If you look at many of the most successful financial advisors, you’ll notice that one trait they share is consistency in their message.
They zero in on a few key ideas, beliefs, and stories, and they repeat them over and over. And they share their messages on a consistent basis through several media channels.
This consistent communication imprints the advisor’s message on the brain of the recipient and leads to loyalty among clients and a higher-than-average inquiry rate from potential clients.
Here’s a 3-step plan to overhaul your communication process and turn it into a secret sauce that generates more client referrals and a higher rate of potential clients becoming new clients.
1. Determine what you believe.
Clients don’t want to work with spineless jellyfish people. They want to work with an advisor who stands for something, who has strong beliefs and is willing to stick to those beliefs and not compromise. So, take some time and write down what you believe. Start with my “Your Truth Exercise,” which you can download here.
A second component of your belief system is to get clear on your core values and really commit to them. It’s one thing to say, “These are my core values,” but it could be a completely different thing to actually put those core values into action. Start by making them visible. Put them on paper, put them on your website, put them someplace where you can actually see them throughout the day. In my case, each day I print out a document that lists my activities for the day in priority order. My list of core values is printed at the top of that document so I’m actually looking at those on a daily basis. Then ask yourself on a regular basis, “How well am I putting these values into action?”
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The third component is what I call your nonnegotiables. These are simply things where we say “this is nonnegotiable.” It could be the kinds of people that you hire. It could be the types of clients you work with. It could be the standards that you’ve set for yourself, your team, and your family. Another way to think about your nonnegotiables is, what are you willing to stand up for and not make any compromises on? In my case, one of my nonnegotiables is to learn something new every day. That’s one reason why I host multiple podcasts and listen to dozens of others. That’s why I love to read and write. Another nonnegotiable for me is to measure rigorously. I use spreadsheets to track my workouts. I update my net worth every month. I track my business progress using key performance indicators. What are your nonnegotiables?
The fourth component of your belief system is your go-to stories, metaphors, and analogies. Make a list of these three things and be consistent in how you tell them. My old business partner has a story I’ve probably heard him tell 50 times. About half the time it would get a big laugh, the other half, it would fall flat. The difference? It would fall flat when he’d change a word or rush through it instead of pausing right before the key phrase. When you know how to land the story or tell the metaphor or analogy, do it that way every time. And don’t lose them. I store mine online in my writing software system and it’s easy for me to review them and pull them out for articles, presentations, or tweets.
2. Determine the key messages you want to communicate and reinforce to your clients and potential clients.
Take a look at everything you put together in step 1 and refine it. Determine the handful of beliefs you want to publish and communicate on a regular basis. Turn them into short phrases or short stories that effectively communicate your message in a memorable way.
Don’t overwhelm your audience with a bunch of different messages. Keep it to a small number that your audience can remember and that are the most impactful. My podcast with Steve Woodruff, the “King of Clarity,” will help you refine your message.
3. Identify and adjust your current communication schedule.
Here’s where I see many advisors getting into trouble—they have no consistent, unifying message. They publish a blog here and there, send out an email newsletter on an inconsistent basis, host a webinar every once in a while, and call their clients on an as-needed basis.
The most successful advisors I see are intentional and consistent in their communication schedule. They are clear on the messages they want to reinforce. They have a set of communication media that they use to get their message out. And they communicate their messages on a consistent frequency.
A quick way to get a handle on your communication schedule is to create a communication matrix in a spreadsheet. Create a column for each of your client segments and then create a row for each of the types and frequency of the communication. When done, you’ll have a matrix that shows the type of communication and the frequency of that communication for each client segment. From there, you can add an automation or a trigger in your CRM to prompt you for that communication.
As you develop the above, determine a) what gets communicated to clients only, b) what gets communicated to potential clients only, and c) what gets communicated to both groups. As you get more sophisticated in your messaging, you can break down the client and potential client groups into even smaller segments based on demographics, psychographics, or other attributes.
When your communication system is firing on all cylinders, your clients and your potential clients will get the right message at the right time on a consistent basis. And when that happens, good clients become your strong advocates and potential clients start signing on as new clients at a higher rate.