Too many financial advisors shoot from the hip in running their business, marketing and selling. The result is a business that requires too many hours and an insufficient level of income. Rather than apply a scientific approach, they continually guess at the best way to operate, guess at what prospects want, guess where to advertise, guess where the market’s headed, etc, etc. Here’s how to change the tide and use facts in running your business, work less and earn more.
Get Professional Sales Training
Too many advisors wing their sales presentation. They guess what to say. That is idiotic. You’ve done all this work to get them to an appointment and then you wing the presentation and lose half of the prospects who should become clients. There are many winning, scientifically proven models to close more sales. But rather than use a formula, most advisors wing it and give up half of their lifetime income. Would Tiger Woods wing it rather than get video-taped, go to a lab and evaluate his stroke over and over? Then why do you wing it? Are you committed to mediocrity rather than greatness? You can adopt a scientific approach from many sources and here are three I know very well and recommend:
Bill Bachrach’s, Values-Based Selling Approach
The Dale Carnegie Sales Course
The Formula from Neil Rackham’s Spin Selling
Any of these will make a difference in your income. So look at your to-do list next week and add an item to pursue one of these programs. If you don’t have time, just remove the to do item “Call Mrs. Jones to buy a bond” which has no leverage for your business and is insignificant in the face of utilizing a scientific sales approach.
Have you ever sent direct mail or ran an ad? How many books did you study on writing ads or sales letters? Many financial advisors wing this also. They have an idea, they make up some direct mail piece (or they use the one their firm made up also without any science behind it) and they waste $1500 sending it and get 3 responses.
There is a science to using words. You can learn how to use words to get people to act. Here are a few people (and their books) who have mastered the science of this:
Dan Kennedy The Ultimate Sales Letter
Ted Nicholas Words that Bring You Riches
Jeffrey Lant Cash Copy
And when you do advertise or use direct mail, send 500 letters first. Test the piece before you spend a chunk of change.
Investing Your Clients Money
Financial Advisors are hardly better than retail clients at investing. I spoke to an executive form a very large firm. He told me how the reps were disappointed with the performance of their client mutual funds and many were switching their clients to private accounts instead (as though these would do any better in a bear market). Talk about short term orientation and not investing for the long run--advisors are as bad as the clients!
There is a science to the stock market. Yes, most economists and experts spend their whole life guessing, but this is crazy when the science is available to all. Two books will clear up this mystery for you:
What Works on Wall Street by James O’Shaughnessy
Hot to Make Money in Stocks by William O’Neil
Rather than guess, each of the above authors looked at actual data of stocks and portfolios that rose over time and found out what factors were always present. In other words, they scientifically isolated what works when investing—a set of principals that when followed bring handsome profits over time. They didn’t want to guess with their own money or their client’s money. Should you?
The average advisor guesses at so much it’s hard to isolate when you may be doing so. Take a look in the areas mentioned above and in these parts of your business:
- Do you guess what prospects want, or have you done some research or sent a survey?
- Do you ASK what your clients want from you, or do you guess (or you are sooooo sure that you don’t need to ask them)?
- Do you guess that the mailing lists you use are good or do you get five lists and test them against each other to find the best (directory of all mailing lists can be had from www.srds.com)?
- Is that magazine you advertise in the best place? Have you tested the competitors and documented the results?
Add some science to your business, make better decisions, spend your money in a more profitable laser-like way and watch your profits rise.