Here’s a question we get almost every day from advisors:
“Why are my marketing dollars not generating better results?”
Can you relate? If you’re like most advisors, you spend thousands of dollars on marketing campaigns, generate a handful of leads and are left scratching your head and wondering what went wrong.
It’s frustrating not getting the results you’re looking for, or worse yet the results you NEED. We’ve seen it ourselves many times, and in this post I want to shed some light on how and why this happens.
Before I do that, though, let’s set this much to rest: The solution to your marketing challenges is NOT to simply spend more money on what’s not working. While it seems many in our industry would encourage you to do so, that only compounds the problem, and the stress. Instead, understand the pyramid of engagement and you’ll quickly realize why your results, or lack of results, are happening and more importantly, what to do about it.
The pyramid of engagement
Every prospect in your market falls somewhere on the pyramid of engagement. We use this analogy to visualize the buying process. As they move through the natural buying process, prospective clients move closer and closer to the top of the pyramid where they ultimately take action.
To be honest, most prospects in your market live at the bottom of the pyramid. They’re completely unaware that they even have a need for the product or service you offer.
One level up from the bottom, prospects begin to become aware of their need, and begin to think that maybe they should look into it.
Next they move into the information-gathering phase of the pyramid. Today, armed with their smart devices, most people do their research online — yet many of the advisors we work with tell us their first effort to engage someone in the buying process is to try to get them to attend a seminar or come into their office. When a prospect is in the research phase, they’re often not ready for that step yet, and thus most advisors’ marketing campaign dollars are wasted on prospects not ready to make a commitment.
Rather, after doing their own research, prospects are primed for the analysis and comparison phase of the pyramid. This is the stage where they begin to look at options for how to solve their problems and look to see who might be able to help them. Following analysis and comparison comes the interview and evaluation phase.
Have you ever had this happen?
A prospect comes in for a first appointment, and as they leave they say, “Well, this has been great. We have a lot of great information to think about now. We’re actually in the process of talking with a few different advisors, and will be in touch with you down the road should we decide to move forward.” As painful as it is, now you know that you’re hearing that because they are in the interview and evaluation phase of the buying process.
The pyramid of engagement represents a universal buying process. You could apply it to every product, every service and every company out there. Depending on the industry, prospects might ascend to the top of the pyramid quickly, over a day or two, or over weeks or even months.
When you’re helping clients manage and plan with their life savings, it’s typically a longer process. The good news is that when you’re aware of how the pyramid of engagement with your firm works, you can create a smarter way of doing business — one which will yield better results and give you a significant amount of your time back.
Old school vs. new school
Most advisors don’t know, or care, where prospects are in the buying process. Their goal is to force everyone to the top, convincing them to take action now by using clever closing and sales pressure techniques. In fact, we’ve probably all done this. Think of the sales culture we grew up in and the conversion tactics we were taught when we got into this industry.
Now obviously, if you’re still doing all of your follow up manually, you’re going to feel the pressure to close hard and fast. Otherwise, you risk not closing enough business today to stay in business tomorrow. And obviously you can’t afford to starve while waiting for people to get ready to buy, and you for sure don’t have the time to manually nurture every lead you generate for months on end.
But the truth is, in the 21st century, there’s no reason to be following up manually. We need to communicate with prospects based on where they are in the buying process and by leveraging the mediums they prefer.