Many advisers rely on their expertise to generate leads and new business. Regular contributor, Rachel Staggs, has a few tips and tricks you can use to make sure you are the ‘go to’ expert…
Is an expert an expert if no one knows?
I’d like to share a story with you about an adviser I recently met (name will be withheld for privacy reasons, of course):
Jane* contacted me to help her attract more affluent clients. I asked her tell me about her business. For the next 30 minutes or so, Jane talked about how she is considered an expert by many in the financial advice industry, how she has won awards and how she is an authority on helping clients find the right risk protection for themselves and their families. She has installed state-of-the-art technology and is a member of all the appropriate associations. She went on to tell me about her qualifications, other courses she has completed and the level of service she likes to give her clients. Her only problem was that she wasn’t getting enough affluent clients.
Given Jane’s credentials, you might wonder why she has problems marketing her business. But Jane, like many advisers, has a classic marketing problem. She has assumed that her ability with regards product and service will automatically translate into new business. Don’t get me wrong, Jane is a very talented adviser and a master of product and service, but she is not a master of marketing. Some of her peers don’t even measure up to her credentials, but they have no problem getting more clients. Why? Because they have mastered marketing.
Below are seven traits that Jane is working on to help position herself in the eyes of her affluent clients, prospects and strategic business partners. You may also like to use this as a checklist, to see how you compare…
The seven traits of an industry expert
A favourite cliché I know, but the more successful people I meet, the more this simple statement rings true. It’s how you deliver this passion that can help you market your business. Becoming an industry expert takes time and commitment, and it’s the passion that you have that will enable you to continue to grow personally and professionally.
How do you deliver your passion?
2. An expert brand strategy
Passion will give you your daily fuel but you’ll need a well-defined, written strategy. Like Jane, you may have all the credentials, but if you don’t have a strategy to tell anyone (the right people) how does that help you?
That’s also the case for an expert. They are strategic about developing their brand, and few of their activities are haphazard; they are well thought out and implemented. Stick to a plan!
To gain more clients, you’ll need to create a plan to develop your expert brand, all the while communicating a consistent message across all the channels you use, including your strategic alliances.
Do you have a marketing plan written out which positions you as an expert?
3. A target audience
Becoming well known is much harder if you are trying to appeal to a general audience. Saying that you have all the credentials to help everyday Australians will just not work – you’re likely to drown in the sea of competition and noise. Instead, experts choose a highly targeted audience and focus their efforts on meeting, educating and understanding them.
Once they’ve chosen a target market, experts use a variety of marketing methods to position their expertise: networking, public speaking, publishing online and creating partnerships with other experts to name a few.
Do you have a target market or are you aiming for everyone and anyone?
4. Continual expertise
Staying relevant to your clients is a must do. Jane was up to date with all her education – she had even taken on more – had won industry awards and was part of industry groups to help drive change and innovation.
All of that is critical if you wish to remain an expert. The tip here is to make sure you promote it. Won an award? Promote it. Completed further study? Promote it. Had media exposure? Promote it.
What do you do to promote your credentials and remain relevant?
Becoming well known is much harder if you are trying to appeal to a general audience
Experts are excellent communicators. They know what story to tell to which audience, how to deliver a presentation and how to listen to what the client is saying.
Another trait of an expert when communicating is their ability to write with a modern day edge. Gone is the jargon. It’s been replaced with relevant, easy to read information that is delivered in a conversational tone. They have mastered speaking, authorship and video.
Have you mastered communication?
Experts are skilled teachers, able to translate complex ideas into understandable takeaways, easily grasped by their target audience.
In this industry, the more we tell the stories of our clients’ success, the more we get the message across about the value of advice. Experts can tell stories and educate their clients and prospects about the value of advice, but more importantly, they can motivate people to get them to move towards a better future.
How good are you at educating others?
7. Outside help
Becoming an expert takes time and hard work. You need to improve in areas of your professional life that you have probably never done before. Getting outside help is one of the most valuable lessons experts will tell you they have learnt.
Whether it’s a mentor from within the industry, or an expert from other areas of business, finding outside help will develop you into an expert faster than going it alone.
What outside help do you have?
Authenticity = Your Success
These seven traits will definitely help you position and market yourself as an expert, so don’t be afraid to use them. You are not alone in this industry; there are many advisers that wish to have expert status and many already do, but there is room for everyone. People can copy what you do but not who you are – that is your point of difference, your expertise.
In her regular Practice Marketing column, Rachel Staggs provides insights to help advisers market their business to potential (and existing) clients.
Rachel Staggs is the founder and Managing Director of SRS Coaching & Consulting, a specialist financial services consulting firm.