Of course we're not suggesting a magic pill and it’s taken effort, but one of the financial professionals we work with, Mike, found a way to get in front of prospective clients on a consistent basis – which opened the door to new opportunities…
Read on to learn what he did to land new business even though he’d just opened his financial services practice a couple months before the pandemic hit.
It was June 2019 and Mike had just walked away from 30 years as a career agent, leaving behind a secure 6-figure salary because he wanted to do MORE. In that career, his primary activity was P&C, but he was always motivated by life insurance. As he learned more about the power of life insurance, he was drawn to the planning discussion.
The problem? He was limited in what he could do there.
What he realized was the product conversations he was having were just isolated sales that may or may not truly fit the client's overall picture. He wanted to provide more strategic advice to his clients. And he didn’t feel like he was truly able to do that.
So, he started his Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firm from scratch in 2019 and was ready to roll come January 2020.
A registered investment advisor with his life insurance license, Mike was a couple months into his new practice with a lot to learn when the pandemic hit.
Although he had decades of experience in the business and was comfortable with guiding complex financial discussions, it didn’t mean finding clients in this ‘new normal’ was going to be easy. Far from it.
But at 56 years old with a family to support…
“I had to find a way to make it work,” Mike says.
You might find Mike’s story valuable if…
- You’re looking for ways to better serve prospective clients…
- Or you’re stuck trying to attract new clients to your practice…
- You’re open to prospecting ideas that might actually work…
- Or chasing the next sales transaction just isn’t fulfilling anymore and you want to implement a more consultative approach to your business.
If any of these sound like you, then there could be huge opportunity in Mike’s story.
You might not get the same results as Mike did but keep reading because his experience may spark a different idea for you.
The search for answers
Mike had been searching for tools that would help him achieve his goal of finding new clients and serving them at a higher level while differentiating himself in the market.
Not an easy task!
He started by looking for software tools that would give him a competitive edge.
That’s when he spoke to his Partners Advantage representative. Who told him about a program that would allow him to demonstrate his value with new clients – one that not every other financial professional was using…
He walked Mike through how to set up a client in the computer-aided design program called Retirement Analyzer, which helps financial professionals analyze the big picture of a client’s financial life.
After seeing how professional it looked and the ability it gave him to show how all of a client’s assets and various financial products worked together, Mike was sold on the idea.
He was 56… starting an RIA from scratch… in the middle of a pandemic...
Money was tight.
That’s when his representative here at Partners Advantage told him we could help cover the subscription cost.*
Taking the plunge
At that point, what did he have to lose? Mike immediately jumped right into the training he found on the third-party site. He used the resources available to really dig in and learn how this thing worked.
As he’s learning the new software program, he realizes –
He still needs to get clients in the door!
And people were scared to meet in person. Not to mention, they were hesitant to speak to him because of his inexperience as an independent financial advisor.
His hope was to start working with small businesses on their 401(k) plans, but traditional networking, cold calling and walking up to front doors was out of the question.
Mike decided he needed to create helpful content to connect with prospects and draw them in to his world. He wanted to prove he had the skills that would benefit them.
He talked to Partners Advantage about the idea of using an email drip campaign and his rep encouraged him to look at video email marketing platform, BombBomb. Mike was on board because he believed short videos would make for an effective marketing tool. And he’s right, videos under two minutes long get the most engagement (Wistia).
Mike knew everyone was spending time online watching videos, so it wouldn’t be a stretch for them to check his out.
78% of people watch online videos every week, and 55% view online videos every day (Hubspot).
Already a huge proponent of Retirement Analyzer, he wondered how he could combine the two.
Pose questions via email and share the answers using a mock client in Retirement Analyzer.
Some of the questions he uses are inspired by a list in Retirement Analyzer, some questions he’s modified and others he pulls from his time as an insurance agent.
“Good financial professionals know how to ask good questions.”
Now he’s to the point where he can use iMovie and bring in other sources like videos or a Google search during the video to vary the content he’s delivering.
Is he a techie guy? “No, not really,” he admits. He says the ‘University of YouTube’ makes it easier these days to learn this stuff quickly.
“Make no mistake, it does take effort,” Mike says. “Not everyone will have the technical know-how or desire to learn this. But that’s ok—because you probably already know someone who could help you do it or you can pay someone to help.”
Mike’s goal is to do this every week for 52 weeks and then recycle the questions next year or create new ones.
Important lessons learned along the way
He’s on Week 9 and already notices this marketing tactic is helping him build credibility with his audience.
On the BombBomb dashboard, he can see who watched his videos and for how long. “It’s gratifying to see someone watched the entire video… AND soul crushing to see others only watched 3 seconds,” he joked.
Truthfully, he’s ok if people aren’t interested and unsubscribe. He doesn’t want to bug people. That’s part of the transition from transactional to consultative. He knows there will be prospects that just aren’t right for his business model and he’s ok with that.
The funny thing is, even someone who didn’t watch the video—still responded to the email saying, “This question made me think we should talk.”
He’s been able to get appointments from this technique so he’s going to continue using it for now.
First big win
In fact, he accomplished his goal of reaching a small business owner. He’d tried calling and emailing this individual on other occasions, but it wasn’t until he sent his first video email that the business owner responded.
Mike got the appointment and wrote the business.
On his first video.
He says he realizes it could just be luck and he ‘’won’t get a fish every cast.’’ But doing these emails helps differentiate him from others.
The proof: It took the prospect seeing him on video to finally get a response.
This is just one idea that’s working for him right now. He’s always asking for feedback in his emails because his one big takeaway is to “fail fast.” It keeps you from wasting time. Find out what works and what doesn’t and if it’s not working, move on.
Now, you may have doubts about doing something like this at first…
Mike says he was concerned about the thought of laying out capital to get BombBomb and was worried about spending money right now. He wondered, “Will I be compelling enough on video to make it work?”
But what he’s learned is that if you’re authentic and genuine, whatever you decide to do CAN work. Anyone who cares about clients will do well enough.
Although Mike might not always do a Retirement Question of the Week and might try other techniques, one tool he knows he’ll continue to use is Retirement Analyzer.
What Retirement Analyzer can do for you
Learning how to use it didn’t necessarily come easy, but he says the training he received on it was second to none. And he’s put in the time and effort to ask questions and send cases for analysis and participate deeply in learning how to use it. Which has paid off.
He says, “When I’m talking to clients now, I’m MUCH more confident. Because I can prove it. It’s not about convincing someone. I can SHOW them the direct impact with numbers. It’s not based on speculation.”
Even with years in the industry, Mike’s faced imposter syndrome just like so many others, he says. But access to the tools and knowledge he gets from Retirement Analyzer has helped him get rid of it.
“I’ve been able to help clients in a truthful, verifiable way and it’s made a huge difference in my business. It’s helped me be competent AND confident.”
Mike says what he likes is that it’s not about what he “thinks.” Instead, he’s able to show clients something that allows them to make a decision from a place of knowledge.
The best part…
This has given him the “more” that he was looking for in his financial practice. Because providing the figures through Retirement Analyzer is great, but it’s still about whether the outcome speaks to the client. And there’s still a lot of coaching and advising involved, but it’s so much better.
When he asks clients if it’s been helpful, if he’s added value, he hears responses like, I’m so thankful. I’ve never seen anything like this. This has been invaluable.
This is not a tool designed to lead clients in any particular direction, or at least that’s not how he uses it. He uses it to provide clients a greater perspective and help them make more competent decisions.
It’s probably obvious that Mike would recommend Retirement Analyzer to others. And if he was doing it all again, knowing what he does now, he’d gladly pay full price for it.
“However,” he says, “don’t just use it to answer one quick question.”
“Trust the process. Be thorough and patient with learning and using it to its full capacity. Because it will absolutely be worth the professional result.”
Today, Mike is focused on growth in his business. And as many people are experiencing right now, doing business is like pushing a car … it’s HARD WORK. But with the little momentum he’s gotten, Mike says he can feel the ‘car’ starting to move.
“And as I develop referral relationships, I’m starting to breathe easier. I know I can help my clients improve in a way I wasn’t able to before.”