Marketing the Cutting Edge

The author opens with a story: a financial planner helped out a client who was "too small" for other firms to want to bother with him, and this client grew to the point he became a pretty big fish. Switch perspective to another company, wondering what kind of marketing the have to use to attract this guy to their firm - when it turns out, they are one of the ones who rejected him when he was "too small to bother with." The (obvious) moral to the story is that, rather than seeking to get big accounts to work with, a financial advisor should seek to help "the little guy" grow his egg, and his business will grow with his customers.

Drip Marketing

The author presents study of an advisor who kept records of all the people who called him, but never came in for a consultation. The advisor would send them a news article or something, each month, on a topic he felt would be of interest to them, just to keep his name on their minds, in hopes of recapturing their interest. Over time, a significant number of these "dead-ends" became clients.

Waiting Lists

Another tactic: an advisor would not talk to referrals right away, but would put them on a client "waiting list." That way, when he got around to calling them after a few months, they were more receptive (he had created the perception that his service was valuable and he had more clients than he could handle).

It also became a way for people to get incrementally involved: when told that there was a six-month waiting list, people were more likely to sign up to be called, as they didn't have to make an immediate commitment.

In this example, the analyst went from three months, to six, to a full year's wait due to volume of businesses - and found that waiting up to a year didn't diminish the interest.

Relationship Building

The key to obtaining customers is building trust between them and a firm. The example given shows an advisor who is the senior member of a successful firm, who spends more of his time handling the people than developing the actual financial plans, and has had a higher success rate than competitors who see client handling as a job to be left to lower-level employees.

There are a few other tips that get down to people skills, which should be totally self-evident ... but given that financial advisors come from accounting or financial analysis (heads-down work), it may be important to stress soft-skills things like actually listening to people, making eye contact, showing common courtesy, letting the customer do 90% of the talking, etc.

Promotional Materials

In addition to the typical elements of the pitch (what I can do for you), it is suggested that a clear mission statement can be attractive, as are testimonials. Even the pitches should be in terms customers can understand - what you help them to do, in plain English.

EN: This chapter is more about providing good customer service, growing your clients' wealth and winning referrals to build your business, rather than marketing services. It's also random and sloppy - he's clearly outside his area of expertise here.