Marketing Research to Explode Your Practice – How to get insider information on your best prospects (and it’s legal)
There’s a strange paradox among financial professionals. Most of you are very fact oriented and research minded, at least when it comes to investing. You want facts. You scour the history. You crunch the numbers.
BUT, but when it comes to trying to get new clients, you do a 360°. You become a mind reader and guess what your prospects want. Guessing is not reliable. You might copy what your competitors say. That’s another bad idea. You will sound just like them and not stand apart. Also, they may have gotten it all wrong and there you are copying their mistakes.
Usually you launch campaigns based on hopes and guesses. Most of the time you fail. You wonder why. What went wrong? What went wrong was you left out a crucial piece of the marketing recipe – marketing research.
Instead of guessing, you need to systematically ask people in your target market what is it they actually want.
If you talk to them directly, you have access to inside information which is as powerful as insider information about a stock trade. You will have a big advantage over your competition.
Here’s what you want to learn about your ideal prospects from your marketing interviews:
- Their ultimate dreams and desires.
- What to say that will compel them to listen to you.
- The financial problems they most want help with.
- What they want from a financial advisor.
- The programs and services that will sell easily.
- Where they congregate, their groups and organizations.
- How to easily get in touch with them.
Before he can get these answers, you must choose a specific target market or niche. Otherwise your research will be unfocused and you’ll not get an effective answers. When researching a niche, you can gather specific answers. These answers will help you write irresistible marketing messages.
(To learn about getting a rich niche click here.)
What Motivates Prospects to Buy.
The secret is to find prospects’ key motivators, what will prompt them to take action and sign up for your services.
People are motivated by pleasure and pain. It’s the old carrot and stick. Although people will act to achieve their dreams, they’ll act faster to remove the fear of growing old and not have enough money to live with dignity. They will act faster to remove the fear of making bad financial decisions. Pain is the quickest, surest and most effective motivator. Taking action to avoid pain takes top priority. You’ll want to learn what particular pains your particular niche wants to avoid. Then you can create solutions to ease them.
So the second strategy to get more profitable clients is to do research out in the field and learn what problems your target market is most worried and fearful about.
Like I said, you don’t want to guess. You want to learn exactly what their key motivators, their pain points, are. Ask them questions like:>
When it comes to finances, what are you most worried and fearful about? What keeps you awake at night?
Do you feel humiliated or embarrassed about your situation. Do you worry about others finding out what’s really going on with you?
Is there anything about your problems that make you angry? Do you feel sick about it all?
What do you want to do about this problem? What would help you get over it? What would you love to have happen right now to help fix the problem?
What are your hopes and dreams? What do you really want but fear it’s out of your reach?
You can also study what big research firms say about segments of the population that contain your niche. There is valid valuable information there. But it’s not anywhere near as focused and helpful as your research with your own niche.
Think of it. You can find out just exactly what you want to know about your market. The answers come straight from them. It’s honest. It’s pure. And it’s free.
In addition to questions about their pain, you can ask your target market questions like what do they most want in an advisor. You can brand yourself as such an advisor. What is the best and easiest way to find people just like them? This answer will make your marketing and prospecting much, much easier. How do they like to be communicated with; email, regular mail, telephone, on social media? This tells you where to concentrate your communication efforts. You want to find their hopes, dreams and aspirations. This way you can also address their positive motivators.
Just imagine, if you knew this about your prospects, how much easier and effective your marketing efforts would be. You would know just what to say to move them. You’d know when to call on them. And most importantly, you’d know where to find whole groups of them.
What you want to do is write about a dozen questions designed to give you the answers you want. Then go out and ask them of people in your target market. Include both possible consumers and affiliated professionals. So if your niche Is the plastic surgeons, you’d call on practitioners and their accountants, estate attorneys and bankers.
About Conducting Interviews
Do the interviews personally, yourself. Don’t hand it off to a colleague. It’s too important. Don’t try and substitute printed surveys. You’ll only get superficial answers that way.
During your interviews, gather phrases you hear them say. Listen for phrases you can lift word for word and use in your core marketing message. Your core marketing message is also called your USB, unique selling proposition. I personally do not like this term. The word “unique” has two problems. It changes the focus on you. The focus needs to be on your niche. The word unique makes you try to come up with something nobody else has thought of. That’s hard to do. It’s also unnecessary.
What you want are common short phrases your niche uses. When doing my research I heard my niche say they had clients, but they weren’t profitable clients. There are working very hard and not making much money. I heard a couple interviewees say they wanted “more profitable clients.” This is what I use in my marketing message, “I help financial advisors get more profitable clients.”
Use sound bites like this when writing your marketing message. Then you can use it when you’re networking, giving speeches or when anybody asks you what you do. You should use it prominently on your website and LinkedIn profile. Make it the first thing viewers see.
Here’s how to proceed with your interviews. Start with interviewing your present clients. At the end ask them who else you can talk to. Eventually you’ll run out of people you know and their colleagues. You’ll have to resort to using a list. It’ll be like cold calling except it will be easier. You won’t find as much resistance. You can even start by saying you’re not selling anything. That statement warms things up.
Here’s a script of what you might say; “Hi, I’m not selling anything. I’m looking to help Gotham City surgeons, like yourself, get better financial services. I was wondering if you could help me? I need about 10 minutes to ask some questions that I think you’ll find interesting. When I complete my research, I’ll share my results with you. ”
You’ll find about half the strangers you call on will agree to an interview.
Here’s a list of questions that you can use as a guide. Feel free to modify them to fit your needs. Using these questions is a guide, craft your own questions. What else would you love to know about your target market? After you decide upon a set of questions, write them down and use the same ones every time.
Gather the information from your marketing interviews. Like I said, use their words and phrases whenever possible. Do not paraphrase into your own words or simplify what you heard. The more specific the information you gather the better. Specific information is the most useful.
Listen carefully and listen 80% or more of the time. If the interviewee asks you some questions about using your services, don’t take the bait. Tell them the reason for your call is to get the marketing questions answered. At the end, you can check if he’s interested in scheduling an interview to talk about how you might help him.
After you complete your interviews, take the material and answer for yourself: what specific pains and specific desired outcomes will motivate people in my niche to invest in my help to overcome their pain and achieve those outcomes. What will make them see my services as essential?
Save this information and the raw data in a safe but convenient place. Add new information as you learn more about your market. Never throw this away.
With this data, you can craft your compelling marketing messages and irresistible offers.
Fourteen Suggested Interview Questions
Here are 14 questions you can ask people in your target niche. The answers will enable you to determine the most compelling message to attract your ideal client. You can also learn exactly what solutions, services and products they are eager to buy – and much more.
Use this guide to craft questions you want to ask. Write them down so you ask everybody the same ones.
1. What do you love (or enjoy)
2. What are you most proud of accomplishing so far? And what else? most about being a ___________ (their occupation)? And what else?
3. What about your financial plans isn’t working for you right now? Or
4. Do you use any professionals to help you with your finances? What kind? What do you want most from a financial advisor? What’s most challenging about your financial plans? What else?
5. What ways do you develop yourself to be better at handling your finances?
6. What are your favorite trade publications, blogs or journals? Are there any associations or conferences you attend? Clubs, schools, churches?
7. What is your top goal right now?
8. What are the biggest obstacles in the way of achieving that goal? And what else? do you want most? Tell me more
9. What is the single most critical thing you need to learn or know right now to help you achieve your top goal?
10. What’s the best way for advisors to reach people like you? Is it with letters and brochures, email, phone call or something else…
11. What kinds of financial services do you most want to invest in?
12. What are the things you most want in a financial advisor?
13 What else should I know about? If you were me, what would you recommend I do?
14. Who should I talk to next?
And there you have it. The secret to have a thriving financial advisory practice working with ideal clients you love is to do your own market research. Choose a niche. Personally ask the people in that niche what you need to know. You’ll have a gold mine of information to guide your practice and have prospects chasing you for your services.
Learning about your target market is an ongoing activity. While working with clients and affiliated professionals, keep one ear open to learning more about your niche. Let it become a habit
The next blog will continue with the third essential strategy for getting more highly profitable clients.
Meanwhile, you can learn more by attending my monthly webinar. Please click here. You’ll be taken to a page with more information and an opportunity to register.
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