To stand out, financial advisors must find a way to intrigue prospective clients. One of the best ways to do this is by providing them with interesting, and readily available free resources, says Anthony Morris, a speaker at The 8th World Critical Illness Insurance Conference held recently in Victoria.
Mr. Morris, a practice development specialist who works exclusively in financial services, told the audience that “Your job description as an advisor is to befriend people, to intrigue people, to disturb them and to offer options.”
Part of an advisor’s challenge is to get clients to take time away from their other activities to talk about their financial planning. “Because the enemy is Boston Pizza and the Canucks game.”
Mr. Morris says the sale starts before you meet the client. This is when you have to intrigue them to set yourself apart. Emailing the client a link to a highly interesting video on Youtube is one idea. He suggested sending out the Marshmallow Test study, Stanford University research conducted with children relating to delayed gratification. Sending such a video will make you look interesting to contacts and they may also forward the link with your business information attached to their own contacts.
Mr. Morris says unlimited resources are available to advisors. “It’s the greatest time in the history of the world to be a financial advisor. You can harness the power of digital technology to merchandise your offering and distribute it in cool and exciting ways into new niche markets. And, you get your current clients marketing who you are to other people with links to your website.”
One of the best resources for living benefits advisors is the The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s latest annual report. Mr. Morris have this report colour copied and bound at Staples for five bucks and carry 20 of them around with you. And, send a pdf of this report to every prospect before you meet with them or between meeting one and meeting two. Why does this strategy work? “Because people in Canada tend to believe authority figures” he says.
Using reports from official sources allows the advisor to put the statistics in front of the client, i.e., on the high rate of youth obesity. This allows you to say, “There is a problem folks and no matter how much we talk tonight the problem is not going away. The problem is becoming worse.”
Mr. Morris suggests using the term ‘Demographic tsunami.’ Tell them there is a demographic tsunami going on in Canada. “People are living longer than ever before. We’ve got a half way bankrupt health care system...which means you should lock into long term care coverage right now before the carriers shut that business down because it is not profitable…You’ve got to buy it on your parents.”
On the other end of this demographic spectrum is today’s current teens, who due to their eating habits and activity levels will, as adults, be subject to more heart attacks and strokes than ever before.
“They’re spending five hours a day on social media and digital media from ages 12 to 18 in North America,” says Mr. Morris adding, “We’ve got more sodium in their diets than ever before, we’ve got more inactivity than ever before and this is a bullet that no one’s going to dodge.”
Mr. Morris suggests promoting critical illness coverage for teens to the grandparents if necessary. “The greatest gift you can give your 40 or 45-year-old kid is for you to pick up the CI coverage on the teens.”
He also recommends putting “health care crisis Canada” into Google Alerts. A digital spider will crawl around the earth for free and alert you to anything to do with the nation’s health care crisis, such as a new CBC item, or a parliamentary report on health care.
Mr. Morris adds that Google Alerts is a powerful, free client relationship tool. Put your clients’ names and cities of residence in Google Alerts and you will be informed about any news of significance that is picked up by Google. For example, if your client comes in third place in an Ironman competition, you may be alerted. This allows you to phone up the client and congratulate them. They’ll ask how you know and you’ll say it is your job to know, that you care about your clients. “So put your top 50 clients into Google Alerts with a specific description and you’ve got a virtual contact management system for free…”
Create an email campaign using thought-provoking articles, i.e., about a champion athlete struck by a heart attack because of a genetic predisposition. Such a news item could be introduced with an email subject line that says, “Why you probably chose your parents incorrectly”. This topic can be used to start a conversation with clients about how, even though they may be in good shape, they are not immune to heart attack since 40% of heart disease is genetically caused, according to a recent study, explains Mr. Morris.