By John Pojeta
Our work in appointment setting means that we make thousands of calls per day for advisors with a range of specialties working in every market in the United States. We often identify trends and insights that might be invisible to individual advisors.
For example, we can see the return on investment on marketing activities that are traditionally difficult to measure.
When one of our sales associates mentioned that appointments came more rapidly for a particular batch of clients, we wanted to know more. She said that when she made a cold call and began the engagement process, prospects would often jump in with, “Oh, yeah, I’ve heard of you.” You, in this case, is the advisor we were calling on behalf of.
When the prospects were familiar with the advisor, many of the walls we usually have to break down to set the first appointment were either easier to tear down or missing completely. The advisor’s reputation created a powerful baseline level of trust and credibility. As a result, prospects were less skeptical, and they skipped over the basic questions that often come with taking a call from an unknown business.
We dug deeper into what these advisors were doing that others were not. Here is what we found: They had built a brand for themselves, and the momentum of their reputation was powerful enough for us to notice when advisors had it and when they didn’t.
Advisors with impactful reputations were often:
- Devoting considerable time and energy to bettering their communities. They serve on nonprofit boards, donate money and actively volunteer their time (often as a firm).
- Hosting eye-catching events. They lean into memorable, high-end experiences that get people talking, such as whiskey and cigar gatherings or exclusive white glove dinners.
- Investing in a range of marketing to cast a wide net. Adopting a highway or posting weekly LinkedIn videos might not directly generate prospects, but the awareness it builds matters.
- Staying in front of prospects and clients. They make it a point to re-engage everyone they meet in meaningful ways. Sometimes that’s an email. Sometimes that’s a call. Regardless of the vehicle, they stay active, and that keeps them top-of-mind.
When I say that the ROI on these sorts of behaviors are often invisible, I mean that you will likely struggle to directly attribute a business result to any one of these best practices. If one of your clients attends a whiskey-tasting event and shares on Instagram the photos of the custom engraved glasses you handed out, their friends and colleagues aren’t likely to bring that up when you call. That does not make the impression you and your firm left any less meaningful, but it does make it difficult for you to justify where you spend your time and money.
From our perspective, the differences in marketing activities are stark. When advisors are not taking a well-rounded, multi-faceted approach to engaging their target audiences, prospecting becomes much more difficult. They meet with fewer opportunities. Their sales conversations are more challenging and come with longer sales cycles. And they do not see consistent year-over-year growth.
You should still be smart with your marketing investments and be careful about what dollars are truly worthwhile, but you also should be open-minded and creative about how you can engage your target audiences. When you do something different, prospects notice. More important, they remember.
John Pojeta is the vice president of business development at The PT Services Group. He previously owned and operated an Ameriprise Financial Services franchise for 16 years. John may be contacted at email@example.com.
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