There is a subtle, but powerful shift happening in marketing and it could affect the way you prospect for clients.
The traditional way of marketing was a “push” method where you pushed your product, your service, your offer to the client by way of an ad in a trade publication, cold-calling, or in-person sales pitches. And there are times this still works, but there's a new marketing method in town and it can attract more clients and build stronger, longer-lasting relationships.
Today’s business owner is pivoting to a “pull” method of marketing -- which goes by many names: education-based marketing, inbound marketing, content marketing, attraction marketing. Whatever you call it, the idea is to pull or draw a potential client to you by sharing valuable information BEFORE you try to sell them anything.
It’s a more long-term approach to building your business, but it could mean more loyal clients.
So, how do you get in this game and transform your business is through education-based marketing?
Keep reading; you're about to find out!
Why education-based marketing?
Education-based marketing is simply the use of shared knowledge to build trust with prospective clients.
The foundation for future sales is built on the know-like-trust factor. Prospective clients must know, like, and trust you in order to do business with you. With education-based marketing, you can grow that level of trust and credibility with your clients. And when you get in front of them to provide educational content, they get to know and eventually grow to like you.
AND can become the best clients and your biggest advocates!
Education-based marketing gives you an edge
All of your prospective clients are in one of five different “stages of awareness”:
- Completely Unaware
- Problem Aware
- Solution Aware
- Product Aware
- Most Aware
The number of consumers in the “Most Aware” stage is minimal — only a small percentage are ready to buy. This means, you have more competition for sales when going after that segment of the market. Every company is fighting to convert them and you can waste a LOT of effort to then be rejected for another business who provides similar products and services.
But with an education-based marketing approach, you can appeal to the majority of the market— those that fall into any other stage of awareness.
These consumers are definitely NOT the low-hanging fruit, but marketing to those who don’t yet know they have a problem or don’t have a solution to a problem they’ve identified— can increase your chances of earning business.
We recognize this and offer our agents an opportunity to cast a wider net and get in front of groups of people who may not be ready to buy right now... but could be in the future.
Getting on board with the trend
Unfortunately, our industry has long been imbalanced in that consumers didn’t have access to the information that financial professionals did. But times are changing — clients can now find much of what they need online and conduct their own research.
To some, this might feel like financial professionals are being cut out. But that doesn't have to be the case, if we embrace the trend and help clients discern which pieces of information could be most beneficial to them. Because being able to direct them towards what's timely and relevant and in turn, helping them reach their definition of financial success — allows you to build your own authority and credibility.
One way you can do this is through seminars or financial literacy classes. We connect agents with companies who need a financial professional to conduct these classes for their employees.
Not only do companies want your services, but ERISA Sec. 404c suggests they have a responsibility to provide them.
"Normally, if you wanted to get in front of a company's employees to discuss financial matters, you'd have the headache of creating your own 501(c)(3). But that's taken care of for you", says John Scheer, National Vice President.
"The introduction to the company has already been made-- you don't have to try to get past the gatekeepers yourself. The door is open for you."
Although the individuals who attend the workshops may not be searching for a specific product or service, they could be looking for a solution to a problem. And that’s where you come in — providing information they need to solve it.
Is there a downside to the pull method of marketing?
Some might be worried that by giving all our best information away for free, potential clients won’t need our help. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Think about it.
What will they do with the information you freely provide? For most— nothing. What people pay for is help applying the information they receive.
People pay for RESULTS. Wouldn’t be a great if you were the trusted professional they turned to for that?
The aspect of education-based marketing that most people forget
A lot of well-intentioned professionals share information and provide education, such as financial literacy classes, to potential clients and don’t see any return on the investment. And that’s because they're missing a key element to education-based marketing that makes it worth their time…
Positioning the purchase.
Positioning the purchase is also known as setting buying criteria. Buying criteria consists of the information that a client needs to make the decision to buy. It’s the factors they look at before they buy.
So, your job is to organize your educational material so that it checks off those buying criteria and leads the prospect to the conclusion they need what you’re offering. Or in other words— provide them helpful information that demonstrates the way they could achieve X (their desired result) is through Y (the type of solution you offer).
And it starts by providing your prospects something of value that is NOT your product or service — something that will give them a quick win. For example, maybe they didn't realize how important it could be to take advantage of company-matching on a 401(k).
If you're in a corporate office giving a presentation on financial wellness, the employees of the company that you’re speaking to mostly likely aren’t aware of the benefits of what you sell. But if they were—what could it do for them? What could it help them avoid? This is the type of information you’d want to share.
For our agents who conduct financial literacy classes, they can continue the relationships with prospects by inviting them to events they’re hosting, or send them to a website for more information, or offer a free consultation. They give potential clients next steps but also maintain the relationship they’ve established by avoiding tired sales pitches and instead, sharing relevant information to help with decision-making.
Get your foot in the door
We encourage you to find ways to access this large sector of the market— those who may not be quite ready to buy. If you think corporate educational workshops sounds like something you’d be interested in, we have a program that locates companies who are looking for someone like you.