Our firm recently held focus group dinners for some of our best clients, asking them how we’re doing and what they would appreciate us doing for them in the future. Many incredible insights were gained during these events, but one jumped out as most interesting to me. Our clients overwhelmingly believe we should grow our business and attract new clients like themselves through word of mouth. With almost fist-pounding-on-the-table collective passion, they declared that we need to focus on growing by word of mouth. They do not want us to host a radio show, or become TV stars. They want us to serve them at a high level and allow them to tell others about us.
That’s what we want too!
But wait, if that’s the case, if we both want the same thing, then why aren’t we all a bit better at it than we are? What’s stopping you, our favorite clients, from announcing from the mountaintops the ridiculously great value we provide to you and the sleep-filled nights gained through this trusting relationship? Shouldn’t we be receiving scores of calls from your friends, family, and co-workers who match our ideal client profile?
That’s when Jennie spoke up. She simply held up three fingers and said “Here are the three reasons why our friends aren’t responding to your message:
- They already have an advisor, or
- They are do-it-yourselfers, or
- They don’t feel like they have enough money yet to work with you”
It’s as simple as that. The reality is that all of our clients had other advisors before working with us. Since we exclusively serve people who are near or in-retirement, they all have had other relationships before hiring us as their retirement specialists. We have do-it-yourselfers as clients who recognized the sheer complexity and importance of retirement income planning, often after reading my book. And although some may not have the assets necessary to be fully prepared for retirement, we do not ask our clients to predict the amount of savings their friends have.
In other words, we have overcome all of those three objections many times and the resulting relationships are amazing. The key takeaway here is that we haven’t been properly equipping our best clients to recognize and respond to these concerns held by their friends. Our message failed to address those adequately and in clear language. As a result, our industry is keen on radio, seminars, and other mass-marketing tactics even though we wish we didn’t have to do them.
Here’s my suggestion to you, as advisor to advisor: consider the three objections above and write down a response to each of them. Next, consider how to build those responses into your marketing and communications with clients and prospective clients. By addressing the objections head-on, you stand a much greater chance of cutting through the clutter and beginning a value-based planning relationship while avoiding some of the confrontation that may have prevented trust from being built in the past.