As I said in an earlier post: when you sell to advisors, you have to be authentic to your own product. If you’re not, you’ll eventually be exposed as a fake. It’s inevitable.

Still, people keep trying to fake it anyway. Think of all the vendors who position themselves as “partners” or brag about their “consultative approach.” (By the way, who doesn’t have a consultative approach these days? Can you think of any providers who advertise their “arrogant dictator” approach or their “we-don’t-listen-to-you” approach? It’s meaningless jargon at this point.) Okay. So this joker is now your partner. Try calling this new “partner” of yours for help solving a specific, real-world problem in your own business—say, performing an advisor practice valuation or recruiting a Millennial woman. Chances are, you’ll get to watch them twisting in the wind until they finally admit they don’t actually do any of the things they talk about on their website. They just put the content up because they know you want to read it.

Continue Reading…

The Natural

How to be an outstanding PR spokesperson

Public Relations is challenging.  Because it is by nature unpredictable, with no precise formula for achieving a desired result, it can be particularly stressful both for those who practice it as a profession and those called upon to be the standard bearers for their companies in the face of consistent media scrutiny.  In this post we’ll focus on the latter.

The spokesperson’s role is to represent the business well, on the front lines with the media.  Over the course of more than a decade putting clients in front of reporters to tell their stories, offer insights and provide access to their particular expertise, I’ve seen a wide range of skill levels, along with many successes and more than a few failures.  Some are simply not cut out for continuous at-bats with different journalists and publications – you can see the pain on their faces at the very thought of an unscripted encounter with a media outlet.  These don’t last long – better suited to advertising, and should seek safe harbor in words bought with coin.  Others take time to develop, but with the proper coaching, counsel and repeated practice, they become very skilled at engaging with members of the Fourth Estate.  But every now and then, we discover a company representative who seems born to champion the brand publicly and does so with an ease that makes one marvel.  These spokes-folk are rare indeed.

It was apparent not long after taking on Riskalyze as a client that Aaron Klein, their CEO, possessed a special gift with regard to media relations.  He intuitively seemed to “get it”, almost immediately.  Klein seemed to take to PR like an athlete who knows he’s going to perform well, has put in the practice reps, proceeds to memorize the playbook, and then runs out on the field and takes over the game.  Its fun to watch.  I could go on about Aaron’s savvy as a company representative with the press, but in order to understand his approach, and to glean as much as you can from it to incorporate into your own PR playbook, I sat down with “The Natural” himself.

Continue Reading…

Right this minute, we are watching the collision of two forces that are shaking advisor firms to their foundations.

The first is the commoditization of advice, driven in part by technology. Face it: investment performance is no longer a credible differentiator. Between the popularity of passive investing and the convenience of robo-advisors, few prospects are likely to be persuaded that your firm is really, truly, reliably a better stock-picker than your competitors. Most advisors recognize this fact, even if they aren’t sure what to do about it.

Continue Reading…

This is the story of how we lost an account. It was a painful lesson, but one that’s worth reading whether you’re an agency, vendor or advisor—really, anyone who’s invested in the growth of advisor firms.

Of course, I’ve changed the story to the point where it’s now completely fictional and no longer resembles anything that happened in real life. Only the lesson remains the same.

Continue Reading…

These days, every advisor is looking to buy a marketing tool. Which explains why every vendor is trying to sell one—whether they actually have anything to sell or not.

As I’ve written before, the whole industry now understands that the golden era of organic growth has come to an end. Advisors know they can’t sustain themselves on referrals alone. Any firm that sticks to its old formula of rainmaking, pressing the flesh and relying on word of mouth is going to find itself eating the dust of its faster, more modern competitors. Digital marketing is critical. This is why advisors are finally, finally investing in future growth and ramping up their marketing budgets.

Continue Reading…

Why did you go originally into business with your partners? And as a follow up: how long did it take you to think of an answer to that question?

I’ve worked with some advisor teams that seem like a natural fit. They finish each other’s sentences. Complement each other’s expertise. And even use the same words to tell their story. It’s usually a clean, simple story, too. One was a quant head, the other a people person, but they both served the same kind of clients. Or maybe they both have a special interest in eldercare issues, SRI or some other specialty. It’s relatively easy to walk them through the process of developing their brand and honing their value proposition. They already believe in their purpose; they just need help articulating it.

Then there’s the other kind of team.

Continue Reading…

If you want to build your business, become a Ghostbuster. I’m not referring to the movie, exactly (I didn’t even see the sequel.) I’m talking about the theme song.

If there’s somethin’ strange in your neighborhood 
Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!

If that song were a real advertising jingle as opposed to a fictional one, it would rank right up there as among the best of all time. Its message is simple. If you have this specific problem—say, a slimy green ball of ectoplasm living in your fridge—then you know exactly whom to call. The song builds an instant connection between a customer need and a brand. You couldn’t ask for better marketing.

Continue Reading…

As I said in my earlier post, some advisors are running on empty—and don’t even know it yet. They might be cruising smoothly for now. But if they aren’t adding enough prospects to the top of their sales funnels, they won’t be able to fuel their businesses over the long run.

I don’t want that to happen to you. So I am going to share a few ideas for keeping your sales funnel filled—automatically.

Continue Reading…