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Ten Ways Financial Professionals Are Marketing Smarter
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Imagine running a prosperous financial practice that consistently attracts high-quality clients. You may feel marketing is a "necessary evil" that takes time away from achieving your primary goals and interacting with customers; however, marketing is actually the key to building your business with clients you truly enjoy serving. Moreover, these ideal clients are excited to be working with you, too.

Are you making marketing more difficult than it needs to be?

Marketing and its related activities (networking, emailing, public relations, etc.) are easier and more profitable than cold calling; plus, you’ll have to do less as you emerge as an expert in your financial field. So, just how DO you “market smarter”? Here are ten ways to simplify and enjoy your marketing efforts.

Tip #1 - Create a niche and ideal client profile.
Don’t even bother printing business cards until you choose a niche of clients. Example niches are: divorced women, Generation Xers, and certain professions. Target your marketing to your niche. You will save money and attract more of your ideal clients. The narrower your niche is, the easier you will attract new clients. You may be afraid to discourage other business, but your expert status will attract people outside your niche, too. Then you get to choose whether they become clients. To decide on a niche, take an inventory of your current clients. Do your favorite clients have anything in common? Are you particularly skillful interacting with certain clients? Are you passionate about helping a certain segment of the population? Consider looking at your own interests and aptitudes to settle on a niche you’d be happy serving on a daily basis. But if your ideal clients are outside your area of knowledge, immerse yourself in their profession and become known as the “go to person” in that niche.

Tip #2 - Practice a targeted elevator speech (also called an elevator pitch).
Practice and use the same elevator speech, which includes your name, company name, your ideal clients, and what you do for them. This goes back to attracting ideal clients. Everyone you meet should clearly know your niche and what you provide to it. This also helps your referral partners (professionals in a non-competing business with the same ideal clients) easily identify a good lead for you.

Tip #3 - Attend events and speak in your community.
Check out your Chamber of Commerce, weekly networking groups, private events, and events put on by economic development corporations. Reference your local business journal to learn more about events in your neighborhood. Speak to groups and associations that consist of your ideal clients and ask them to sign up for your newsletter or ezine. This is the beginning of your marketing funnel. Even if they didn’t ask for an appointment at your speaking event, your subscribers will get to know you and could become future clients. Don’t speak for free; negotiate a fee or some other trade “in kind”. Otherwise, the only folks you’ll attract are freebie seekers—and who wants them? Note: Your newsletter or ezine should always comply with current rules and regulations governing advertising. You must always provide the proper disclosures. See: Advisor Newsletters: Compliance-wise, all news may not be fit to print.

Tip #4 - Invent a follow up process.
Paper or electronic or both, create some sort of process that helps you follow up with prospects you’ve met at an event you’ve spoken at or visited. Making a phone call, sending a helpful article, or extending an invitation to coffee are all ways to further your initial conversation and develop a relationship with your new contact.

Tip #5 - Create a friggin’ plan.
You do it for your clients. You spend many hours planning, monitoring, and tweaking their financial and life plans. Are you doing the same for your own business--and life? Before you say you don’t have the time, think about it this way: it’s only two or three days out of 365. Luckily, you can complete your plan and other documentation in two or three days during a slow time of the year (if you set your mind to it) or over a weekend, like my clients do. Your plan guides your decision-making all year long because it contains the priorities that will bring you the most business growth. Opportunities that don't support your plan can be safely passed over, saving you much time and hand wringing. Find a process that works best for you, monitor it, and tweak it during the year. Updating your plan the following year will take even less time, so get the process started. Include a clear vision, measurable goals, strategies that stretch you, and an action plan in MS Excel, a project management or enterprise system. Be a planning role model for your business: share with your team.

Tip #6 - Set an intention (always).
Before you attend any event, set an intention and challenge yourself to reach it. Maybe you want to meet two people and invite them for coffee. Maybe you’re looking to meet a web designer for a client or contact. Remember, you never start a networking conversation talking about your company. Instead, learn about your new contact. The more you learn about their company, the more you can help them in the long run. It's always about the prospective customer, not about you. Don’t give out your business cards like they’re candy. Set yourself apart by not throwing your card in everyone’s face. When people ask for your card, you’ll know you’ve genuinely connected with them.

Tip #7 - Market and monitor consistently.
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Use the same words (like your elevator speech) and test them. If the words aren't working to attract your ideal client, change them. If a marketing strategy is working, don’t switch to a new strategy. Instead, look for ten ways to use the strategy that’s working! Keep track of what works best and do more of it. Creating a spreadsheet in MS Excel is a great tracking tool. Also, get in the habit of filling out a “lessons learned” form after each marketing initiative. It serves as a guide for future planning.

Tip #8 - Develop strategic alliances and referral partners.
Once you’ve developed your ideal client profile, network to find other professionals who have also chosen this niche. You can then combine marketing efforts, offer informative workshops together, and generally refer each other. Nurturing strategic alliances expands your “sales force” and exponentially increases the reach of your marketing message.

Tip #9 - Write articles.
You can write a short article of tips (like this one) and over time, turn them into a book or ebook. Writing articles is easier than you think. I know, because I didn't always LOVE to write. Then in 2000, a marketing guru called me an "article marketing pioneer". Egads! I’m more of an idea and solutions writer. I bet you can write tips and articles that will be picked up in a variety of financial magazines and newspapers, too. If you’re not a “born” writer, hire an editor (like I do) or ghostwriter to write the articles for you. Whether you’re writing or hiring someone, make sure your marketing materials follow all applicable compliance regulations.

Tip #10 - Be “social”.
Social networking on sites like Facebook or LinkedIn, even when used under tight compliance regulations, can give your business an edge over your competitors. The key to effective—and legal—use of social media is to stay current with the regulations and be willing to get involved with your company’s social media efforts. As each new development unfolds, you’ll be poised to apply and tweak your social media strategy. It won’t take long for potential clients to notice your efforts—or for the competition to follow your lead. See my full article, Top 10 Tips for the ‘Social’ Financial Professional: Creating Your LinkedIn® Profile, for advice on using LinkedIn. That, too, is easier than you think! Also see: Why compliance experts are apt to dislike Facebook for more information.

© 2011 Maria Marsala. As an unstoppable business strategist and former Wall Street trader, Maria Marsala specializes in helping financial professionals increase their productivity and production. For 20 years on The Street, she helped RRs and advisors sell more bonds and secure loyal clients. Today, she helps them attract higher-quality clients and grow their businesses to serve their lives – not the other way around. Uncover the areas of your business screaming for your immediate attention and those that deserve a big hurrah! Request Maria’s Empire Builder Kit (free) at http://www.ElevatingYourBusiness.com



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About the Author

Maria Marsala, Elevating Your Business
Poulsbo, WA 98370
360-271-8418

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