Social Capital is the key to developing Client Advocates. It’s an asset Advisors already possess, but when left unused, it represents a significant opportunity loss.
The best way to understand Social Capital is by thinking about your relationships with your clients.
Your clients trust you with their financial assets. However, do they trust you enough to go far beyond referrals, to warmly and personally introduce you to their circle of friends and colleagues, people who are just like them?
That’s Social Capital, the outcome of the strong relationships you already have with most of your best clients.
So, how do you activate your Social Capital?
It’s driven by having a compelling marketing story (see post – The Bad News. Your Marketing Story Sucks!) that subtly addresses your clients’ worldview of Financial Advisors and the Financial Industry. (see Darth Vader post)
A compelling marketing story is what differentiates you and makes you remarkable. It’s what will move many of your qualified clients to become Client Introducers, advocates who will share your story with their qualified circle – sharing with them who you are, not telling them what you do.
Simple and Effective
When it’s right, you are a standout. When it isn’t, you’re invisible.
To create a great marketing story you must first understand that most people don’t fully trust the Financial Industry or Financial Advisors. (See our “People Don’t Trust You” post)
This is their worldview, their bias that focuses on bad experiences and bad news. This is what makes it extremely difficult for Financial Advisors to get prospects and clients to listen and open up.
Most Advisors fail to effectively address this bias. As a result, they fail to make solid, meaningful connections with their prospects and clients.
Successfully addressing this worldview begins when you craft and tell your marketing story.
A marketing story is very different from garden variety storytelling. It is told in an “other focused” way, a way that addresses what’s important to your prospects and your clients – not to you.
It’s not about your numbers, facts and figures. And it’s not telling them what you think they want to hear. That will just shut them down, they won’t listen.
The most important difference between a marketing story and simple storytelling is that a great marketing story is not designed to win business.
Instead, it’s intended to convey who you are, not just what you do. Not just some of the time, all the time. It effectively addresses biases and puts you in sync with your clients – and creates real opportunities for growth.
Creating and sharing a great marketing story is the foundation for meaningful business growth. It’s absolutely imperative that you get it right.
The concepts of permission, social capital, worldview, modern story development, and freely giving, when effectively addressed and framed in a way that is comfortable for an Advisor, create consistent increases in productivity and revenue, well beyond the norm.
The 5 Minute Call is a simple, comfortable phone call made to your quality best clients. They are the friendly, cooperative clients you would like to duplicate. On this call, these clients will agree to meet with you to discuss endorsing and personally introducing you to their quality friends and colleagues for a three-way meeting or a three-way phone call.
This 5 Minute Call has a huge impact on revenue and business growth …because the way you’re currently conducting business – freely giving your knowledge and your time – is framed in a new and effective way.
Clients and prospects will notice something that sets your service and you apart from the rest. It builds a construct for growth where clients will want to reciprocate and advocate for you.
It’s either because Financial Advisors don’t understand the worldview of the market or they don’t address it effectively. However, some Financial Advisor’s behavior does show that there is at least a subconscious awareness of this issue.
Case in point: I’ve conducted many workshops with Financial Advisors. I always began the workshop by introducing myself and what I do for a living. I ask each of the participants to stand and introduce themselves as if I were a prospect. They proceed to describe themselves with some very “creative” names for what they do for a living. “I’m a Wealth Enhancement Specialist”. “I’m an Innovative Financial Solutions Provider”. If you could have been a fly on the wall you would have seen and heard each Advisor, one by one, introduce themselves to the group, not one calling themselves a Financial Advisor. By the end of the introductions we were all chuckling. When I asked why – and this took some thoughtful searching – they all agreed that it was due to consumer “attitude”, as they called it.
This “attitude” is the worldview commonly shared by most of the public, a broad distrust of the industry at large. It’s not something you can change and we find that most Advisors don’t have a strategy to address and move beyond this barrier.
The key is to develop your marketing story. When you truly understand the way clients and prospects think and feel, you can create a marketing story that subtly and effectively addresses this worldview.
Creating this story will be different from anything you’ve ever done in the past and you may need to erase some muscle memory. Presenting facts and figures about your performance history doesn’t work. What does work is a passionate story that is about them, not about you. It’s the reason they will believe in you.
When you do this you’ll find your qualified clients will become your best “client advocates”, the most productive centers of influence a Financial Advisor can have.
I know we said your marketing story sucks… (SEE POST) But that doesn’t mean it can’t easily be great. And it must be great. Because a great remarkable marketing story is the foundation of a successful practice. It’s the key to developing a consistent stream of warm, qualified introductions.
Here are some of best-selling author Seth Godin’s thoughts about great stories. He is “the” story guru and one of our personal heroes. He writes about marketing and the way ideas spread. Ponder and we’ll go deeper next time.
“Great stories succeed because they are able to capture the imagination of large or important audiences.”
A great story is true. Not necessarily because it’s factual, but because it’s consistent and authentic. People are too good at sniffing out inconsistencies for a marketer to get away with a story that’s just slapped on.
Great stories make a promise. It’s either exceptional or it’s not worth listening to.
Great stories are trusted. Trust is the scarcest resource we’ve got left. No one trusts anyone. As a result, no marketer succeeds in telling a story unless he has earned the credibility to tell that story.
Great stories are subtle. Surprisingly, the fewer details a marketer spells out, the more powerful the story becomes. Talented marketers understand that allowing people to draw their own conclusions is far more effective than announcing the punch line.
Most of all, great stories agree with our listener’s worldview. The best stories don’t teach people anything new. Instead, the best stories agree with what the audience already believes and makes the members of the audience feel smart and secure when reminded how right they were in the first place.
A ‘referral’ is like a lead. It’s a name. It is typically bare, impersonal, and unqualified. Referrals rarely convert to clients – even more rarely, quality clients. Not just because of the lack of relationship with the referred but also because a cold situation feels like selling.
In contrast, a warm personal introduction from a best client is an endorsement wherein your client is explicitly standing behind the value, authenticity and character of the person being introduced… you. It’s an entirely different dynamic. A personal introduction grants you ease and entry. It is based on the established trusting relationship that not only already exists between you and your client but also your client and your client’s friend.
A personal introduction is at its inception a relationship – comfortable and easy – because you are endorsed and trusted.
Referrals don’t even come close to these introductions.
Client Centric Marketing
Simple and effective
It’s always been said that the best way to grow your financial advisory business is through client referrals. However, we all know that getting client referrals is no easy task.
Our research among Financial Advisors shows that activity – getting referrals on an ongoing basis – is, for the great majority, the number one business challenge. The fact is that most of us – unless we are truly gifted in this area – don’t have the ability to gracefully go from the sale to the referral. We’re afraid, we don’t want to be pushy, we don’t want to put off the client. And we’re just too worried about closing the business. Does this sound familiar?
So what’s the solution to this conundrum? It’s learning how to get warm, qualified introductions – the anthesis of referrals. A warm, qualified introduction is when one of your best clients – the kind of client you would love to duplicate – introduces you to one of their qualified close friends, family members or business associates. Someone like them. What makes the introduction truly warm is that it’s done with permission and inclusion.
Here’s the major difference:
Referrals come from a traditional sales based approach where the primary goal is transactional, to make the sale. You provide financial advice to close a sale, to make money and hopefully, to get a referral. But if you don’t get a referral, that sale won’t help increase your activity or future sales.
Warm, qualified introductions are the result of practicing a service based approach where the primary goal is… warm, qualified introductions. These introductions keep your pipeline consistently filled with qualified potential clients, successfully addressing the number one Financial Advisor challenge… new, qualified activity. When you have more activity more implementation follows. As such, having a full pipeline creates tremendous opportunity to grow your income, revenue and business valuation.
As a Financial Advisor, you may not be aware of the most important asset you have available to you. It’s Social Capital.
The way to understand Social Capital is by thinking about your relationships with your best quality clients. They trust you with their financial assets. But do they trust you enough to bring you into their circle by warmly introducing you to the quality people they know, people who are just like them?
That’s Social Capital. It leverages your relationships with your best quality clients into warm, personally introduced and endorsed appointments with their quality friends and colleagues.
Social Capital introductions bear no resemblance to standard referrals. These are high quality introductions from your best quality clients, your best Centers Of Influence.
So, how do you acquire Social Capital?
It’s driven by having a compelling Remarkable Marketing Story (see post – The Bad News. Your Marketing Story May Suck!) that subtly addresses your clients’ Worldview of Financial Advisors and the Financial Industry – that they are Darth Vader’s working for the Evil Empire. (see Darth Vader post)
A compelling Remarkable Marketing Story is what moves your best quality clients to share your story with their quality circle of friends and colleagues. It opens the door to consistent high quality personal introductions and high quality appointments on an ongoing basis.
Almost all of your best clients will give you permission.
These clients have made you their Financial Advisor – they have taken a leap of faith with you. At the same time you feel privileged and grateful because over time you have earned their trust. You protect and nurture it.
When you have your clients’ trust they will give you permission to talk about warm personal introductions, their most important asset. Different from referrals, open permission removes the discomfort and fear of asking – it’s the key to a personal introduction and endorsement. It’s the reward for earning their trust.
Client Centric Marketing
Innovative, Simple, Cost Effective