Do you despise holding marketing events and asking for referrals? Probably. If you are like most advisors, you may find more joy in reading the last 10 pages of an investment prospectus than in building and executing a well thought-out marketing plan.
Here’s why most advisors loathe marketing and how to bring the joy back!
THE TRADITIONAL CLIENT APPRECIATION EVENT AND APPROACH
In order to grow your client base, you and your manager decide that you need to put on a marketing event. With vague instructions, your manager points you in the direction of a wholesaler. The wholesaler will help you underwrite the costs and deliver an approved but boring presentation at a (usually) run-of-the-mill restaurant.
You tell your staff that the event has to be planned as a team. Typically, the staff has little to no experience in planning a client appreciation event. You realize you need to play the role of event planner and financial advisor for the six weeks leading up to the big client appreciation dinner. Although your team is capable of writing an invitation and getting it approved through the home office, you decide this is too important of a task to delegate. You continue delegating to yourself the activities of lining up the restaurant, dealing with a catering manager, choosing the menu, coordinating the plans with the wholesaler and any other administrative task associated with your big event.
Instead of having your clients respond to one of your team members, you note on the invitation to let you know if they will be coming. You receive several phone calls which you view as distractions before you realize your top assistant can handle these calls and inform her to take all reservations. In all conversations with clients (either with you or your staff), no one asks or reminds the clients they can bring a friend to the event. In your client review meetings prior to the big night, you forget to discuss the event with the clients you want to attend most.
You show up at the event and notice that 1/5 of your prayers were answered. Your attendance shot up to 60 with five more clients and five more guests from the two clients who bother you most. You look around the room after you visit the buffet to locate the best clients to sit by to at least make the night as joyful as possible. You notice all of your best clients are sitting next to your worst clients. Your instinct tells you to go break up these strange arrangements, but logistically you can’t separate everyone. You locate the solitary open seat next to the best client you can find.
As the wholesaler dives into his talk, he suddenly gives a forecast on the market that conflicts with the economic outlook you delivered to your clients over the last month. Clients seek you out with baffled looks.
At the end of the dinner, you try to personally bid goodbye to each guest and tell them you appreciate their attendance. What ultimately happens is that you meet the guests of the clients you wish would disappear. Three different guests tell you they do not need your advice because they spent all of their savings on a bass boat, a trip to Hawaii, and a 60” plasma television.
After the event, a few of your clients email you to say what a great dinner and presentation you orchestrated. Some clients who attended the dinner and had review appointments with you right after the event tell you they had a good time, but question you about the really different types of clients in your practice.
After all of the receipts are collected and the wholesaler signs the reimbursement form, you realize you are out $2,000 for the grand evening. A month goes by and none of the guests contact you about setting an appointment. You suddenly realize you lost money on the deal because you only heard from a total of six clients who enjoyed the night and the conversion of guests to clients is 0%.
Okay, maybe not all of the elements of this story happen to you in relation to your marketing efforts. However, the above story represents many of the reasons why advisors may abhor marketing.
Stay tuned for next time, when we’ll talk about how to hold events that you and your clients enjoy – and that bring you a return on your investment!