3 things a rapper can teach you about marketing your practice Article added by Jonathan Musgrave on May 16, 2012

Jonathan Musgrave

Centennial, CO

Joined: May 07, 2012

OK, the problem is apparent. Non-rockstar advisors cannot execute sales ideas like their rockstar counterparts. But what’s the solution?

You’ve probably seen a handful of 20-somethings walking around recently with a new accessory wrapped around their necks. Shiny, acrylic studio headphones in red, white and black – all emblazed with a vivid red “b” logo on each ear – the “b” stands for Beats Audio. Despite the $300–$500 price tag, these luxury headphones have taken the market by storm. In fact, Beats Audio accounted for 93 percent of the entire headphone market’s sales last year.

There’s something else you should know. The popular headphone line is the brainchild of Andre Romelle Young — you may be familiar with him by his stage name, Dr. Dre. Beats Audio is the successful fusion of celebrity endorsement and a truly high-quality product manufactured by Monster Cables.

I like to imagine what that first meeting must have been like. Dr. Dre swaggers into a leather-draped conference room full of execs in suits at Monster Cables headquarters in Brisbane, CA and proposes the idea. “Make me a pair of headphones with a bright “b” logo, and let’s sell them for $400 bucks apiece.” Brilliant! Everyone in the room stands and applauds; it’s destined for success.

Now I like to imagine that Dr. Dre is the president of a sales organization for professionals who want to sell similar products to tech companies. Addressing a room of young hopefuls, Dr. Dre waxes eloquent about his massive success with Beats Audio. He explains that he took the company from nothing to a $600 million valuation in a matter of three years.

Inspired by his success stories, dozens of wannabe tech developers design their products and flood the meeting rooms of JVC, Sony and Panasonic with similar ideas. But not a single one succeeds. How can it be? They did exactly what their mentor instructed them to do, and yet they have all failed miserably.

The problem: None of them are Dr. Dre. They haven’t made hit songs, they haven’t appeared in blockbuster movies and they haven’t made music videos with Ice Cube.

Bottom line: They don’t have the persona it takes to execute the same idea that became a massive success for their mentor.

This pattern of failure is not relegated to a hypothetical group of tech salesmen. The same path to failure exists in the annuity and life insurance world. Nationwide, up-and-coming producers flock to the boot camps, seminars and academies hosted by the heavyweight producers of the industry. For days, they are showered with ideas and techniques that have generated millions in commissions to these “rockstar producers.” But despite their flawless execution of each and every idea learned at these trainings, producer after producer fails to garner the success that his mentor touts.

The problem: None of them are rockstar producers. They haven’t custom designed a swanky downtown office, they don’t have a sharply-dressed staff of five or six and they haven’t appeared on the local news channel as a financial expert.
Bottom line: They don’t have the persona it takes to execute the very same idea that was massively successful for their rockstar mentor.

OK, the problem is apparent. Non-rockstar advisors cannot execute sales ideas like their rockstar counterparts. But what’s the solution?

It’s not all about spending a fortune on leasing a high-end office or hiring an impressive staff. Here are three steps you can take today to begin marketing your practice like a rockstar.

1. Before you can market like a rockstar, you need to focus on case design.

Case design is becoming little more than a catch-phrase synonymous with “illustration.” But true case design is the powerful combination of a carefully selected product, powerful sales illustrations to support your recommendations and high quality presentation materials. This is what your clients will receive if they walk into a big-box investment firm, and in today’s competitive environment, you are losing business if you aren’t offering the same.

True case design is a process in which you and your team of trusted partners examine cases to determine how to both meet the clients’ needs and how to convey your solutions in a clear and powerful manner.

Think of case design as practicing with your coach, whereas your client meeting is game day on the field. Elite advisors know the value of being ready on game day, and the short path to growing your practice starts here, with case design.

2. Before you can market like a rockstar, you need to focus on your image.

Every time a client walks in your office, you are facing a unique challenge: How can I do business as an independent producer without looking like a one-man-show? How do I use my limited resources to prove that I have what it takes to be my prospect’s new advisor?

In today’s rapidly advancing digital environment, you must assume that every client who walks in your door has first looked for you online. Now answer this question: What will your prospects find when they Google you? Regardless of your professional skill level, you will not have the trust you need to succeed in today’s selling environment without a solid image, and today, the baseline for your image is your online presence.

But your professional image extends beyond the realm of the Internet. Your image is affected by your branding and logo, by your choice of company color scheme, by your presence on social networks, by the type of image you use with your online profiles and even by the way your phone rings when clients call you.

One of my mentors in business tells me frequently, “Little things are little things, but lots of little things add up to big things.” Pay attention to the little things that affect how your clients perceive you, and you’ll cut the curve to becoming a rockstar producer.
3. Before you can market like a rockstar you need to focus on your relationships.

You may be the only producer in your office, but you aren’t the only member of your team. Success in sales and marketing for financial professionals takes a personalized examination of what is working, what isn’t working and taking an individualized path forward to growth. This introspective study of yourself and your practice is difficult, so having the right players on your team with you is of highest importance.

In today’s FMO/producer relationship, advisors oftentimes gravitate to particular organizations because of their proprietary rockstars. Whether they are the principals of the company or rockstars on an organization’s trophy shelf, here are some crucial questions every advisor should be asking him/herself about their relationships.
  • Is this person successful today, or was this rockstar successful in a selling environment that no longer exists? The selling environment has changed — has your rockstar changed with it?

  • Is this rockstar accessible to me? The advice that a successful producer can provide is very valuable, but if every call you make to a rockstar’s office is answered by someone other than the man himself, you aren’t really benefiting from his advice at all.

  • Has this rockstar realized success on all levels? The way one producer operates his practice is very different than the
    way another operates his practice to reach the same production numbers. Working with a partner who has realized success in a variety of different environments can be exponentially more valuable to you.
Just because a concept or strategy works for one producer doesn’t mean it will work for you, but there are things you can do now that will have a direct correlation to growth. Take good advice whenever you can, but remember that effectively implementing advice is dependent on the bigger picture.
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