Though you might be fed up with hearing the slogan “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance,” you have to appreciate its effectiveness: Geico has used that elevator pitch for about 25 years.
Indeed, being exposed to it over and over again is, if you will, the method behind the madness.
Likewise, a financial advisor needs an elevator pitch that succinctly sums up their expertise and how they help clients. And they should be able to convey that pitch in a single sentence: a “power phrase.”
Those that fail to generate one will “get passed over for the person who can,” argues Leibel Sternbach, chief technology officer of Fusion Capital Management and founder of Yields4U.com, a financial advisory focused on retirement planning, in an interview with ThinkAdvisor.
An investment advisor representative at Fusion, Sternbach is the author of two new books, “Authenticity: Dominate the Market by Being Yourself” (April 2021) and “Living With Financial Anxiety” (May 2021), both published by Primedia E-launch.
The elevator pitch, the certified National Social Security Advisor says in the interview, should inform all messages and advertising, especially retargeting ads. These follow folks around online, showing up nearly everywhere after they’ve clicked on a particular product or service.
“If you’re not doing [retargeting ads], your competition certainly is, and they’re the ones your prospects will see thousands of times.
“[When they’re ready to commit], chances are they’re going to go with the person who they’ve seen most often,” says Sternbach, who has coached more than 400 advisors.
The chartered financial consultant also explains how cognitive dissonance — which causes confusion — kills sales and how writing a blog is the first step to developing an emotional relationship with prospects.
Consistency and repetition are the name of the game for reaching and attracting target prospects, and a concise elevator pitch is at the heart of that strategy, says Sternbach, who is an accredited portfolio management advisor.
Two marketing firms for advisors that he founded, Radical Printing and Radical Promoting, were acquired by Fusion, an RIA, in 2017.
ThinkAdvisor recently interviewed Sternbach, an enrolled agent with the IRS, who was on the phone from his Melville, New York, base.
He highlighted the importance of putting time and energy into only social media that attract the advisor’s target demographic.
That likely leaves Twitter out of the mix, according to Sternbach: “I have yet to meet an advisor who has found real success on Twitter,” he says.
Here are excerpts of our conversation:
THINKADVISOR: It’s essential for financial advisors to have a 30- to 60-second elevator pitch, you write. Why do FAs need that?
LEIBEL STERNBACH: To communicate what they do, how they can help people and why they’re the expert at solving a particular problem. If you can’t do that in a quick, succinct manner, you’re going to get passed over for the person who can.
The more your prospects know with absolute clarity how you can help them, the more successful you’ll be.
When would an FA use the pitch?
It informs everything. It translates into their messaging and branding. Use it to inform all marketing, whether it’s a Facebook ad, a website banner ad or a mailer inviting people to, say, a Social Security event.
If you don’t have your elevator pitch down, nothing will be in line.
Should it be something clever like an advertising headline rather than straightforward information?
You need to differentiate between a marketing ploy versus “This is what we do,” which is your recurring branding message.
For instance, Geico uses “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.” What they do and the value they provide is extremely clear. They may keep coming up with clever new marketing ploys, but the message at the end of the ad is always “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.”
You write about “power phrases.” What are they?
It’s your elevator pitch condensed into a single sentence [or catchphrase] 30 to 60 seconds long. It’s the punchline to your blog post, how you end your emails, and in every online ad you do.
You should have two or three power phrases — the second one telling something almost as important as the first but not as critical.
It’s for people who have already been in your [marketing] funnel and are getting to know you.
You rotate a third phrase throughout your messaging. This repetition is the way you communicate to prospects: Here’s what you do and how you help people. It’s where you show what your value is.
What’s an example of a good financial advisor power phrase?
We had a client whose five sons worked in his [family] business as advisors; his wife was the office manager.
So he wanted his clients to know what differentiated him from the competition was that “when you walk into our office, you’re family and you’re working with family.” That’s a very powerful message.
You don’t want to say, “We provide the best investment service.” No one really cares [about hearing that], but they do really care about being taken care of and being part of that family.
“Cognitive dissonance is the killer of sales,” you say. How do you avoid that problem?
Cognitive dissonance is when your mind is presented with two conflicting ideas that cannot be true at the same time. It leads to [prospects] not making a decision.
It comes up when advisors say things that are incongruent. For example, you told the prospect you’re an expert on Social Security, but when they came in, all you’re taking about is investments.
They think: “Is he a Social Security expert, or an investment guy?” You need to be extremely clear and consistent.
Being on Facebook is “a must for any business nowadays,” you write. How come?