Add-up planners, advisors, money managers, agents, and sales representatives and you have more than 1,000,000 people marketing financial advice, services, and products to the public. This has to be the most competitive industry in America.
Not only is the industry intensely competitive, it is also based on Wall Street’s conceptual sales practices. This explains why advisors with the best sales skills frequently produce the most revenue. However, it is not in the best interests of investors to select this type of advisor.
Why is marketing financial services so conceptual?
- You can see a car, but you can’t see a service
- Withholding information is an industry practice
- Investors have no way to measure competence or ethics
- Most information is contained in sales pitches
- Little or no “proof” is delivered to investors
Conceptual sales tactics benefit lower quality advisors more than they benefit higher quality advisors because the tactics put more emphasis on personalities, brand names, and sales skills.
How can high quality advisors improve their results in a marketplace that is dominated by a sales culture? One solution is to turn a conceptual sales process into a tangible sales process.
It is much easier to market products and services that have tangible features and benefits. Consider the new car industry. Buyers can see the cars, review mileage comparisons, road-test the cars, and look under the hood. The tangible nature of the sales process makes buying a car a much easier decision than selecting a financial advisor.
If the financial service industry sold cars, all of the cars would look alike. You have to be willing to change your sales process if you want to improve your marketing results. A tangible sales process will help you do that.
The One Page Profile
At your first meeting provide a one-page profile that describes your education, experience, certifications, wealth management services, and other information that investors rely on to select financial advisors.
Provide investors with samples of your work, for example, a sample plan, portfolio, performance report, newsletter, etc. You can describe a portfolio or you can show the investor a sample portfolio with the name blacked out. Real is better.
Include your CRD or IARD number, a description of your compliance record, and a link to FINRA’s BrokerCheck® service or your ADV on the one page profile.
Investors gravitate to fee schedules because they are tangible. Don’t make them ask. When you know their requirements, provide a document that describes the combined expenses they will pay for your knowledge, time, advice and services.
Be sure to document how you are compensated, how much you are compensated, and what investors receive for the compensation.
The Office Visit
Be sure to invite prospective clients to visit your office. Give them an opportunity to see your work environment and meet your staff.
Make sure investors know they should expect this same information from all of the advisors they are interviewing. Withheld information creates hidden risks.
Jack Waymire spent 28 years in the financial service industry. For 21 of those years he was the president of a Registered Investment Advisory firm. He left the financial service industry in 2004 to promote a book he wrote titled Who's Watching Your Money? The 17 Paladin Principles for Selecting a Financial Advisor. Later that year he launched a website www.PaladinRegistry.com that used the principles in the book to pre-screen financial planners, investment advisors, and money managers for investors who used their services. In 2008 he also founded www.InvestorWatchdog.com, a website that gathers data from financial advisors and produces reports that investors use to make informed decisions when they select financial advisors. Additional reports on the Watchdog website also enable investors to monitor current advisors for performance, risk, and expense. Waymire is a columnist for Worth magazine, frequently quoted in the media, and a regular contributor to major blog sites.