We’re (Only) Human: Why Don’t Advisors Market That Way

May 18, 2017


A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had never listened to a podcast. I felt I didn’t have the time and I was too easily distractible to maintain focus while driving or working around the house. Well, I am not going to say I am a convert yet, but I have listened to a few more (and liked them) – I even just participated in two as a guest (more about that in a second).

Listening to yourself can be difficult, believe me, but what struck me is that advisors who use tools like this will have content that lives forever. They show personality and create an experience for your prospects. The prospect gets to know you better than they ever could by reading a brochure.

Listen up

At a recent SEI meeting of advisors, Kirk Lowe of Taticbrand and Matt Halloran of Top Advisor Coaching had a distinctive kiosk, complete with microphones and recording equipment. They were discussing branding and professional marketing with advisors, but also ways to authenticate the brands. To me, being authentic is one of the biggest challenges for advisors, as I often hear one thing from advisors but observe another. Things like:

  • “We are a planning-focused firm,” but the messaging on their website is market/investment focused
  • “We specialize in people like you,” but they send a very generic, prepackaged newsletter that has broad, general articles
  • “We get to know our clients,” but their office is filled with sales awards from their BD or favorite investment product companies.

Kirk and Matt’s message was that while having a brand is important, being the brand proves it. They proved their point right by setting up shop and showing advisors how to prove their brand, using me as one of their guinea pigs.

Easier than you’d think

Having never done anything like this before, I wasn’t quite ready for the “3, 2, 1, Go!” of speaking on a podcast. I’ve been on camera many times and couldn’t begin to count the thousands of presentations in front of advisors and clients over the years, but this was new. And anything new is uncomfortable.

But this doesn’t have to be difficult (and it wasn’t). Kirk read two of my more recent blog posts What is Your Marketing Mindset and 4 Ways to Create Positive Client Experiences (and Get More Referrals) and created a mind map of the major points. As Matt and I discussed the topic, we both had notes in front of us, so we could keep our thoughts in order and follow the progression of the original post. While a bit rocky in the beginning, it turned into a conversation by the end. You can listen to and download it here.

It was much easier the second time around. For this podcast, they wanted to really show how to leverage content by discussing the “4 Ways” blog post. The original post and podcast discussed how creating an engaging client experience can lead to more referrals (this was expanded upon in a webinar that I did on April 24). The webinar contained additional content (the Engaged Client toolkit) that attendees could download to reinforce the message – talk about validation!

We’re (only) human: Why don’t advisors market that way Click To Tweet

Why it’s important

10 years ago, if I was going to refer you (as my advisor) to a friend or family member, I would give your name out and hope they’d call you. Most likely, based on the need or quality of the referral, the referee would call you and you would begin the “courtship” ritual. Today, we are in a totally different world.

If I refer you to my friend or family member, they are going to:

  • Google you
  • Look at your website, social media profiles, and possibly even look at broker check
  • Look for clues about your business and what would be like to work with you

My referral is a start, but only as a source of the name, not as a definitive solution to their problem. In today’s world, you need to prove your brand every day and that is why blogging, podcasting and other forms of social are almost mandatory for a growing business. They want to “get to know you” before they walk in the door.

Which brings me to your content

When I discuss blogging and social media (and I guess I have to now add podcasts), the main pushback I hear is that advisors don’t know what to say or write. The content is all around you – it looks back at you in the mirror. Think about your brand, your clients, or some of the issues that people in your target market face. Maybe your brand and its associated content could look or sound like this:

  • “We are a planning focused firm,” so let’s discuss ideas for successful planning strategies for retirement or estate planning
  • “We specialize in people like you, who are in their 50s; tax conscious C-level executives who are charitably inclined,” so we want to share what a charitable trust looks like and the best uses of it
  • “We get to know our clients,” so we would like to describe our office and what you will see when you enter (hint, no sales awards)

The amazing (content) race

Last week, I participated in the annual 10-mile Broad Street Run here in Philadelphia. Near the finish, I saw a sign that said, “Pain today… but internet race results last forever.” I thought about that sign as I was speaking to advisors at the conference and as we were podcasting. Sure, it is a bit of a pain to create content for a blog or podcast, but the results on your website or social media will last forever.

You create layers of content that will build on one another. Authentic content is leverageable in many ways and tells your prospective client who you are and what you do. It also lets them know the real you – and that is exactly what they are looking for.

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John Anderson

John Anderson

John Anderson is the creator and lead author of Practically Speaking blog and Managing Director of Practice Management Solutions for the SEI Advisor Network.

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