurance agents. The astute leader asked the audience this question, “Who has the lowest prices?” All hands went up. Then he queried, “Who delivers great service?” Again, all hands went up. Last he posed the question, “Who offers expert advice?” And, no surprise, all in attendance raised their hands.
The lesson here is obvious: If every agent in a large conference hall thinks he has (1) the lowest prices, (2) great service, and (3) gives expert advice and advertises that position, then all have become a commodity. Choose one. Choose another. There is no difference.
I’d bet my bottom dollar that the vast majority of agents and advisors all over the country advertise the same basic points as their competitors. How do I know? Inspection. Open up the yellow pages, or the electronic version of that, and you’ll see for yourself.
Come on, folks! If all are the same then all are an equally valid choice. How are consumers to decide from whom to buy, given so many choices?
You cannot generate plentiful leads by proving that you are the same as everyone else. Your ads will likely be ignored; if you do get calls, it will be an unrepeatable coincidence. In order to create a consistent volume of highly qualified prospects, it takes real marketing proficiency. You can’t do it by simply following the pack.
How people buy
Granted, the questions I listed (above) were presented at a meeting of property and casualty agents, whose product is more easily commoditized than others. You could protest and say, “That doesn’t apply to my practice because I’m a ______” (fill in the blank: retirement planner, Medigap agent, investment advisor, life agent, etc).
Don’t fool yourself!
A Medigap or health insurance premium will not differ based on the agent. A Genworth or New York Life policy will cost the same regardless of the source. An Allstate policy is an Allstate policy. Same thing applies to investment advisors; if there is no difference between advisors then why not just compare fees and go with the cheapest guy or gal? A mutual fund purchased from two different representatives is still the same product.
This problem of commoditization applies to every kind of agent and advisor. In fact, it applies to every business in every country in the world. That’s a sweeping statement, I realize. But truth is truth.
So, why should a prospective client do business with you instead of the producer a mile down the road? There has to be a compelling reason to choose your services. People buy based on differences, not similarities.
Are you promoting the difference between you and every other choice your ideal prospect has? No? Then you’ve volunteered yourself as an interchangeable part in the undifferentiated mass of advisors vying for the prospects’ attention and dollars.
Wealth attraction principle
There is a wealth attraction principle that you should apply. I learned it from Dan Kennedy and he credits Earl Nightingale. Paraphrased, it is, “Find out what everyone else is doing and do the opposite.”