I recently did a small poll of financial advisors on LinkedIn. I asked which is more important — being a great financial advisor or being a great marketer. Based on my interactions there, I estimate that active Linkedin participants are in the top 25 percent of their fields in terms of knowledge, awareness and competence. They got it right. They overwhelmingly said that marketing
I am surprised when the majority of agents and advisors place most of their focus on the activities of being agents and advisors when it's really a marketing game.
I am not saying that you should not be a great and competent professional. That should be a given. When you have surgery, it's
a given that the surgeon knows his craft; it's a given that the nurse knows how to inject medication; it's a given that the hospital does its best to minimize infection.
When you visit your accountant, do you worry that he actually knows the tax laws? You don't give much thought to the competency of other professionals, yet when it comes to managing your own activities, you may have some belief that learning how to be a better or more competent professional is the top priority. That should be like taking a shower each day — a given without thought. It should not be a priority, because your competence should be assumed.
Your focus should be on marketing. If you are a great professional with few clients, few benefit from your expertise. So, it's time to face the music — you are not in the financial services profession; you're in the marketing profession. Resistant as you may be to this idea, notice that the professionals with big, growing, lucrative practices are great marketers
. Hopefully, they are also great professionals; and they must be, as it's very difficult to sustain success without substance.
If you give marketing little attention because you are not good at it or don’t know what to do, consider this your wake-up call . Like anything, you can learn what to do. Marketing is a skill, which means it can be learned through study.
Here are some things I've learned:
- How to be a great public speaker: I paid a top-ranked speaking professional $7,500 to work with me for 12 hours). Public speaking may look like a talent, but it is a skill that anyone can learn.
- How to write great copy so that my seminar attendees packed the room, my newspaper ads generated a high response and my direct mail was highly profitable. I took two courses and studied several of the great books until I became proficient.
- How to use the power of the Internet to extend my reach to tens-of-thousands of potential clients.
Don’t be intimidated; learn something new. We all start out in kindergarten, and those that work at it can achieve the expertise of a self-earned Ph.D.
Where to start?
That's all you need to get the skills required for the practice you want.